Valentine’s Day…50’s Style

As I prepared to write my Valentine’s Day blog, inspiration came from a FaceBook post. The title caught my eye. I immediately bristled. Then, as I read the piece, I was horrified. Was this for real???

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Flashes of June Cleaver with her fifties-style dresses, gloves and pearls popped into my head as I read the ten tips that may have guided the way she treated Ward…and the ways in which other wives did the same. Cringe as I might, I also can rationalize that these ideals and tone were simply a sign of their times.

And so, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I am rewriting the tips to reflect my reality. (Ironically, the tips never mention acts of sex…which all women know can be antidotes for everything!) For better or worse, and in the spirit of keeping this clean, this is how I treat my husband…today and everyday.

1. Have dinner ready.. Dinner is never on my mind. I also don’t worry about my husband’s stomach. But we have to eat, right? Thank goodness for Blue Apron. A box shows up at my door with recipes and all the ingredients in it. We pour some wine and cook together. Not enough time for that? I’ll head to Fresh Market (or somewhere similar) to buy prepared or easy to cook dishes. Alternatively, I’ll ask him to pick up a pizza or an order of wings (or Chinese or Thai) on his way home. If all else fails, I’ll make a reservation and tell him to meet me at a local restaurant.

2. Prepare yourself.  At the end of a long day, we all feel and look drained. I confess that when I worked in an office, I always combed my hair, fixed my face and spritzed myself with perfume before heading home. But now that I work from home, I just make sure I’ve brushed my teeth and changed out of my PJ’s before he returns home from work!

3. Clear away the clutter.  Clutter is “yours, mine and ours” and causes stress for everyone. Thankfully, we moved to a new house about nineteen months ago and down-sized the amount of crap we had. Now, everything has a place or it gets tossed. No room is messy or dirty. We both love coming home to our “less is more” place. But, if there is clutter, it’s his!

4. Prepare the children. With the kids grown and gone, we try to keep each other current on what’s happening in their lives…their jobs, friends, activities, trips, etc. (Thank goodness for regular text messages!) And though we miss their physical presence, we don’t miss the challenges and rigors of daily parenting.

5. Minimize all noise.  Other than noise from tail-wagging barking dogs that greet him, my husband arrives home to scents of candles, sounds of music and a kiss.

6. Some don’ts.  If I need to share issues or problems, I call my husband on his way home. The way I see it, after his day at the office and given the traffic he’s navigating, a little more stress won’t matter. So, I try to get everything out of the way and don’t have to get into anything when he walks through the door. My issues are his too.

7. Make him comfortable.  Debriefing our respective days over a glass or two of wine helps us both relax. We share dinner, clean up together, and then plop on the couch to watch something on the DVR. I’ll massage his shoulders, but only if he rubs my feet.

8. Listen to him.  Truth be told, he’s a better listener than I am. But, since I work mostly alone at home these days, I love listening to stories about his day. It’s nice to have him do the talking for a change.

9. Make the evening his.  He can do whatever he wants to in the evening. And so can I.

10. The goal.  Home is a place to relax, unwind, de-stress, and feel safe. It’s also a place to feel appreciated and loved. More importantly, it’s where I am.

Times have changed. Families have changed. Husbands have changed. Wives have changed. I believe it’s all for the best. A marriage is a relationship; a partnership that must adapt to the needs of today’s families. The days of women catering to men are over!!!

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed….Happy Valentine’s Day to the man who has celebrated forty-two in a row with me. I love you.

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