Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships


My wife and I have a pretty great marriage.
We have been together for more than 10 years,
have kids and are each other’s best friend. But
Valentine’s Day always presents a dilemma for
me. She loves Valentine’s Day and I hate it. I
think it’s a manufactured holiday that forces
people to prove something that they already
prove on a daily basis. She loves all the silly
little parts of it (think teddy bears holding satin
hearts). Every time I think about celebrating
this stupid holiday, I get annoyed. I have tried
to explain this to her, but she is a textbook
hopeless romantic and always wants me to
play along. In recent years I have tried to show
her how useless a holiday it is by not really
acknowledging it at all, which of course leads
to a big fight. I’m not actually a jerk, but am I
supposed to fake it with her just to make her
happy? It doesn’t make any sense. We have the
same fight every year.
– Anti-Valentine’s Day

Dear Anti,
Well, you have certainly made yourself
known on this topic. Less than 200 words, and
I have absolutely no doubt how you feel about
Valentine’s Day, which probably means Wife
and Kids also know how you feel. And yet, she
continues to want to celebrate your love each
year, like clockwork. You poor, poor thing.
I actually do mean to be flip, but I will
explain myself. You are very clear about how
you feel about the holiday. Wife has done the
same. Now you are pouting because she doesn’t
agree with you. I’m not sure I don’t agree with
you, actually, but you aren’t getting anywhere
by grousing about it, not to mention the futility
of trying to teach your best friend a lesson by
ignoring her desire to celebrate your relationship.
Couplehood – partnerships of all kind, really
– demands that we spend a lot of time considering
things from the other person’s point of
view and then acting on that knowledge. You
haven’t described Wife’s Valentine’s wants as
being totally bizarre or even unmanageable,
just “annoying” (they sell those teddy bears
just about everywhere). What about focusing
on the positive–your best friend loves it
when you acknowledge her on Valentine’s Day.
That’s a very easy way to make her feel cared
for and loved. The memory of that feeling is the
fuel that gets us through the inevitable rough
patches in a relationship. Consider Valentine’s
Day (and the ubiquitous, cheesy options for
marking it) to be a foolproof, yet highly effective
boost to your relationship energy and just
get her the teddy bear.

Stacy Notaras Murphy www.stacymurphyLPC.
is a licensed professional counselor and certified
Imago Relationship therapist practicing in
Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment
only and should not be considered a substitute for
professional counseling. Send your confidential question

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