Avoid Special Occasion Disappointment

July 13, 2022

I’m wondering if you’re struggling like a lot of people and honestly, me as well, in that sometimes holidays or birthdays or special events kind of trip us up. Here’s what I mean.  May, for us, is like Christmas in May. We have Mother’s day. We have a birthday. We have an anniversary. It’s like a whole week of constant celebration. 

So my husband will say, Hey, what do you want to do for your birthday? Now, when he asks me this, a couple things are happening. One, he does not want to disappoint me and he’s kind of not sure what to do. And two, he is afraid he’s going to do the wrong thing, or it’s not going to be good enough. So he asks. 

What’s happening for me is, depending on the mood, I’m either in this place of ‘You shouldn’t have to ask. I want you to put some work into it. I want you to surprise me. I want you to make me feel special and I want you to figure it out.’ 

Or, I’m in this place ‘I’m tired and I just don’t care. It’s no big deal. Do whatever you want to do.’ Or sometimes maybe I just don’t even want to be a bother. It’s a busy time. There’s a lot going on. Don’t worry about me. It’ll just be like any other day. 

Well, I’m here to tell you, I’ve done that a few times and it hasn’t gone well for either one of us. Either my mood shifts in that two week period and now it’s a big deal. ‘Why didn’t you think of X, Y, Z?’ Or, I am just so disappointed that my birthday came and there was not a cake or anything special planned.

I’m here to tell you, from 32 years of my own marriage and from working with many couples, give each other a break on this!

Tell your partner what you want. Don’t even wait to be asked. Don’t wait for your partner to say, ‘What do you want for your anniversary?’  Tell your partner, ‘Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up in two weeks and here’s what I want.’

I had a client do this a couple years ago. She came in and she wanted the whole thing. She wanted balloons and a banner and cake. I mean she wanted a big party for just the two of them. And so when she woke up, her husband, bless his heart, got up in the middle of the night and had balloons everywhere and a big banner above her bed that said ‘Happy Birthday’.

Now, you don’t have to go all out, unless your partner asked you to, but don’t wait for your partner to figure it out. Don’t make this a test. Don’t test your partner’s love and devotion because it will backfire and be a huge disappointment to both of you. Bypass all of that so you can have a great day. After all, the real point is that you’re taking the time to make each other a priority, to feel special, and asking for what you need. That’s healthy. It is not a lack of love or creativity on your partner’s part. 

Don’t set your partner up to fail!  Ask for what you want and give each other grace. 

How healthy is your marriage?

ready to have a conversation?

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