My husband just bought me a brand-new car. He won’t make any grand gestures for Valentine’s Day, and neither will I. Valentine’s Day will be just a normal Friday in our house. I will take the children to school, come home and work on my books or my DIY projects. My husband will leave early in the morning for work and return late at night, falling asleep on the sofa once he has eaten his reheated dinner that I prepared earlier. There will be no excitement, no fanfare, nothing. And if I’m honest, that makes me sad.
I know that the world has turned into a huge commercial monster machine, and we are bombarded constantly with invitations and demands to buy products (do you want to buy my books?!), and this makes a lot of people angry. We make ourselves ill by trying to prove our love on this one day of the year, or by trying to catch the attention of someone we like. We are told that our husbands or partners should take us out for a romantic meal, bring us expensive gifts, and worship us. I would love for my husband to worship me, but not in the commercial, stereotypical sense. He is simply exhausted from the hamster wheel of working life. He has mental illness and refuses to ask for help because he fears he will lose his job if he admits this weakness. So, he tries to ignore it, and I take the brunt of his stress. I am left alone to raise our children, run our household, support our family members through their challenges, and try to grow my career in the background somewhere. I am exhausted too.
This year I would like to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It would be lovely to have quality time with my husband, away from the stresses of work and family. I want to know that he cares, and that I do mean something to him. For the past seven years I feel that he has put professional work before everything else in his life, and I feel like a single parent. We tried marital counselling, and he tried personal counselling. The therapist eventually concluded that she had done all she could with him, and it was down to him to make changes. He doesn’t want to make changes. He is stuck. And I am stuck also. We do still love each other, but sometimes I wonder if that is enough? I don’t feel appreciated, and I don’t think he does either. Happy Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate it!
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