Valentine’s Dilemma: How to Celebrate When One Spouse Hates V-Day

Marriage is all about partnership, and often that involves compromising on things you don’t necessarily agree upon. One topic we hear couples discuss often is the dilemma they face when it comes to celebrating special occasions together, like Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.

You might get excited about the prospect of having a romantic experience together; sharing special affection and gifts may speak to you in a way it doesn’t to your spouse. On the other hand, your spouse might dread the looming celebration. The gap between expectation and reality can create uncomfortable friction between you as the big day approaches.

Special occasions like Valentine’s Day are loaded with specific expectations, and emotions can run high when a couple neglects to find a happy medium, year after year. The good news is, even if one of you is absolutely not excited about an upcoming special occasion, you can still work together to create a memorable experience. We’ll show you how.

If you hate Valentine’s Day…

There are plenty of reasons why some people just don’t get excited about Valentine’s Day. Have you heard (or argued) these points before?

  • “It’s just a commercial holiday created by card companies to make money.”
  • “Why should I have to show you I love you on a specific day of the year? Can’t we just celebrate all year?”
  • “I’m not giving you roses and chocolate, just because everyone else gets those.”
  • “It makes single people feel miserable, so we shouldn’t rub it in.”
  • “Valentine’s is just a competition to try to outdo everyone else on gifts.”
  • “It’s too crowded and hectic to go on a date on Valentine’s Day because everyone is doing the same thing.”

Even if these arguments feel one hundred percent valid to you–and even if you can’t work up an ounce of enthusiasm over celebrating, you need to consider your spouse’s feelings. You don’t have to fake excitement; Valentine’s Day can be just another day to you. But it’s not “just another day” to your spouse.

How you feel about Valentine’s Day isn’t important; what is important is your spouse, and how your feel about him or her. Whatever you think about the day, it matters a lot to your spouse. And in this case, that means it’s time to put your spouse’s feelings before your own and celebrate for them because you love and feel strongly toward them.

It’s not about forcing yourself to fake excitement about the holiday itself. You’re not celebrating because you love the day; you’re celebrating your spouse because you know how deeply they will be impacted by your gesture of love.

Find joy in creating a moment or an experience that is a gift of love from you to your spouse–even if you don’t need Valentine’s Day as a special milestone for yourself. We gift gifts and conjure up experiences for the ones we love to create another chapter in our story together as a couple. And you may find that the act brings up emotions and affection from deep inside you that may have been hidden from your spouse.

If your spouse hates Valentine’s Day…

It can be difficult to convince your spouse to get on board with your idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day if he or she is just not interested. Maybe it means a lot to you, but you dread its approach every year because you know your spouse won’t be willing to fulfill your hopes or expectations for the day. Now, you’re just in an annual cycle of hoping for something special, then being disappointed when it doesn’t come.

Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly important to your spouse; because of this, he or she may genuinely not know what to do for you. If a Valentine’s celebration isn’t an emotional need for your spouse, it’s going to be difficult for him or her to understand, then orchestrate, a celebration that will make you happy.

We all want to be appreciated in ways we don’t have to ask for, but we also have different needs when it comes to receiving affection (take our Deep Love Assessment to learn more about one another)–and often, those needs are mismatched between spouses. Sometimes, the solution to the Valentine’s dilemma may be as simple as telling your spouse exactly what you want. If you open the conversation, your spouse may even say, “Tell me what to do; I want you to enjoy this day.”

If you’re able to tell your spouse how you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or any other special occasion, for that matter), you can help him or her create something memorable. When your spouse knows exactly what you want, they’re more likely to show relief than resistance. Be willing to offer some coaching and direction so your spouse can help you celebrate a memorable holiday.

Do you and your spouse have different opinions about celebrating Valentine’s Day? How have you overcome your differences to create romantic memories? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments section.


  • marty martin says:

    To her just another holiday.

  • RG says:

    Been there, year after year after year. About 40 years we struggled. Finally, a few years ago, I gave up and appreciated my spouse’ view and let it go. Just another day.
    Then last year, she surprised me with a gift on the day to show her appreciation.
    Love works when you do active loving and appreciation.

  • Teri says:

    My husband doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. He will go the store and buy a non-Valentine love card for me and non-Valentine decorated chocolate. 🙂

  • Deb says:

    How do you help a single person through the day when they wish they had a special someone and everything reminds them that they don’t.

    • Aub says:

      Maybe do something to remind yourself how special you are. There are so many of us who are feeling lonely, even those who we see are in a relationship and seem happier than us. Look around and do something to show love for someone else. A friend, a neighbor, a stranger.
      One day I was feeling so sick while my husband and I were grocery shopping. I basically got the flu and couldn’t walk, so had to sit down. A woman came up to me and handed me a rose. She said “someone gave this to me, and I felt I should give it to you.” It made me feel so loved. I thought about the person who took the time to give it to her. That they would go out of their way to do that, is inspiring.

    • This is a common dilemma! I suggest the single person gather up some single friends and celebrate their love and friendship with one another. Works wonders, and, who knows, maybe magic will happen among those invited!

  • Suzanne Bisley says:

    Thanks to all for your comments. My husband and I also find we are at opposite ends of the Valentine’s Day spectrum, partially because it is a hectic time on our farm (in Australia). This year our 3 girls (3, 5 & 7) and I have made all the plans and will be looking into who Valentine was and how the day came about – it wasn’t a love between couples thing!! So we will be sharing love with EVERYBODY, single, couple or married. It is really about showing APPRECIATION. No store bought cards, no flowers, no chocolates but building beautiful memories with meaning to those on the receiving end ☺

    • Trinilyn says:

      Last June, i sent your article to my hubby, telling him that he celebrated father’s and mother’s days with his dad n mum (actually i felt hurt), but not with me during v day. He came over and asked me where i would like to hv our celebration in Feb the following year and i was quite anticipating.

      However this Feb, i think he totally forgotten about what he said. During v days, he will make it a point that he don’t give me special treatment (it’s like frying an egg for everyone in the family except me *Ouch it’s hurting). It so happened that in office, we celebrated with a big group of my colleagues. That eased a bit of my sores. However he doesn’t seem quite happy abt it and became petty about minor household issues. What does he want exactly? I felt that it’s pointless talking to him as i tried at least 3 times over these years.

      Knowing that talking is pointless, next year, I’m going to plan something for myself by either going on a holiday or day trip. I need your advice if I’m doing it the right way..

      • Carrie Coleman says:

        This is how I feel! Like he makes it a point to make sure it’s not special, but he does try to remember to call his mother and grandma on mother’s day etc. Since our wedding anniversary was not only forgotten again this month, but then also completely intentionally ignored (Jan 16) I decided to buy myself something for my own anniversary gift, and I think I will now also plan my own special Valentine’s day fun (with my five homeschooled children, we will celebrate and enjoy each other and be loving and happy, and he can just be at work like a regular Friday). No help to let him make me feel unhappy or hurt, right? Good luck to you this Valentine’s day!!

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