How to be miserable without even trying

Check out the above graphic of a recent Wakefield Research survey conducted for 1-800-Flowers.


And by shocking I mean not at all surprising.

What the survey results don’t show is to whom that disappointment is directed towards, but can we all agree that women are disappointed in their significant others? Whether that be their husband, their boyfriend or some poor schmuck who was foolish enough to ask a girl out on Valentine’s Day?

In a recent articleI read at, speaker and author Cindi McMenamin wrote:

Surveys show that countless women feel frustrated every year and let down on February 14, primarily because of unmet expectations. Women look for expressions of love that will meet their preconceived romantic notions. And many times, even well-intentioned men can’t possibly compete.

In a recent study of what makes married women happy, it was found that the biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife was the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. The study also found “if the wife had to choose between having a husband who is taking half the housework and having a husband who is really making a conscious, deliberate effort to focus emotionally on his wife, the emotional focus is much more likely to be a paramount concern.

That speaks volumes of what women want and expect. And men, who tend to be more action-oriented in how they show their love (by helping with the chores, repairing the garage door, and bringing home a paycheck) can miss the mark with us when it comes to trying to express their affections on Valentine’s Day, or any time, for that matter.

That said, fulfilling a woman’s idea of romance is not something most men, in particular, specialize in. In fact, many men struggle with how to convey their feelings in a way that their wives or girlfriends will understand and appreciate. And often times, what they think will impress you, doesn’t.

Do you see the disconnect here? As a woman who actually likes men, do you understand why I don’t like Valentine’s Day? Because February 14 tends to leave women feeling disappointed that whatever their men gave them was not enough and leaves men scratching their heads at best and in the dog house at worst.

A recipe for misery for life in general and in romantic relationships specifically is assuming what you desire is naturally what your partner desires, because that’s so rarely the case. In a survey asking “What do spouses really want?” for Married Romance (dot) com, a married man of 14 years put it well:

Men want their wives to respect them and their opinions. Women want to be loved and appreciated affectionately. Apparently the problem arises when men give only respect to their wives, and women give only love and affection to their husbands. We are giving what we want to receive and not what the other person needs or wants to have. A man’s needs (wants) in marriage from greatest to least are sex, recreational companion, her to be attractive to him (not necessarily to society’s plastic mold standard), a good home life, to be admired by her. A woman’s needs (wants) from greatest to least are: affection, someone to talk with, honesty and openness, financial security, and famly committment. When we as husbands and wives begin to focus on the other’s need we will improve our marriages.

As a woman, how can you be miserable without even trying?

By expecting your man to act and react like a woman.

By failing to recognize that that leaky toilet he fixed or the garbage he drags down to the curb or the air he put in the kids’ bicycle tires or the spider he squashed in the bathroom or the job he goes to 5 days a week are all love notes to you.

It’s not that most men don’t show their love to their wives or girlfriends, it’s that most women fail to recognize it.

Men are not big, hairy women. They’re men. Recognize that. Celebrate that, and you’d be amazed how much more loved you’ll feel.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival: Disappoint hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more disappointing posts (Ha!), visit him at

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9 Responses to “How to be miserable without even trying”

  1. floyd February 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear a woman speak truth. Our society has attempted to turn men into something, well less than men. Over the last 50 years it seems men have been pressured to surpress their emotions, while women have been encouraged to express theirs.

    Interesting how when sometimes women achieve in removing all the manhood from their man, they don’t like them anymore. I’m not suggesting that men act like animals, just a little middle ground for men and women to act and be the way God intended.

    OH! I gotta go! My wife is coming!!!

    C’mon – you know that was funny!

  2. Louise G February 20, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    At the risk of feeling the ire of many I am going to say something I learned while working at a homeless shelter where every night, 300+ people under the influence of drugs or alcohol slept and another 800 struggling to stay clean also slept…

    Addictions are an easy way out.

    They are hard to live through, but they are an easy way out. Because an addict never has to turn up and be real. they never have to face themselves and those they hurt and say, I forgive you or I love you or ask for forgiveness and love. Because the addict gets to live in the world of make believe where ‘this’ is the best I can do.

    In your post on Whitney you talk about romanticizing addictions.

    and you’re right.

    We take the onus off the individual, we disempower them by telling them, you can’t help yourself.

    Of course we can, help oursevles.

    it’s just for some, it is so so scary to turn up for themselves, in all their woundedness and brokenness, that the addiction becomes the easy way out of not turning up for themselves. The thing that once eased their pain, becomes their greatest pain, and shame and their ability to choose ‘other’ fades into the belief, this is all I can do to get through my day, my life, my pain.

    Unfortunately, ‘the choice’ is long buried under the addiction. And, because depression often goes hand in hand, the sense of self-efficacy we all need to thrive, becomes lost in the vicious circle of the belief, I can’t help myself.There’s nothing I can do.

    It takes incredible courage to stand up to an addiction. And, it takes incredible courage to stand up to an addict and say, You deserve better. you are capable of more. I believe in you.

    And so, we, those outside the addiction, look on and say, I wish I could help, but there’s nothing I can do about your disease.

    In our belief, there’s nothing we can do, the addicts belief strengthens – I am hopeless. There’s nothing I can do because my addiction is a disease over which I have no control — and there is no cure.

    I believe there is a cure — and that cure is Love — but it’s sure hard to love yourself when what you’re doing is killing you and you know it.

    I have yet to meet anyone who likes being an addict. Who believes being an addict is good for them — but I’ve met many who say, I’ll die if I quit. And when asked, what if not quitting kills you, respond, (generally with the shrug of a shoulder) we all gotta die someday.

    Sad when the fear of living is greater than the fear of dying.

    Okay, I’ll stop now. 🙂 Thanks for these posts Kathy. I really appreciate your perspective and applaud your courage.

  3. Simply Darlene February 20, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    What in the world is that last image?!

    Good night, Irene, it looks like the years have been hard on W.W. and I doubt she can fit into her invisible jet. Maybe we buy her an industrial pair of tweezers because she’s got some serious plucking to do.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with your post; most women just need a spank on the bottom instead of a bouquet of roses or box o’ candy.


  4. Mari-Anna Stålnacke (@flowingfaith) February 21, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Yes! You’re so right! Such a refreshing post and an excellent take on disappointment! I think Hollywood is largely to be blamed on women’s unrealistic view on romance. Great post, thank you. Blessings!

  5. PeterP February 21, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    “It’s not that most men don’t show their love to their wives or girlfriends, it’s that most women fail to recognize it.”


    And vice-versa!

    I do find it interesting though that from the image at teh top of the post, it seems most women consider their birthday’s and anniversaries to be ‘holidays’.

    DO they think they’re national holidays or just personal ones that should be treated like national ones?

  6. Cris Ferreira February 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I am single, but I can plea “guilty on all charges” regarding my previous relationships. But I can also tell that after I read “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”, I got so much better at understanding how men works and how we are different from them in our expectations. You summed it up very well, great post indeed.

  7. Hazel Moon February 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I am never disappointed at my birthday, Christmas, valentines day or anniversay (or mother’s day) because I know he never gets me a card or a gift.

    When we first married and mothers day approached, I asked him what he was getting me for mothers day. His reply was, you are not a mother yet. (So) Then Christmas came and he did purchase me a dress two sizes too big because the sales lady said, is she about my size? Naturally I took it back. Now he says, you want something, go buy it! That is love for sure isn’t it. His money is mine! LOL

  8. Jim H February 22, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I had the privilege of meeting Emerson Eggerichs several years ago, and his book “Love and Respect” was sure an eye opener for me. He contends that unconditional love (for a woman) and unconditional respect (for a man) are as necessary as the air we breathe. it’s all based on Scripture and who knows better than God what we need for strong relationships?
    Thanks for sharing this, I need to go pull that book out again

  9. Joanne Norton February 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    My husband and I have certain dates we celebrate together: our 1st date anniversary [May 19], our wedding anniversary [Sept. 21], and our birthdays. Christmas, yes, but every year is flexible. We don’t do Valentines and we don’t do Mothers/Fathers Days. The focus is to bless each other and show our gratefulness to the Lord for putting us together. Nothing else counts.

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