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?
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 PeterPollock.com.