What do you want for Valentine’s Day from your partner?

Maybe you don’t want a thing. Maybe you think it’s a silly holiday to promote Hallmark cards and the flower and chocolate industry, and has nothing to do with your relationship. Maybe you refuse to be sucked into the obligation of buying your sweetie aforesaid flowers and chocolates and instead treat it as any other day, despite being barraged by red heart shaped boxes proliferating in stores these days or hints your partner drops.

Maybe your wants are secret. Maybe you really want a big box of dark chocolate truffles and a dozen deep red roses (I mean, who wouldn’t), but are so used to getting a cursory “Happy Valentine’s Day” that those needs are suppressed. Maybe you really don’t want your partner to make a big deal of the day, because it puts pressure on you to do the same, yet you go along with it all to keep the peace. I have experienced many ways of celebrating this day over the years – running the gamut from doing nothing to going out for dinner to a simple card to, finally, the chocolates and roses that I covet. I have often been disappointed, but swallowed my disappointment in appreciation for the bigger picture of my relationship. I have also often felt cherished.

Here’s a challenge to those reading this who have also been disappointed on this day: ask your partner for what you want to make you feel cherished. After all, it’s nice to have this opportunity for connection, commercialized though the opportunity may be. Ask your partner for what you want. A lot of times, partners just don’t know what would make you happy – they are not mind-readers, but for some reason, we expect them to know what we want, to know what would make us feel loved. Sit down with your partner right around now and say, “You know, sweetie, I would love it if you did (blank) for me on Valentine’s Day.” You can follow it up with, “How can I make you feel cherished?” Then see what happens.

And – of course – as a last resort, or maybe a first one! – buy those chocolates and roses for yourself. Beyond the commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate romantic love, it can also be a great day to simply love yourself.