Our First {and Failed} Valentine’s Day: Lessons in Communication



My husband and I have been together for fifteen years. In many ways, we have grown up together. 

Valentine’s Day of 2006 was our very first Valentine’s Day together. I never was (and continue to not be) a particularly big fan of this holiday. I learned early on that neither was my husband (then, my boyfriend).

I do, however, like small sentiments of love on Valentine’s Day. And so, on our first Valentine’s Day together, I picked up a donut and coffee for my then-boyfriend, got to class early, and placed them on his desk along with a nice card.

The day continued. Morning, then afternoon, and then night. I received nothing in return other than a ‘thank you’ for my well-intentioned donut. 

I was mad. Steam-coming-out-of-my-ears mad. Calling-my-mom mad, crying about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad boyfriend.

The problem: a breakdown in communication.

I had told my then-boyfriend that I “hated” Valentine’s Day and that I “didn’t want anything because I don’t like the holiday.” Why did I say that if I did not mean it? 

I had failed to communicate what I wanted and needed, and instead said something I did not mean to take the pressure off of him. Yes, he felt terrible. He thought he was doing what I wanted (though I still say after I bought him that donut, his Spidey Sense should have kicked in). 

And here we are, fifteen years later. What have we learned? 

Say what you mean and mean what you say. 

Communication is the bedrock of relationships. Without honest communication, a relationship cannot thrive. Today, we laugh about the Valentine’s Day 2006 debacle. But I also remember that day as the day I truly learned how to communicate with my husband. And for that, I am thankful.

Have you had a significant breakdown in communication that has taught you a valuable lesson in your relationship?

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Hilary was born and raised in New York City. She moved to Connecticut after college to go to graduate school, where she met her husband Dan on their very first day. She now lives in Ridgefield with her husband and their two rugrats, a daughter C (born 2013) and a son L (born 2015). She works from home as an attorney, which would be completely impossible without coffee (for mom) and television (for the rugrats). She spends most of her free time (when there is any!) reading, drawing, and listening to lots of music. You can find her over at https://www.instagram.com/apinchofsaltus/, where she documents the humor of life through all things colorful.


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