Monday, February 23, 2009

Communication: Key to the future

Valentine’s Day was a little over a week ago. Robyn wrote about what we did on that day, we had a lot of fun together. But since she did a fabulous job of sharing what we did that day, I thought I might share a little bit about what I learned.

Let me start at the beginning. I was extremely nervous about Valentine’s Day. I had heard multiple horror stories about the bad experiences that men had with their wives on this particular holiday. Most of them revolved around wives saying one thing but meaning another. For example, several guys told me that they had learned the hard way that “Don’t buy me a gift” spoken by a woman is, roughly translated, “Buy me a gift or die.” Or “let’s save money and not get each other anything” is actually translated to “I know flowers can be a pretty expensive gift and you are going to need to get me a lot of them, but the good news is I won’t get you anything so the cost will balance out.” (That one had quite a few stories attached; apparently there are many women who don’t think of flowers as a gift.) Many stories lead me to believe that Valentine’s was a very one sided holiday that was strictly for the enjoyment of the wives.

Disclaimer: If you feel I am over-exaggerating the story you told me, understand that I heard dozens of stories from dozens of men. If your story didn’t paint Valentine’s in the light that the above paragraph reflects, I must not have been referring specifically to yours.

I’m not usually a negative person, but I was beginning to feel very negative about the holiday as it approached. Apparently there had been a lot of unmet expectations by both husbands and wives in their early years of marriage. I was concerned because A) I love to surprise Robyn but I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into a fun Holiday if it was going to turn out she hated it because I overlooked some ingredient that I was supposed to “just know” and B) I was a little sad that the expectation was that I was supposed to do something for her and get nothing in return.

I decided to try a pretty crazy tactic to “save” Valentine’s Day. I talked to my wife about it. I know, I know, that’s what the other husbands tried and it backfired for them when their wives said one thing and actually meant something else. But Robyn and I have a secret weapon. We say what we mean and (this part is really crazy) we mean what we say. We try to hold each other accountable for our words. Thus, if she tells me, “I don’t want a gift.” And she gets mad at me for not buying a gift, then I get to pass the buck back to her for not meaning what she said. (or vice versa)

So, like I said, we talked about it. I expressed concern that other husbands felt like it was a one sided holiday. She told me she was planning on doing something for me already. (She’s awesome.) I asked her what her expectations were and she said that she would enjoy flowers or chocolates, and a simple date. Now I could rest easy. I knew exactly where the bar was and could lay my plans to far surpass it.

From there it was great fun picking out what flowers to get her. (The ladies that were standing around as I discussed with myself whether traditional red roses were best, or if I should get another color, were quite amused.) It was fun to plan our date, and to figure out how to surprise her with the love note I wrote her. Most of all it was fun when the day came and I was able to deliver on all the things I had put together and see how happy it made her. It was also fun when she “heart attacked” me. (She dumped a bunch of hearts on my head, each one either said something she loved about me or they were coupons for things she would do for me such as “watch any movie” –it’s totally gonna be a scary one, or “make a steak dinner” or “pick a dvd to buy”.) All in all, it was amazing; we both received what we desired to receive and more. Communication saved the day again.


  1. I love you. I said it, so I mean it!

  2. Communication is awesome and so important. I'm glad you and Robyn already have it down. And it sounds like you did a great job for Valentine's!

  3. whoa whoa whoa.

    Communication is the key to the future?

    I have to rewrite my love book, because I'm pretty sure you titled a chapter Ducky Dates: the key to the future.

    Now I'm ALL messed up.

  4. I think your approach to Valentine's Day was brilliant. Most people do not know what to expect or to give and so it becomes blown out of proportion. I'm glad you communicated effectively. Thanks for sharing. I will try to apply this to my life.

  5. Good man. It sounds like all of us Stockett boys are a bunch of hopeless romantics that don't want our hopes dashed. It's a good thing we have incredible wives.

  6. I think I would have liked to see the platoon of men from your work all go together to get flowers for their wives. You did a good job (and helped your dad do a great job, too!)


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