I’ve been married now to my husband (Chinese) for almost 7 years, the past four here in China.
Basically, as Valentine’s Day passed without a hint of romance…..I’ve been pouring over whether or not my western conditioning has been detrimental to my marriage. I know I certainly can not expect my husband to prepare breakfast in bed (a habit he detests, as it leaves crumbs in the sheets), or carry me to the unromantic crowds of youngsters fulfilling the newest western trend of Valentine’s rituals (he’s pretty stubborn to trends, which I also appreciate), but couldn’t he have at least bought flowers or something? I can’t help feeling that my negative reactions are more my problem. I feel flat out silly in wishing he had “bought” me something. And I feel this is directly related to hallmark campaigns I grew up with in the U.S. BUT, despite the western consumerism marketing campaigns, I do feel I truly need a little spark or spirit of romance every once in awhile. How do we get through this????
Maybe it’s time to introduce your Chinese husband to the phrase “in the doghouse.” 😉
Listen, you’re writing to a woman who has given her own husband Valentine’s Day cards for the past several years, and it was only this year that he finally came to this realization: “Oh, you have this greeting card culture.” And all the while, I’m wondering, so it took you this long to notice?
Look, I know his family just doesn’t show love like that. He didn’t grow up seeing his dad bring home roses and cards for mom. He doesn’t even get that excited about his own birthday (which his parents used to mark with a few hard-boiled eggs, and not much else).
But the truth is, I’ve felt the same tug of war over my feelings that you have, wondering if I’ve been destroyed by Hallmark and all of those insidious jewelry commercials (you know who you are). There’s this ridiculous part of me that wants some surprise something — a gift, a special evening, whatever. Heck, I even end up choosing the gifts my husband “gives me” for Christmas.
So, I’m going to do something about it — talk to him.
That’s the thing. Sometimes, our Chinese husbands don’t realize what they’re supposed to do for romance. Why not take the opportunity to educate your guy? Tell him what your perfect romantic evening would be all about. Maybe it’s a bouquet of roses, or a box of chocolate covered strawberries, or just a romantic dinner for two at your favorite Thai restaurant. Whatever it is, he ought to know — and realize that you value this attention every now and then.
Why not also jumpstart things by designating at least one night a week for something romantic? You can plan the first evening — to set the standard — and then let him plan the next one, and so on. And don’t be afraid to give him hints in the beginning — or even steer him to articles on how to plan a romantic evening.
As for my Chinese husband, he’s not in the doghouse this time. He’s planning to make up for Valentine’s Day with an evening at my favorite hot springs resort. It’s not a surprise, but it’s still damn romantic — and I’ll take romance any day. 😉
What do you think?
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