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Marriage Counseling Expert Warns Husbands in Marriage Separation to Stop and Think Before Springing a Valentine’s Day Surprise

by Nancy Wasson, Ph.D.


In the weeks proceeding February 14th, numerous husbands who are in a marriage separation agonize over what to do on Valentine’s Day. Should they buy a present for their wife, send flowers, or just send a card instead? Or should they ignore the special day and do nothing?

“It’s a difficult call to make,” says marriage counseling coach Nancy Wasson. “Wives have varying reactions that range from delight to rage. Some are thrilled to receive flowers or candy while others get agitated if the spouse even sends a card.”

Wasson continues by saying, “What seems to enrage many spouses is the presumption that they want a romantic gesture from the spouse. They may be unsure about whether they want to remain married and if they are ‘in love’ with their partner or not.”

According to Wasson, the wives often interpret the gifts and cards as pressure or manipulation on the part of the husband. “They don’t want to give the husband the impression that they welcome the romantic gestures or that they have reciprocal feelings. So they get stressed and react with anger instead.”

Wasson recalls a wife whose husband sent a dozen red roses to her office on Valentine’s Day. “She was as mad as a hornet,” shares Wasson. “She was absolutely furious with her mate for putting her in the position of having to listen to her co-workers talk about what a sweet husband she had.”

So how does a husband who is in a marriage separation figure out what to do on Valentine’s Day? Wasson offers the following tips:

1. If your wife says that she loves you like a “friend” or “brother” and doesn’t have romantic feelings for you, don’t send a gift or card on Valentine’s Day. Don’t do anything to acknowledge the day because it will only make things worse.

2. If your wife says she’s not sure if she still loves you or not, then the door is open slightly. You might give her something moderate and more low-key than roses, such as a bouquet of mixed fresh flowers or tulips, or a box of candy. If you include a card, make it more on the funny side than ultra-romantic.

3. If you and your wife still flirt with each other and it’s obvious that the sexual attraction is still there, then you’re probably safe to go “all out” by presenting her with a dozen roses, candy, and a romantic card. You might even consider including a gift certificate to a day spa.

4. If you’re still not sure, you can check things out by asking your wife ahead of time if she would be offended if you sent her a gift or card for Valentine’s Day. Say that you want to respect her feelings, and that’s why you’re asking. This is bound to get you some extra points in the “good will” relationship bank.

“The key,” says Wasson, “is to put yourself in your wife’s place. It’s important to be sensitive to her feelings, even if you don’t understand them. That’s an important step to take in an unhappy marriage when you’re trying to deal with a marriage separation and stop divorce. Respect is essential.’

Marriage counselor Nancy Wasson, Ph.D., has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for more than twenty years. She coaches couples in unhappy marriages and provides immediate help through the privacy of telephone and email consultations. She is the author of “Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore!’ ” She offers a free weekly marriage advice newsletter at

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