Self-acceptance and spouse-acceptance on Valentine's Day.

Angels - 1I overslept this morning, Valentine’s Day, getting up not too long before Michael, my husband, left for work. When I came down to the kitchen, on the counter sat a big red envelope on which he had drawn my name in a heart pierced with an arrow.

I had intended to be up before him so I could put my card on the counter, proving that I bought one already. Until I had some coffee coursing through my veins, however, I wasn’t coherent enough to remember where I hid the card in the dining room, let alone dig it out, think of something clever and mushy to write on it, sign it, and place it next to his.

When Michael walked into the kitchen, the first thing he said was, “Since I’m leaving now, you’ll have time to go to CVS today to buy your card.”

“I have one!” I told him. “I bought it yesterday, really.”

And we both had a good chuckle.

After 35 years of marriage, we can joke about our foibles and accept each other’s faults. It takes self-acceptance and spouse-acceptance. That gift is better than any card.

Whether your love interest is a spouse, a partner, a pet, or an unfulfilled wish, I hope your day is filled with love.

Here’s what I wrote last year about Valentine’s Day. :


The role reversal in our marriage is that my husband gives awesome, sentimental, thoughtful gifts, and I suck.

Maybe that’s why I’m the one who insists that we don’t exchange presents for Valentine’s Day.

Really, what do I need that I can’t buy for myself? I’m hard to fit in clothes unless I try them on first, I’m particular about jewelry (meaning that I like it cheap mostly, not worthy of Valentine’s gift-giving), I can’t eat chocolate these days, and it’s too cold for garden plants.

But I do insist on cards. I have my pride, after all. Even so, often the day creeps up on me and I’m caught NOT valentine-red-handed.

I KNOW it’s coming. I KNOW Valentine’s Day is February 14. I’m looking at the calendar now and I can see that it’s on Tuesday this year. But I have doctor’s appointments this week, and errands to run on Saturday, and then Sunday will roll around with a nor’easter probably, or at least a snowstorm. Monday I’ll be shoveling out and will forget about it until I look at FaceBook and see all the ads. But then I’ll be busy writing and if I stop, I’ll lose my great idea.

So I may end up in the CVS greeting card aisle at 8 PM the evening of February 13, elbowing my way through a wall of sheepish men lined up three-deep, waiting to pick among the dregs of the red and pink cards. Talk about sheepish – I’ll probably be redder than all the glossy hearts. And there are never any good cards to buy for husbands the night before Valentine’s Day. I mean, I would guess that’s the case.

Worse, because I’m free during the day this year, I’ll really try not to, but I may end up in the card aisle on February 14. I’d have to tell Michael that morning before he leaves for work, “Let’s open cards tonight, Dear, is that OK with you?”

He knows. I can’t fool him anymore. It’s been 34 years. (Please note- I was about 8 when I married.)

Gift or no gift, card or no card, here’s what I do that I hope tells my husband how much I love him all year round:

I thank him often. For washing his bowl that sat in the sink for two days, and mailing my letter, and putting up with me, and killing the Black Widow spider in the bathroom. OK, it was only one of the little yellow spiders, but I’m sure it was about to attack me. And I tell him that he’s a genius for figuring out how to fix our basement stairs without costing us a fortune. And I tell him how glad I am that I married him 34 years ago, when I was about 8.

And for some reason, even though I suck at gifts, he thanks me when I wash his bowl that sat in the sink for two days, and hugs me when I’m sad, and saves me from four-legged and eight-legged and winged critters, and tells me how glad he is to have married me 34 years ago, no matter my age.

When you have words and deeds that are so precious, who needs gifts? But I’d still like to exchange cards for Valentine’s Day, if I can get my hands on a red-hot one before they’re all gone.

[A footnote: I had been providing a link to my original posts on (the blog that I am slowly abandoning), when I update them here. I realized that makes no sense. As long as I keep my stories, there’s no need to have them in two places. Going forward, when I update a blog post here, I’ll delete the original.

Gulp–it’s like losing a little piece of me.]


  • An emerging writer in upstate, NY, Karen DeBonis tells her story on her website, in publications like the NY Times, (a Tiny Love Story), in her “Become Emboldened” projects, and elsewhere. "Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price", Karen’s transformational memoir about a woman’s quest for authenticity and the courage to speak her truth, is currently available for representation.

No Comments

  1. Gail Boenning on February 14, 2018 at 1:37 PM

    Happy Valentine’s Day Karen!

  2. PHONEGAL52 on February 14, 2018 at 2:18 PM

    I loved this article It made me laugh I was in CVS last night at 7 pm not buying a card but FYI the card aisle was very busy  Happy Valentine’s Day.   I tried to log in to comment and I got a message saying my email didn’t match LOL 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • Karen DeBonis on February 14, 2018 at 4:17 PM

      I went to CVS early afternoon, and was so glad there wasn’t a crowd! BTW – your comment showed up fine here, and thank you for it. Sorry it’s so tricky!!

  3. Sheba Olenik on February 14, 2018 at 2:56 PM

    So cute!

  4. Jack Herlocker on February 15, 2018 at 3:59 PM

    Deb loved this, btw! She also thinks, “my husband gives awesome, sentimental, thoughtful gifts, and I suck,” which is untrue in her case, and I suspect in yours as well. Michael reads these, right? I trust he tells you when you’re full of it and you’re wonderful, and you tell him you might occasionally need to exaggerate for effect. 😉

  5. Karen DeBonis on February 15, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    Oh, Jack, how I wish I could say I exaggerated for effect, but that is sadly not the case. I do suck at gift-giving, and yes, some years, I’ve been in CVS the night before with all the men, buying a card. And Michael still tells me I’m wonderful and that he loves me. So now we’ve established why I married him, what still remains a mystery is why he married ME!

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