Don’t Promise Her Happiness!

… Valentine’s Day or any day,
(c) 2018, Davd

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, and romantic extravagance will be “the order of the day”1. Don’t follow the order; don’t follow the custom.

Be unromantic if that’s what it implies; but do be realistic — and realistically, you cannot keep a promise to make somebody else happy.

First, it’s impossible. You might be able to do some things that make happiness more likely, might make it easier; but the most you can do might be to make happiness more likely — not guaranteed. There’s a 4-letter F-word for people who promise the impossible: Fool. (If you prefer 6-letter words, Stupid is close — but Fool is more exact.)

Don’t promise her2 happiness — don’t be a fool.

Second, she might “hold you to it” — she might demand you keep that impossible promise… which obviously, you cannot do.

There is an important lesson for men to learn, or remember, about happiness: Men expect, morally if not practically, to have a reasonable opportunity to pursue happiness… indeed, the US Declaration of Independence, written by men, claims as men’s God-given rights, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Many women seem to expect happiness as their female right; men claim life and liberty, but not happiness, only the right to pursue it… which is more realistic than women’s claim to have a right to it.

Fairy tales often end with “happily ever after”. Few boys take such endings seriously. While i’ve never been a girl, it looks like rather many girls do take them seriously. … ooops!

Ain’t Momma happy,.. ain’t nobody happy! Is an Afro-American folk maxim. I mentioned that to a young, “Euro-Canadian” mother, and her reply was immediate: “Happy wife, happy life.” Please the female head of household, or else.

Would you want to be married to a woman who had your promise to do the impossible, to point to? Would you want to be tangled up with that kind of promise, at all?

Me, i’d rather spend February 14 in church with ashes on my face3.


1. Why Valentine’s day for “romance”? They taught me 50-60 years ago St. Valentine was executed by firing squad — in his day, they fired arrows rather than bullets. The arrows through his heart were literally true, and fatal. (Neither Wikipedia’s current article on the Saint, nor the Catholic Encyclopedia, stated that when read in January 2018) Having heard that story “back when”, it’s a day i do not celebrate as has been commercially normal during my life. I’d plan to let the day go by like any other, as last year — except that this year, it’s also Ash Wednesday.

2. I may have missed some recent social change, but last i really noticed, back early in this century, Valentine’s Day was about heterosexual “romance” and if there was a homosexual variation, i didn’t see it, and haven’t since. (Don’t bother to inform me, if.)

3. For the first time i can remember (which might mean “no recent year” rather than “no previous year”) Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is February 14. Instead of “romance”, i expect to spend the day focusing on austerity and self-discipline.

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together "in peace and brotherhood" for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.
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