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My husband and I have been together for over 3 years. To the majority of married people reading this, we probably sound like a basket of kittens.
“Meow meow meow…I still suck in my gut when you walk into the room.”
We didn’t have a traditional wedding. We don’t have wedding rings either (unless you count the $10 rings we won for free last year).
We spent our wedding budget, a whopping of $35 and some change, on a burger feast at Jack in the Box (after mail-in coupons of course.) Back then, our net worth was no more than $650,000. Weddings just wasn’t a priority for us.
I don’t care for weddings. It usually requires other people participating and me doing stuff, so no…leave me alone.
My eyes sort of glaze over at wedding things but I’m not a weirdo. I do like to look at other people’s joy and their committed love, a lot, but I just don’t understand why it’s worth the trouble. Some little girls start planning their wedding day at 13. When I was 13, I was writing bad crime novels about sadist murders and molestations. I had a crazy addiction to that old TV show, CSI. #GSR baby.
All in all, I’m not what you call a romantic. My husband is more one than I am. He remembers our wedding anniversary (legal) date. I remember it was in the month of September (edit, Nov…?) but I forgot the exact date. Thank god I’m the girl…
Our 3 years together really flew by. They are hands down the best years of my life thus far. No comparison.
You have to understand before I met my husband, I had nothing. I came from a low-caste immigrant family, average intelligence, raised in poverty and picked on because of it for a majority of my life. Growing up, my mom didn’t let me celebrate my birthdays or anything like that. (Hence why I’m not much for celebrations.) She had her reasons and secrets. I don’t care what they are anymore.
When I came into the relationship, I was a big o’ bag of sad and hubby picked me up off the cement sidewalk like an abandoned stray.
So a little piece of my icy heart chipped off when he told me in passing that we’ve been together for 3-something years last week.
This, right here, is the only time I’ll admit that I wish I had marked something down on the calendar to celebrate 3 years of our togetherness. Usually, it’s not a big deal. I don’t think anniversaries is something you have to do every year but you know…just the big numbers like 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 etc.
Getting married is nothing, staying married is the challenge.
Either of us like arbitrary celebrations but this one time, I said to him, “Oh honey, hmm I didn’t even know. Maybe we should have celebrated that 3 years of being together milestone…even a tiny bit.”
And that’s pretty much why I decided to write 100 Free And Frugal Things To Do On Valentine’s Day. I was going to end up doing the research, might as well get creative and turn it into a post.
How We Celebrated Our First Valentine’s Date
This Valentine’s Day landed on Wednesday, the hump day. Joke not intended. A middle of the work week holiday right before a 3-day weekend isn’t exactly efficient for celebrations. Since we don’t usually celebrate things and we missed the 3-year milestone, I thought I throw him a curveball and do something different.
Cooked a Great Meal at Home – $27.84
I finished up my Airbnb rounds. I played with Charlie (I pet sit for a rich family) while prepping ingredients for what I consider the best clam chowder recipe ever. Just use a few more cans of clam than the original recipe suggests. Just make a big batch, you won’t regret it, we killed off 16 servings in 2 days.
I also made some thai tea with sweetened condensed milk (Mark Wien’s blog, love him!) and boba pearls (soak boba pearls after cooking in real honey for an hour!! Makes all the difference in flavor.) Jared has a big sweet tooth. Tomorrow, I’m making him some homemade flan as an extension of v-day desserts.
Did Chores for Him – $0
We don’t separate out our chores. It’s really “which one of us has the time/energy to take this one now, and I’ll do the next one” switch-a-roo. After 6 months of tracking our fights, I know our system could be more efficient but it works for now. I took the initiative and scheduled a few meetings with contractors without him. I washed and folded the laundry. Then I washed the dogs, took out the garbage bins and answered the messages he got on his LinkedIn account. I’m sometimes his secretary 🙂
Left Love Notes – $0
Well — I was supposed to write a bunch of sweet things on napkins and hide them in his pockets before he left for work…but we both overslept and I forgot. Then I remembered my conversation with my friend Soaps a few days ago where I said some very nice things about Jared, being married and loving him with all my…anyways, sap sap sappy sap stuff. I talk to her on a mobile app called WeChat using the voice recording feature so all our conversations are saved. I forwarded my sap sap sappy sap recordings while Jared was at work instead of physical notes. He was flattered so mission accomplished.
Heartfelt 30 Seconds Speech – $0
This time, this one, was a few days before Valentine’s Day but I decided to throw it in because it was my catalyst for wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. We were just talking about the 3 years we’ve been together (and forgot to celebrate). I reflected on my many, many mistakes in life since we were on the topic of marriage. I’m far from the best wife but the comfort I get is trying to get better at being with him than the day before.
Jared and I married young. I was 23/24 when I married him and there was a lot of growing up I needed to do. Both of us needed to, but more so me.
As a person who got hitched at a young age, relationships are harder. It’s not about the chemistry between two people but more like you’re still in mid-development as a human being.
Every change is fair game.
Most 20-something-year-olds are still trying to figure stuff out. We grow and we learn continuously. Sometimes people grow apart, people learn to differentiate until the end result is someone we no longer recognize except for memories.
Plans change and careers hijack relationships, all the time.
My master plan in life is to stuff as many happy seconds as I can while on this planet so I have a tendency to stay put and meander instead of growing. I hate making mistakes. Hate them. For every lesson I learn after doing something dumb, I make sure to apologize to hubby. It doesn’t matter when. I apologize the moment I realize I’m wrong and apologize again until I forgive myself. I shouted an apology into the bathroom once when he was going #2.
Anyway, after I finished reflecting the mistakes I’ve made and apologizing (again) to him for getting caught in the crossfires.
I thanked him for growing up alongside me, being patient with me with an inner calm that Mr. Executive didn’t have.
Our relationship would be in big trouble if we didn’t accept putting down our defenses and growing alongside each other through things.
HERE COMES THE WATERWORKS. BOO HOO. AWW WAHHH.
(OK, Jared didn’t do that but he did tear up and turn pink.)
So it was that moment after I thanked him did I know for sure he was my best-est friend and hands down most awesome person ever in creation (at least in my universe).
DIY Valentine Card – $0
He threw me a curveball. Jared made me a Valentine card randomly this year, on company time.
“Wait, how did you get material for this? Did you STEAL this? What??? Like…they has a craft table?”
“Actually yeah, it was out all week – I just didn’t see it.”
“There IS a craft table?!?”
“There’s heart stickers, craft scissors and doilies…”
Omg he works in an adult kindergarten. That explains quite a lot.
Someone printed Valentine themed cartoons/memes and put it out on the crafts table for everybody. He saw this Seattle soda tax one and thought of me so he took his lunch break to make it.
Bragged About Him to Everybody Reading – Priceless
That was #20 on the list. Check, check, triple check!
Against all odds, this Valentine’s Day was indeed special. This Valentine meant a lot to us not because it was Valentine’s Day but the timing of it shaped up nicely too. I realized a few days before that 3+ years together warranted some celebration when we had zero to begin with. I must say, it was fun. And it was pretty frugal! The clam chowder was the most expensive thing we made. It cost almost $18 of ingredients to make those 16 servings!
Most of my foundation goals in life (love, finance, spiritual) has been found and answered – lucky ducky’s grateful. I know I’m not always as grateful as I should be but deep down I am. I’m not sure how Jared has all the dumb luck when I clearly have just as much he does.
I’m not sure if Valentine’s Day has to be an “every year, must-do” kind of thing for us but I definitely appreciated the DIY card and doing some small chores off his list.
For usually anti-Valentine people, this was actually kind of nice! February 14ths are indeed just another day but it gave us the excuse to celebrate a little something-something even though we didn’t have to. And definitely not on a big budget either. This was just another day except this time…we had an excuse. Sometimes, you just need an excuse that’s all.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…give meaning to any day by living it with purpose and make your own rules on how to celebrate it. Happiness will follow.
Readers, did anyone celebrate v-day this year? Alone or with your significant other? How was it? What did you do? Who is getting knocked up?