How Roses Can Teach You What You Need to Know About Love…Getting and Keeping It

roses and a book



I’ve been told this post was the most important one I’ve ever written…it certainly was a critical life lesson for me.  I’m reposting it for you this Valentine’s Day…


FTD must have been the original St. Valentine, or the Saint was a hell of an entrepreneur.


Roses are synonymous with The Big Red Heart day. Thanks to the media, not a man alive escapes the message that your sweetheart will give you ANYTHING if you remember the roses. And, according to Valentine’s Day rules, the ones in buckets at the local grocery store don’t count.

Well, I certainly believed that my husband knew that, but in case he didn’t, as we strolled by the downtown florist I “oooed” and “ahhhed” over those “roses in the window”. Now, I was SURE he got the message!

Enter V Day in rural Maine. The year, 1983. It was the same year we had purchased our first desktop computer and Dell became a household word. I was like a kid playing in the mud about that computer. A burgeoning writer, the idea of never again using carbon paper and easy editing was almost orgasmic.

I woke up to the second day of a Nor’easter. The lake in front of our house was frozen solid, the roads plowed during the night were now piling up with snow once again. My first thought was that those florist delivery trucks would make it no matter what. So, the titillating wait began.

My husband dressed and shoveled his way to the car heading for the hospital where he worked. I guessed he was preoccupied with weather when he didn’t mention Valentine’s Day, so I let it go. The roses would mend everything.

Not only were there no florist delivery vans on the road that day, but it was hard for a snow plow to stay upright. As darkness came and it was time for my husband’s return from work, I put on a little black dress, opened a bottle of wine and put the kids to bed. On the counter was a lovely crystal vase just waiting for those roses.

The door opened and brushing off the snow, he said, “What’s for dinner?” What???  OK, he was going to surprise me. The roses were in the car and I began to worry that they would freeze, but poured us both a glass of wine. Since he hadn’t said those magic words, “Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.” I took the initiative (It was the era of feminism after all).

He then pulled a brown paper bag out of his briefcase and handed it to me with a smile and a toast. I couldn’t believe what I pulled out of that bag…a book! Are you kidding me, I thought. A book! It was an early version of Computers for Dummies.  That is second only to a blender for your anniversary. I was surprised, disappointed and really pissed and it all came rolling out of my mouth. “You got me a BOOK for Valentine’s Day?” I said. And then I saw his face lose all signs of life and joy. As he walked away, I felt so ashamed and yet, I was still filled with disappointment and confusion.  How could he not know I wanted roses for Valentine’s Day? Remember the walk by the florist window?  Any man with a brain should know his sweetheart wants roses.After what seemed like hours, he reappeared and we sat down to a cold dinner, half a candle and a Golden Retriever who had retreated under the table. “Donna, do you know what I went through to get you that book? I wanted you to enjoy the computer because I know how important writing is to you, so I drove in a blizzard all the way to Boston (almost 200 miles) to get this book for you. I thought you would appreciate it, but I can see you don’t.”

My heart sank. I knew that all the apologies in the world could not make up for the words I could never take back.

That day my life changed in ways that were profound and permanent. For the first time I knew that men want to make us happy. That they have their own ways of showing love. That they cannot read our minds. That our expectations of them are based not on their world, but on our preconceived notions of what love looks like.

That Valentine’s Day love came from Barnes and Noble, not from TeleFlora. It came with such beautiful  intention and thought. All I had to do was be open to what HE called love. It changed me forever and though I am still waiting for those roses, I know that one day a new love will bring them my way.

Please post this on your social media sites if you think it will bring a better Valentine’s Day to those you know and love! Thank you.


Happy Valentine’s Day

If you are tired of spending Valentine’s Day alone and ready to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, let’s talk about how to get yon there!

Call 510-817-4242 or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love and I’ll send you my Love Readiness Quiz!

Donna Bailey, M.S

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair


The Need to be Right…What’ll That Get Ya?



And sometimes, paraphrased…”You can either be right or have a loving relationship.” The two are mutually exclusive and this is why…


In order to make a relationship work, at some point you must choose to become a couple instead of two individuals living side by side. This is not to say that each person needs to sacrifice their individuality, but when there are differences of opinion, points of view or recalling the “facts” in a disagreement, the decision to put the relationship first must be made. 


The need to be right comes from many sources. We live in a highly competitive world where boys and men are taught that they must always win or be deemed “weak” by their peers and society as a whole. Families are often competitive and some children learn to vie for parental attention by being the best. When they are not successful many children become adults who feel abandoned and invisible and their sense of self suffers.


One way some people learn to overcompensate for low self-esteem is by putting others down so that they feel “better than” and by maintaining they are “right”it implies the other person must be “wrong”. Controlling others or having to win every time always results in  disaster.


Relationships thrive when a couple comes together to work through disagreements. When one person chooses the relationship over the need to be right, the other person actually feels honored and more loved.


Prove this to yourself. The next time you are beginning to argue with your partner and you notice you want to be “right”, stop yourself right in the middle of the argument or better yet, at the beginning when you feel things begin to  escalate. Remind yourself how much more important your partner is than being right. Something magic happens when you can rise above your ego’s need to be in control, and make room for the peace that letting go of being right can bring. 


If you find yourself unable to do this, it may be time to seek  help from a relationship professional. This can be a complex issue that requires more than your willingness in order to change this pattern. You CAN find and keep love in your life  by taking the first step. Ask for help. That truly is the RIGHT thing to do.

Please Re-post This on Your Social Media Sites. We ALL Need a Reminder!

It takes two to tango and to resolve conflicts. If you are looking for someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, you’ll want to include in your “non-negotiables” the willingness and ability to solve conflicts. Need some help developing that list so that you know exactly what he/she “looks” like?  

Call me for a Complimentary Session and let’s get you on the road to love.

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair


How Do Men Feel When Women Talk Too Much?

A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. Hopefully this picture summons a version of the true way men feel when we are upset with them and try to tell them…


I spent most of my life talking too much and repeating myself to make sure the man in my life really “got it”. And most of the time, he either didn’t get it at all because he felt like this man, or he got it the first time I said it and just didn’t respond on my timetable.

There are so so many things men and women do not understand about each other, and I truly believe that if we took the time to educate ourselves about how different we are and learned how to best reach each other, the divorce rate would geometrically decline.

Good men need and want relationships despite the myth that they only want a good lay. I’ll say it again to all of you who hear this a lot from me…men want to make women happy and they want to do things that create peace and happiness and that make them feel useful. The only men who don’t want these things are sociopaths or narcissists and those men need help from professionals.

They also need direct and clear communication about what you need from them that will please you.  Ladies, don’t wait for them to figure it out, believing something crazy like this:

“He should know what I need because if he really loves me, he will just know.” That’s mind-reading, an unfair expectation for anybody.

When you have strong feelings about something that happened between the two of you, take a walk or go to the gym and process it for a bit. When you are more calm, ask him to let you know when he can make the time to talk about something that’s on your mind. Then, wait long enough for him to do that in his time, not yours. If that doesn’t happen, remind him gently that you’d like to share something with him and ask him if he has a few minutes to do that. Remember, “We need to talk.” is like throwing gasoline on a fire for men. Avoid it!

Now, you’re seated together. The kids are in bed, IPhones on silent and both of you calm and rested if possible. Begin with reassurance…”You know I love you very much”. “I know you love me and you never would do anything to (disappoint, hurt, make me angry). When you _____________ (put what happened in here), I felt/was_______________ (try the 4 emotions, sad, mad, lonely, tired). What I needed from you was ____________ (help, support, understanding, just to listen to me). When that didn’t happen, I felt__________. So, I’m sorry if I got mad (walked away;etc.) Do you understand now?”  Then, see if you are on the same page and give him time to respond. When he can feel he has to power to act on something and sees that he has made you happy, everyone will feel they’ve been heard…winners in the game of relationships!

Try communicating using fewer words, less emotion and giving him more direct information about how he can make you happy by doing what you want and need.

Leave your comments below or email me to let me know how it works the next time you try the new way!!

Donna Bailey, MS

Dating and Relationships Coaching

Donna’s Big Red Chair



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