When I saw this picture of men lining up to get their girlfriends flowers on Valentine's Day, it made me sad. This is what obligation looks like.
How many of these men are getting flowers because it's Valentine's Day, and that's the thing you do on Valentine's Day? How many of these men are getting flowers to avoid a fight, or to avoid making her cry? How many of these men are getting flowers so that they can get laid? If they're doing it for any of these reasons, then this is an obligation to them and they have no desire to do it.
Now how many of these men and are looking forward to seeing her face light up with glee when he surprises her with flowers? I'd be willing to bet that number is "0". When a man is not doing it for this reason, he is a beaten down man with the life drained out of him. But when he is doing it for this reason he is excited and full of life.
Should you care why your man gets you flowers, as long as he gets them for you? Here are some reasons why:
If your man is not happy, then your relationship is not good. Go back to RPW school until you learn this.
If your man is happy he is more likely to get you gifts that you don't expect. He might get you flowers on Valentine's Day, or he might get you a "I was just thinking about" gift on a random Tuesday.
If a man gets you flowers, and you know he didn't have to, it makes the gift so much better. If he did it because you told him to, it makes it more fuzzy... did he get them because you told him to, or did he really want to?
The trick to getting men to do nice things for you, without demanding them, is to make him want to do nice things for you. Here are the steps for showing and developing an "attitude of gratitude".
Be a person that he has emotional investment in. This is your basic relationship building tactics, so go back to RPW school if you don't know how to do this.
Never expect anything. I don't care if it's your birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas or Leif Erikson day, don't expect that he gives you anything, and don't be or mad/sad if you didn't get a present. Also, never tie sex to presents, he should be getting sex either way, on a very regular basis.
Remember anything he gives you is a gift that he didn't have to give to you, and act accordingly. If he's not giving you tangible gifts, think about the intangible ones he's giving you. Spending time with you, fixing the leaky faucet, paying the mortgage, whatever. Any gift he gives you should be met with childlike delight, like you're opening your presents on Christmas morning. Smile with glee, jump up and down, kiss him, and thank him.
Let him know if there's something you want, but don't make any sort of obligation or demand out of it. You're just giving him information, he will use it if he is so inclined.
If you're already in an obligation-based relationship, it's not too late to change it. Drop the obligatory behavior, and even directly apologize for it, and start to develop an "attitude of gratitude". In general, to feel entirely grateful for something, you must truly believe that it was an non-obligatory gift. If you don't have this internal gratitude belief system at first, that's okay, you can act like it. Slowly your beliefs will start to follow your behavior.
My SO and his best bud were planning a trip to Yosemite, and they had planned it without me. Upon finding out their plans, I let him know that I would like to come too. I was told this was just for the boys, and I let it go. After he came back from his trip, my SO admitted to me that he didn't take me along because he didn't want to feel like he "had to" just because I happened to be the girl that he was dating. But, when he got there he realized he missed me, and he wanted me there. So that day we began making plans to go back, just so that he could have the experience with my company. I wrote a field report about the event.
I don't get a present from my SO every Christmas. He has gotten things for me some years, but not every year. I always am appreciative and excited when I get something, and always have fun seeing him open the presents I got him. This year was different. This year there was so many presents under the tree with my name on it. Then there was... the big present, which he carefully wrapped cunningly so that I wouldn't have a notion of what it was. When I opened this present I was truly stunned and in awe. We like to go shooting together, and I have been trying (and failing) to get expert level scores for many months. My present was a rifle, that was custom designed for me and put together all by him. He bought all the pieces on the internet, and put it together while I was sleeping. He made sure that every part was picked for me. Light weight (because I'm small), small barrel (for my tiny hands), a compensator that would reduce recoil, my favorite trigger, he even drove for hours to get it all done in purple, and then bought me a matching rifle case. He told me later that he did all this because I treat him so well, and never expect anything from him.