Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year set aside to celebrate love. Couples all around spend lots of time stressing and planning the perfect Valentine’s Day for their partner. Sure, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to lavish your partner with gifts; however it should not be a stressful occasion.
I’m sure by now you’ve already started planning how to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner. This question is on the minds of most couples – both new couples and couples who have been together for years.
For you new couples, you may be at a loss as to what to do or what sort of gift you should give your new partner. For you long term couples, you may be thinking, “We’ve done this already- what’s the big deal?”
First and foremost, couples should remember that Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year. Couples in healthy relationships should express their love everyday, not just this one “special” day.
Here is relationship advice for all couples to make Valentine’s Day spectacular:
1.) Plan a nice date together – go to your favorite places or recreate your first date.
2.) Don’t go overboard on gifts – find a small token or gift that you know your partner will enjoy.
3.) Get creative with personalized gifts – write a heartfelt love poem or a love letter to your sweetie.
4.) If your partner typically enjoys staying in, surprise them with a romantic dinner and movie at home
5.) Remember: Say ‘I love you”… with feeling. This may seem like a simple thing to do, but couples often forget to (or struggle to) say these 3 words.
Take a deep breath and remember: Valentine’s Day is just another day you should spend expressing your love to your partner.
This week I worked with a couple and they were struggling with issues related to communication. They have been having problems in their relationship because she has not been completely honest and isn’t sharing her true feelings with her partner. She finally admitted that she was afraid to upset her partner and didn’t want to create contention or have an argument.
When difficult issues arise, it’s important that each of you have a chance to talk it out. The type of talking where you will both have a voice and commit to constructively discuss your problems, both as individuals and as a couple.
I’ve often seen clients swallow their feelings for the sake of not wanting to upset their partner. They’re not clear about why they’re upset. They shy away from asserting their needs in the relationship because they’re afraid of causing friction in the partnership.
When you don’t share your feelings, frustration can fester inside of you. Then when you’re finally ready to express how you feel, instead of calmly and rationally explaining your side you find yourself exploding at your partner because you have been holding in your feelings for way too long. And yet, the worst part is that your real message gets lost because your partner only hears your anger.
Speak for yourself. Talk about your thoughts, feelings and concerns; not your perceptions of the listener’s point of view or motives. Try to use “I” statements, and talk about your own point of view and feelings, “I was upset when you forgot our date night,” is an “I” statement. “I think you don’t care about me” is not.
Don’t be vague. Provide your partner information; the specific behavior, the context in which it occurs, how you feel when it happens and the opportunity to correct it. This is highly preferable to the typical alternative—a vague description of the problem that, when blurted out, can sound like character defamation.
It’s important to put all relevant facts and feelings on the table so you can lay out a good foundation for communicating.
You want your partner to hear and respect your needs, but you can only do this by creating open dialogue. Communicating your needs is critical for every healthy relationship.