With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it can be a difficult day for singles and for couples. For singles in my practice, I often hear how lonely, frustrating, and sad it can be (see my next upcoming blog soon about singles and dating). For couples in my practice, they frequently voice how disappointing, impersonal, and unromantic it has been, which sometimes may reflect how unsatisfying their relationship overall may be.
To help my couples (and couples in general) for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to provide some insight about what kinds of “gifts” tend to feel great that are often innocently overlooked or unrecognized by many people. Of course, giving the traditional gifts (i.e., flowers, candy, cards, etc.) are nice. However, as I’ve heard from my clients through the years, some gifts are even more heart-warming and meaningful to them and can create and/or contribute to feeling loved and connected to each other.
1) Undiluted focus and time: Nowadays, focusing on and giving time to one thing or person at a time is getting rarer, especially with all the tweets, texts, phone calls, voice-mails, e-mails, and apps. people can get distracted by. On an every day basis, it is very important not to lose the connection between you and your partner amidst all of this. However, when you are with your loved one on Valentine’s Day, it is especially important to put your phone, i-pad, tablet, kindle, and computer away and truly give him or her your full undiluted focus and time. Remember, this is supposed to be a day of celebrating being a couple who is in love. If you are split between your electronic device and your partner, it does not feel very romantic or loving and can cause feelings of disconnection, hurt, and upset.
2) Quality versus quantity: Too often I hear my clients talk about how they may have received presents on Valentine’s Day that were generic and could have been for anyone. Even if they receive several presents, the quantity certainly does not outweigh the quality of the presents. It doesn’t have to be expensive or numerous; it just has to be something that shows you know your partner quite well and are acknowledging them by the kind of gift you give him or her. Typically, people like to feel that their partner has paid attention to who he or she is as a unique individual and what moves or matters to him or her. Giving a gift with this kind of personal touch makes that person feel “seen” and special and understood by one’s partner, characteristics that make couples feel very bonded to and loved by each other.
3) Notice and acknowledge the good: In my practice, the double-standard of complaining about each other’s faults and flaws while not giving equal recognition of each other’s positive qualities and behaviors is often a culprit in distancing partners from each other in general. Valentine’s Day is almost a built-in reminder to stop complaining and start appreciating each other. Remember, this is supposed to be a day to commemorate being in love. So, use Valentine’s Day as that reminder to recognize and tell each other why you love each other. And please try to give each other at least three reasons why you love him or her or what makes each partner special to the other. Partners that express more positives than negatives about the other tend to have happier relationships. What better day to start doing this than on Valentine’s Day?
If your partner and you need more help with or insight about your specific love disconnections and distress, leave a message for me with my answering service at (310) 359-9450.