Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and while taking time to express your love for one another on this day is special, I don’t think doing it once a year does a lot toward solidifying a long lasting relationship. That’s where my 5 Ways to Show Your Love, Past Valentine’s Day comes in.
While men have coined Valentine’s Day the “Hallmark” Holiday – because they believe it was created for commercial reasons – I still see men running around the store, the afternoon of, for a card, flowers, and/or maybe some chocolates. While the women take time to make his favorite meal, or book reservations at their favorite restaurant, where they’ll exchange their heartfelt gifts and express their love for one another. Awe, swoon If only it could be like that everyday right? Well it can if we keep our EGOs in check and choose love every step of the way. Here are a few things that can help.
Let Go. After much work, I’ve realized that most of the disagreements in my relationships have been caused by my expectations of what my partner should be willing to do for me and for the love he claims to have. Ego convinces us that the right partner, if they love us enough, will gladly mold themselves into our vision of the “perfect” partner, whether that vision includes characteristics we’ve pieced together from 5 other men or not. It’s that expectation of what love and romance should look like, that causes us to question their love for us and resent the level to which they’re willing and able to love. Talk about setting yourself up for failure.
Make time for each other. Family, kids, work – life really, can appear to be a higher priority at times and that’s ok, as long as you make sure to secure some one on one time with your partner.
I’ve realized that this is a definite talking point in all my relationships and what’s worked is when we make a commitment to give ourselves at least 30-60 minutes of one on one time on a daily basis, and at least one date night a week. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or last hours and hours, but it should be something you do, just the two of you, without cell phones, TVs, or other distractions. If you haven’t done it in a while it could be a scary proposition because you’ve probably lost the ability to communicate without anger or resentment bubbling to the surface. But even if words are too difficult, just sit together, holding hands, touching and/or looking into each other’s eyes. Trust me, all of this helps in developing and maintaining a deep connection.
Shake things up. Routines are so easy to follow because you’ve gained some security in knowing what’s next. But shaking things up every now and again allows a sense of excitement that can only add a spark to a dull drum day, a date night, or even an unexpected getaway.
I’m a very by the book kinda girl who doesn’t like surprises (ie letting go of control), but I always push myself to take on everything that comes my way, especially when someone I love has taken the time to plan it. So I usually start off any new adventure a little nervous and skeptical, but ultimately end up having a good time. The key is to just go with the flow and trust that regardless of how it ends up, at least you’ll have a story, a new memory, and hopefully a wonderful new connection to share with each other.
Don’t ask, act. Don’t just offer to help when you see that your partner is overwhelmed/tired/frustrated, actually do something to help. When you think about ways to show your partner you love them, the last thing that pops into your head is doing household chores, but many women feel loved when our partners help out around the house. If household chores aren’t the thing causing the rift, maybe it’s time to remind ourselves to take time to offer words or gestures of appreciation/adoration toward one another. Use whatever you know your partner enjoys. Knowing each other’s love language can totally help with this. It’s a give and take, and when honored by both parties, love and happiness prevails.
Welcome intimacy. I know when we’re too busy trying to win the “I’m right, you’re wrong” fights, intimacy flies out the window, but a healthy, loving relationship requires it. Intimacy however, does not always have to equal sex. It can be something as simple as a loving touch or a deep seeded conversation. If done often and without expectations, sexual intimacy is soon to follow.
So go ahead and keep that Valentine’s Day high as you make a conscious choice to build a life long, happy, loving relationship filled with constant verbal and non-verbal communication that let’s both you and your partner know you’re being heard and understood.
Cheers to a loving, long lasting partnership!
Which do you struggle with the most and how do you think you can work on it?