Recently, a client asked me what he should get his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day after a period of turbulence in their relationship. He was concerned that she would reject him or his gift and was really troubled by what he should get her. This spurred a conversation about the meaning of Valentine’s Day and how important it may be to relationships. Additionally, does Valentine’s day mean only sharing love once a year, or is there more than that?
The history of Valentine’s Day is very clear and very romantic, almost poetic. At first sight however, it is a little depressing, so bear with me here. A man condemned to death professed his love to his sweetheart in the form of a note (now termed Valentine) right before he met his maker. These days we give flowers, bears, cards, candy, etc. to profess this same love to our partner, significant other, or spouse in honor of the great Valentine (minus the death part of course).
However, why does this love-fest have to just be once a year? Why can’t it be everyday? I don’t mean the balloons and the flowers, etc, but the giving of love, respect, honor and friendship. It is given everyday, but how often is it appreciated and honored? Just once a year? (or twice if you include Christmas). But the point is, instead of waiting to show love on Valentine’s Day when the price of roses is up 200%, why not show this love and appreciation sporadically throughout the year? Why not make up your own love-appreciation day that is not over sensationalized or commercialized? Expectations placed on couples and individuals on Valentine’s day seems to be so great that if gestures of love are not proclaimed (and proclaimed correctly) then there can be a social stigma, especially if the couple is not married, or in a different regard for single folks.
Moreover, Valentine’s day or any love appreciation day doesn’t have to be about gifts but more about thoughtfulness, kindness and gratitude for love. So, if you do celebrate Valentine’s day, do something thoughtful and special for your relationship. Take a cooking class together, work on your communication together, enroll in a couples workshop. You don’t have to wait until your relationship is in trouble to start working on making it better. Additionally, it doesn’t even have to cost you much (if anything) if you know what your partner likes.
Some examples: Homemade love notes that include pictures from a significant date/time, slow dancing at home, soft music and candle-light, making dinner for your significant other, a homemade coupon book full of rewards (I’ll do the laundry coupon, I’ll do the dishes coupon, etc), or anything else that you may be able to think of that would be appreciated.
Bringing Valentine’s Day into your love life everyday starts with thinking about how you can make your partner happy today and acting on that change in behavior. If you are not happy with your partner’s behavior, then it might be time to have a conversation about that, although sometimes (not always and not with all people) changes in yourself can spur automatic changes in your partner. What changes can you make daily, weekly, monthly to bring the essence of Valentine’s Day into your relationship all year long? Start today and you may be surprised by all the love and gratitude you bring into your life!
In love and light,