Valentines Day – Beyond Candy and Flowers – Starts Today

by Rod Kochtitzky, M.Div.

Can you remember when you first fell in love?  When you saw your partner with eyes of appreciation and had positive thoughts in spite of something silly or annoying they did?

And, can you remember when you lost that in love feeling? It’s natural that we fall in love and then at some point later conflict starts, disappointment sets in and we find ourselves feeling more disconnected than connected.

And then, here comes Valentine’s Day.  The day the world speaks of Candy and flowers.  The day we look at our not-so-perfect relationship and silently bemoan what we don’t have and put our best faces on as we make the dinner reservation, buy the obligatory card and box of chocolates and imagine that everyone else is happier than we are.

In my experience, at least 75-80% of us are in this dynamic with our partners.   If you are in a marriage that is not either on the brink of divorce or being held together out of habit and convenience, then you have a rare gem and you have done something to make this happen. But unfortunately, most couples fall in love and end up in a conflictual, disconnected or distant relationship.  And either the relationship dies a silent death or the couple has done something to learn how to relate intimately. They’ve learned that keeping romance in a marriage is no longer a matter of spontaneity and desire, but happens because they make it happen.

The hopeful thing is that we can all do this.  You can do this!  You can have a relationship that is about being yourself, being real and being intimate and passionate with your partner.  So if you want to have the Valentine’s Day of your dreams, you will be thoughtful and intentional and you will plan to put romance in your relationship, not just for a day but for a lifetime.  Valentine’s Day starts today.  These are the things you (and I am especially talking to the men here) could do and you do them without expecting anything in return — as a free gift, as your commitment to be a better partner.

  • Starting today, compliment your partner once a day until Valentine’s Day and the beyond.
  • Make a point of listening to your partner and every day find the occasion to say “what you’re saying is important, I want to see if I got it…” and then repeat back what you’ve heard.
  • Tell your partner something you appreciate about him/her, either something they’ve done or some aspect of their character.
  • Do at least one chore that your partner normally does.  If they wash the dishes, you do it.
  • Make the phone call just to say “I love you”.
  • Give your partner at least 3 – ten second kisses a week and/or ten second hugs.  (Count sometime; you’ll be surprised how long ten seconds can be).   Take a risk, grow that love muscle.

The idea is to be conscious, thoughtful and proactive about caring and loving.  This is about making emotional deposit in the bank account of your relationship.  This creates goodwill that we all need in our intimate relationships if we are to break out of the parallel relationship and create intimacy and caring. Give it a try. You can do it!

This is love that goes beyond Valentine’s Day candy and flowers