A Valentine’s Day to Remember!
There is so much commercialism around this day it is little wonder some become disillusioned. Maybe you are cynical when you see yet another image of romantic couples gazing into each other’s eyes. Or maybe you secretly wish your partner would just know what you want and surprise you with the big gesture or romantic touch. Maybe you have been really hurt by your partner not appreciating the gift you did buy or the weekend getaway you booked that turned into a disaster!
John Gottman’s research into successful couples is clear. The most important decision is to invest in the relationship. That is the motivation which seems to drive the forthcoming holiday. You are encouraged to turn towards each other, to show you care and to make some show of affection. How can we make sure it does not backfire?
Some of the best gifts cost nothing except time and willingness to prioritize each other. It is not the grand gestures, special holidays or fabulous gifts that bring happiness. Instead, it is the ongoing, regular accumulation of small acts of kindness and consideration that laid the firm foundation for a happy relationship. This is the first three levels of the Gottman Sound Relationship House. Get that right and the rest is so much easier.
What then, do I recommend for Valentine’s day?
Talk with each other beforehand. Ask open-ended questions;
- What would a perfect this day be like if there were no restrictions?
- Why that is appealing?
- Are there any times when those dreams have eventuated?
- What elements would be most special?
- What would be the worst-case scenario for this day?
Listen with curiosity. Share stories and secret wishes.
Have similar conversations about what would be most satisfying about a normal day or weekend. Or, what is one thing that would make you feel truly appreciated and loved? You might be pleasantly surprised by the answers. Then you have the information to help you to be a winner in your partner’s eyes.
Make the effort to make some part of his/her dream come true, even if it is only in the planning stages.
More about the Sound Relationship House in my next blog.