I hate Valentine’s Day. I’ve hated it for years. I get anxiety at this time every year because I feel like I don’t measure up, or I get let down. After thinking about it I’ve come up with two major issues I have with Valentine’s Day.
My marriage doesn’t look like those others. Do you remember when the Twilight books were a big deal? I was mad at my husband for two months, because he wasn’t Edward (the most romantic and beautiful man in the entire world according to Stephanie Meyer). It took me awhile to calm down about it all. It’s the same for every romantic movie. I like them, but I’m learning to look for ways my relationship is working instead of what others think it should be.
There is a really cute book called Fanny’s Dream, by Carolyn Buehner. It’s a children’s book about a woman who waits a long time for her fairy godmother to give her the man of her dreams. While she is waiting she gets married and starts a family. Over the course of many years, her fairy godmother finally shows up and offers to rescue Fanny from her life. Fanny declines because she realizes her husband has become the man of her dreams. You can watch the story on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbgMuE469cM
If you can relate, then here are some tips to help you learn to appreciate and fall in love with your significant other every day in your own way:
-Keep a gratitude journal of daily events that your spouse/partner does that you love or appreciate.
-Learn your partner’s love language. What is it that helps them feel loved? (http://www.5lovelanguages.com).
-Think of quality over quantity. How do you and your main love build connection together? I like walks at the end of the day with my husband. It’s not a trip to Paris that I can brag about to all my friends (although we have done that too). It’s about sharing something between us on a regular basis that brings us together. It’s a chance to talk and hold hands and learn about each other.
2. People can’t read my mind. I get frustrated when people I love don’t do things for me that I think they should know to do – like buying me flowers on Valentine’s Day. In the movies, one person just looks at their romantic partner and all of the sudden they are in her apartment drinking wine on a bed of roses. I don’t know how they do it, but one of those people in the relationship must have superpowers. My expectations for Valentine’s Day probably aren’t realistic if I’m expecting the hubby to know my thoughts and desires. He’s good at a lot of things, but he doesn’t have mind reading superpowers, so I guess I have to tell him. Yes, I’m saying you need to ask for what you need. It makes holidays like this much less anxiety provoking.
Here is how to ask for what you need:
-Know exactly what you want. If you don’t know, spend some time thinking about what you want, and why it’s important to you.
-Don’t send mixed messages. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Think about what your body language is saying? If you are standing with your arms folded and a scowl on your face, it’s probably not going to get you very far.
-Treat your partner the way you would want to be treated. If you don’t want a demanding, critical spouse then don’t be one yourself. Kindness, compassion, and empathy are skills that are often overlooked in long-term relationships, but they make all the difference.
A good book to help you learn good ways to communicate with your romantic partner is John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. You can also look him up on youtube for some short clips. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=John+Gottman
I think I’m going to try something new this Valentine’s Day – I’m going to try and enjoy the holiday. By not putting other people’s expectations on myself and choosing in advance how I want to share my special day with my loved ones, I might enjoy it more and regret it less.