We usually focus on offering Valentines Day advice to singles, but we know that this Hallmark Holiday can be rough for couples, too. That’s why we’re doling out the advice to those who happened to be attached this February 14th.
Will you be one of the 6 million couples who get in engaged (if you’re not already engaged or married) on Valentines Day? Will you be the recipient of one of the 36 million heart shaped boxes containing some of the 58 million pounds of chocolate sold? Or will you toast the special occasion with some of the 174,000 gallons of bubbly consumed? Are you going to be doing…absolutely nothing? However you plan to spend this special day of love here are some tips to insure a more pleasant experience:
1. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind and fulfill your unspoken fantasies for Valentine’s Day. If you have very specific desires then communicate them to your partner. Which brings us to the next tip…
2. Engage in clear need expression to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Make sure that what you are asking for is reasonable given the duration and depth of your relationship.
3. Be open to accepting expressions of love from your partner that might not match up with yours. Stay in the moment and appreciate any meaningful or thoughtful effort even if it falls short of your expectations.
4. Maintain reasonable expectations. If your partner isn’t the romantic type then your shouldn’t expect a trail of rose petals leading from the front door to your bedroom where you find a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a heart made out of rose petals on the bed.
5. Identify and focus on your partner’s strengths and what you love and appreciate about them. Keep those in mind if your lover falls short of your expectations on Valentine’s Day. And, remember that those are the gifts that keep on giving throughout the year.
Michelle Skeen, PsyD is a therapist and the author of LOVE ME, DON’T LEAVE ME: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships (New Harbinger, 2014). For more information, go to www.lovemedontleaveme.com.