Not feeling particularly excited about this Valentine’s Day with your partner? You are not alone! It is easy to lose enthusiasm over time. Here are some suggestions to put some CPR into your romance!
Remind yourself that Valentine’s Day is a great time to CONNECT with each other. Healthy love does not just happen—there is some conscious effort involved. Think about what you can do more (or less) of to strengthen your sense of coupleship. Do you listen? Make eye contact? Make at least a distraction-free hour a day to be with your partner? Share appreciations much more often than complaints? Behave as if the relationship is the priority in your life? Now is the time to activate the ongoing practice of enhancing connection!
PREPARE beforehand with your partner regarding what each of you would like to do to celebrate. Here’s where personality differences and preferences can be both challenging and fun. Do both of you want a Valentine’s gift? (What would your partner really like—not what you want him/her to have?) Some folk may actually prefer not to get a gift. Would you both like a special outing, a weekend, or an evening? Plan a time when both can relax and be present. Do either or both of you like surprises or would one of you prefer to know the agenda? Are expectations reasonably clear?
Also prepare yourself by priming for romance. Therapist and researcher John Gottman reports in his book, PRINCIPIA AMORIS: THE NEW SCIENCE OF LOVE, that couples who make it long term purposefully think positively about each other. All those neurotransmitters and hormones that fired up when you first fell in love do wane. That’s normal. It doesn’t mean something is wrong. You can still, however, energize them. List things you appreciate and find attractive about your partner, and look at (and add to) the list daily. Prepare to flirt with your partner.
You might blame your partner for your not feeling attracted when really you are not feeling attractive. If lovemaking will be part of the mutual agenda, think some sexy thoughts about yourself and your partner. Get a new outfit, (including new undies)!
REVIVE the love. Use the same kind of manners you used early in the relationship, everyday. Touch. Reminisce together about the relationship. Take this time to discuss how you fell in love, what attracted you to each other, and special memories you share. One of my favorite exercises for couples is the “Reromanticizing” exercise in GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT by Harville Hendrix, which gives couples a structure to share likes and wishes. Talk about your wishes and hopes for your future together.
So, ready? Start your engines! Happy Valentine’s Day!