By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Although you can make a good case for seeing Valentine’s day as no more than a Hallmark holiday – a reason to buy more stuff – there’s no getting around the fact that February 14 is recognized in our society as a day for lovers. One great way to honor the stated purpose of this holiday is to use it as a reminder to live each day with your love in mind.
This comes easily to new lovers – but if this describes you, you’ll still want to pay attention to what it takes to keep that love going. The day will come when your natural high will fade. However, you can keep “that lovin’ feeling” if you are ready to put conscious effort into it.
So, whether your love is shiny and new, or has become as comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans, commit yourself on Valentine’s Day to do the following on every day through the year:
Reaffirm to yourself just how precious your relationship is. By keeping what you value about your relationship in mind, you are much less likely to take it for granted.
Take time to think about memories of good times together. Remembering back to when you’ve laughed or enjoyed each other’s company feels good – and this can help melt away some of the negative feelings that can naturally build up in any relationship.
Take time to think about your partner’s positive qualities. No doubt, it is easy for you to bring to mind the things about your partner that bother you (especially if you’ve been together for a long time). So, make it a habit to consciously think of the traits in your partner that you like and respect.
If your relationship is new, you might find that this comes naturally. That’s wonderful. But keep this exercise in mind so that when such positive thoughts aren’t flowing so freely, you can choose to remind yourself of them.
Listen for what makes your partner happy; and find a way to give those things to him or her. This takes thought and effort. However, when you do it, you will feel good about yourself; your partner will feel good; and your relationship will be stronger for it.
Following these suggestions can help keep your love alive – and maybe even help reignite a love that is burning out. But, the key is to commit yourself to valuing your relationship all year long, not just on one special day. If you follow this plan, Valentine’s Day will be just one more day when you share your love – one more happy day in the life of a happy couple.
“The Art of Relationships” blog posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.