By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Remember the movie Field of Dreams? Kevin Costner’s character heard a voice say, “If you build it, they will come.” Similarly good advice for anyone who wants to romance their partner or wants to know what to get their partner for Valentine’s Day is: If you listen, they will tell you.
When I say listen, I mean listen to all the ways that your partner communicates: what they say, how they act, how they choose to spend their time, what’s important to them, etc. So, for instance, if your partner loves skiing, mother nature has recently given you the perfect opportunity to treat your loved one to a day (or weekend) on the slopes. You might also focus on what you love about your partner and give a gift that pays homage to that. So, if you are enamored of your partner’s creative sense in photography, you might frame some of their pictures.
By choosing to think about Valentine’s Day as a day to honor your love (rather than as a challenge for you to prove your love), it will be a day that can bring you great joy and deep gratification. It is your chance to share your emotions, offering your partner the warmth of being loved as well as adding to your own good feelings by doing this. So, stop paying so much attention to those jewelry commercials. Don’t worry about the high cost of roses. Instead, turn your attention to your partner and to your own heart. Reminisce about happy times. Smile as you absorb his or her presence in the moment. And, as you do this, allow your mind to wander to all the ways you’d like to bring happiness to him or her.
What you will likely find is that ideas for gifts will come to you. If your partner has been particularly stressed recently, you might wrap a coupon for a massage. Or, your artistic partner might love a day together at a museum followed by a romantic dinner. Limited by a tight budget? You can simply offer your appreciation in a poem, song, or letter right from your heart (no fancy words needed).
By opening yourself up to all that’s wonderful about your partner, you are giving yourself the gift of savoring those experiences. And by sharing your appreciation in whatever form it takes, you will also be giving your partner the best gift possible… your love.
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.