Now with REAL discussion, Conversation Hearts.
Stay with me because I have a suggestion; you may not agree with it, but hear me out. It has to do with Valentine’s Day.
I am aware that Valentine’s Day is a bogus holiday that causes undue stress and anxiety when you are first dating, followed by a feeling of hopelessness along the lines of “I’m out of ideas” in the middle years, and finally resentment or outright apathy once you have been together for a significant amount of time. It serves no purpose and, at worst, may even be detrimental.
Now listen, we will never be able to avoid Valentine’s Day because the 18.9 billion dollar Valentine’s business just cannot allow it to occur.
As soon as the Christmas decorations are removed from shop shelves, the focus shifts to waxy chocolates loaded with almonds and nougat, as well as hearts and doilies.
You may not always know the day of the week that it will fall on, but there are factors in place that make it utterly impossible to play stupid.
What if, instead of ignoring the fact that it’s time for our annual relationship checkup, we used the opportunity to utilize the pervasive Valentine’s Day marketing as a gentle nudge in the right direction?
Yes, in the same way that my hypnobirthing instructor encouraged me to reframe my perception of “pain” as a more gentle word, such as “pressure,”
I am encouraging you to reclaim February 14th from the Hallmark monster and transform it into a day that is as easy and routine as your yearly car inspection. Not the most alluring comparison, but again, bear with me…
I would like to suggest that on this particular day you evaluate and fine-tune your relationship by using a Four-Point Checklist that I have created for you.
These are the four points to consider:
One of our greatest advantages is that we are all aware that the negative aspects of a situation are more likely to come to light, that our blunders are what we tend to recall, but that overall, things aren’t as chaotic as they may seem.
Your evaluation of your relationship should begin with the components of your partnership that feel good, that provide you with pleasure and maybe even pride in who you are as a couple, and that seem right to you. It’s all there, maybe just beneath the surface, and once you start digging, you could discover that you’ve got a full-fledged excavation going on already.
Approach this assignment with as much compassion as you are capable of mustering, and then summon a little bit more compassion than that. Realize that your significant other is fallible, just as you are, and that the majority of the things he or she does that are driving you nuts are done so unintentionally.
This is a healthy practice, although a frightening one, and making each other aware of what you consider to be holes in your relationship is clearly the only way you can even start to cure them.
Keep in mind all of the amazing characteristics that we have just gone over as you go on through this list.
Maintain a non-accusatory tone as well as an open mind. Last but not least, share your perspective by using expressions such as “I think” or “I feel.” Although it’s laborious, it gets the job done.
Ask yourself, “Do we regularly commit to spending time alone together?”: You have worked hard enough to warrant a yes-or-no inquiry at this point. If you respond “no,” however, you will have some further work to do.
Make a decision RIGHT NOW on when you will separate yourself from everyone else and spend time alone with one another (especially not your kids).
If once a week is unrealistic for the time being, you may settle with once a month. If we continue to use the analogy of a car, then the time that the two of you spend together is analogous to filling up the tank. (And if you do it once a month, you’re getting a lot of mileage out of it.)
Give a Gimme:
This could be the most difficult item on the checklist, but it’s also the one that will give you the greatest instant satisfaction. The concept is that you offer your partner something they’ve been wanting, something that you’ve known for a long that your someone needed to hear but that you’ve been too stubborn to say
. It’s something that you’ve known they wanted to hear but that you’ve been too stubborn to say. This might vary from saying something like “yeah, I ate the last macaroon and then lied about it” to saying something like “I’ve loved you selfishly for the last three years.”
Don’t hold back no matter what level on the “Major Revelation” scale you’re aiming for; just go for it. Take ownership of your sh*t! Accept your share of the burden, and offer your spouse the respite that she or he justly needs.
Keep in mind that a good partner will see your fragility in this time and should not gloat or get furious at your delay in fessing up. They will understand why you waited so long to tell them the truth.
In a perfect world, the advantages of participating in this activity would accrue to both those involved; for example, the feeling of fulfillment that you observe would be paralleled by the sensation of alleviation that you experienced.
I am aware that this concept isn’t quite a middle finger in the face of a typical Valentine’s Day;
nevertheless, it does remove the entire event from the sphere of commercialism and place it in the world of emotions, which is a world that is immensely more significant. You might roll your eyes or give me your best sarcastic jab, but tell me:
when is the last time you took a really honest look at the status of your relationship – together? Even though it’s not the kind of thing most of us do on our own without being encouraged, it’s the kind of thing that can have a good and long-lasting effect on your life and the lives of your family.