It’s no secret there is an overwhelming amount of pressure on couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a very ‘cookie cutter’ way. Red roses, candlelight dinner, decadent chocolates and wine…you know the routine. Though you wouldn’t know it based on advertising and social media posts, really very few people make this picturesque vision a reality. The cost of a romantic night may not be in your budget, or the typical scheduling challenges of juggling jobs and kids take precedence. Perhaps you don’t want your efforts to be perceived as cliche. Or, your relationship has been in a tough place and you aren’t certain of your spouse’s expectations or interest. Really, there are countless reasons a couple forgoes celebrating Valentine’s Day the way Hallmark and florists around the world hope they do. And, each of them is valid.
Here’s my take on it – It’s just a day. A single day. 1 out of 365 or just 3% of your year!
Now, taking the time to celebrate and express the love we have for our spouse is always a good thing. Always! But the internal stress and outside pressure that can come with worrying about doing it on a single day in February is stifling. I think it discourages couples from truly celebrating each other all year long, which really is a shame.
So whether you and your spouse choose to go all out for Valentine’s Day, acknowledge it by doing something small, or decide that it’s better to forego it altogether, my challenge to you is to think of it as another day, another chance to show affection and appreciation for your partner. In other words, my challenge to you is to make it a year-long quest!
How do you go about showing love and gratitude to your spouse year-round, you ask?
I love it when I hear about couples who have made a commitment to celebrate their relationship on a monthly basis. I think it’s a fabulous way to create a solid foundation for authentic intimacy with your spouse all year long.
Keep it Simple: It doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant. Romantic gestures can be as simple as leaving a heartfelt note on your spouse’s bedside table or planning for a quiet evening at home with take-out Chinese and a movie after the kids are in bed.
Be True to Who You & Your Partner Are: Give gifts or celebrate your love in a way that is most meaningful to each of you. Knowing your partner’s love language can be especially helpful here. Maybe it’s that heartfelt note. Or, maybe it’s making dinner and cleaning the kitchen so your spouse can have some down time one evening. If you know your wife would prefer a daffodil picked from the front yard over traditional red roses, go with it! It will be appreciated so much more.
Mix it Up: We all fall victim to boredom. I know one couple who counters this by routinely adding to a list of “new things they want to do or try”. It could be a new food, an activity, a game, a city they want to visit, you name it. Think of it as their experience wish list, and this is the list they pull from when planning time together. Trying new things is a great way to keep things interesting.
Make Your Spouse Feels Special: No matter how you choose to celebrate each month, do it with the goal of making your spouse feel loved and without expecting anything in return. I could write an entire blog on just this one thing and what it can do for a marriage.
So whether you officially celebrate Valentine’s day or not, I hope each of you are intentional in finding ways throughout the year to celebrate your spouse and the relationship you are building together.