Being romantic on Valentine’s Day can be easy. Men are encouraged to buy flowers and we are tempted by expensive heart shaped boxes of chocolates. Putting your feelings into words with heartfelt Valentine’s cards is the order of the day. It’s hard not to develop a bit of glow with these tangible reminders of your beloved’s devotion.
But what about day to day – you know, when the washing machine is broken again, the kids are playing up and work hours are long and exhausting? How can you keep the romance alive when life seems to be hurtling past at a rate of knots, dragging you and your partner along behind it? It can be hard but with a little effort, it’s definitely not impossible.
Here are some tried and true tips – for both men and women – to help keep Valentine’s Day in your marriage all year long.
Always give heartfelt farewells and welcomes
Make your partner feel like you are sad to see them go and happy to see them come home. Don’t just shout a hurried goodbye and rush out the door. Be sure to seek your partner out and give them a kiss and a hug before leaving. Try to make the last thing you say before your partner goes out be, “I love you”. Equally, when your partner returns home greet them and give them a hug and kiss hello.
Public displays of affection should be encouraged. A simple kiss and hug in public are perfectly acceptable. Hold hands. Let your kids – and the rest of the world – see that you love one another.
Really listen to your partner when they speak. If you are doing something else, stop – or if you really can’t ask them to please give you a second. Then give them your full attention. There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve just said “Yeah, sure honey” and not being able to remember what you’ve just agreed to, except perhaps having to repeat something you’ve already shared for the umpteenth time and feeling like you are just not being heard.
Life is too short to take everything seriously. Try to keep the atmosphere light and laugh at one another’s jokes. Look for the funny in stressful situations – it can be hard but even battlefield humour is better than none at all.
You are both on the same team
Remember this, particularly when times get tough. Always present a united front to others, especially your kids. Kids – and even some adults – are specialists at “divide and conquer” and when decisions are involved, a house divided will fall.
Praise your partner around others
If you have a bone to pick with your partner, pick it with them, not your friends or relations. Never, ever use social media to air your grievances. Discuss the things that drive you crazy about each other and try to work out manageable solutions or at the worst, agree to disagree. Never tear your partner down behind their back no matter how cross you may be.
Say thank you
Even if they are just doing something that you have both agreed is ‘their job’, make a point of saying thank you from time to time. Praise your partner for a job well done, whether its cooking dinner or taking the kids out for a while so you can get some peace. Making each other feel appreciated can really benefit your relationship.
Spend time together
Make time together an absolute priority. While time with friends is important, it’s your relationship that needs nurturing more than anything else. Don’t choose your time with your friends over time with your partner. Try to organise a monthly ‘date night’ just the two of you – and agree not to discuss your kids or stressful household situations. This is harder than it sounds, but well worth it!
Remember the only person you can change is you
Just because you say thank you, listen and praise your partner doesn’t mean they will necessarily return the favour. However it can be counter-productive to try to change someone as we are stubborn creatures by nature. Lead by example and you may find your partner gently moves their behaviour in line with yours. If not, even the small changes you make can be a real benefit to the atmosphere in your home and help you keep Valentine’s Day in your marriage all year.
Shared with Motivation Monday