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This Valentine's Day, Let's Get It Right!

The One Simple Mistake We Make When Expressing Our Love

It's getting to be that romantic time of year when drug store shelves are rife with pink and red boxes of chocolates that taste like brown wax. Have you thought about how you'll be expressing your love this year?

Last year around this time, I decided I'd do Valentine's Day right. No flowers that quickly die. No brown wax. Just a good old-fashioned love letter. But with a slight twist...

(reposted from Psychology Today 2/9/12)

Here's a brief conversation my partner and I had last night in the car:

(my partner): "Once in a while a co-worker or friend will ask me what I like about you and I always know what to say. But I realized I never ask you what you like about me. "

B (me): "Never mind. Pay attention to the road."

Actually, I didn't say that. I said something to the effect of how we have told each other those things before, we just haven't had that actual conversation in a while. But come to think of it, it's been a long while. Don't get me wrong, we express gratitude and appreciation for each other in little ways; but to sit down and answer that exact question—well, I guess we've been busy?

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So, today I wrote him a letter answering that very question. I could have told him in person but I wanted him to have tangible evidence next time he corners me like that again! But seriously, I think it's nice to have something to look back at. We all deserve sincere appreciation and time tends to fly by when things go unsaid. With a letter, we can articulate kindnesses that can lift a person whenever they need it.

When I sat down to write my letter, the usual phrases came to mind like "You make me laugh" and "You know me better than anyone else." But what struck me as wrong with those phrases was that I was the center of attention. There was too much ME. So, my rule for the letter was that I couldn't use the words me or I outside of the title, "Why I Love You."

With this one simple rule, the letter expresses why you love someone for who they are rather than what they do for you. Write about his admirable qualities. Make her feel like she's the most special person on Earth by virtue of having been born- not just because of all the things she's done to make your life nicer.

Ready to write your Valentine's Day letter? You can write it to anybody in your life, you certainly don't have to be in a romantic relationship on Valentine's Day to express love. Want to take it up a notch? Deliver it in person and read it out loud. Or tape it to the top of one of those boxes of waxy chocolates.

 

If you'd like to read more about expressing appreciation in relationships, read my post: "You Like Me? You Really Like Me? Then Why Didn't You Tell Me Sooner?!

Or, go behind the scenes with a sex therapist.

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Brad Waters MSW, LCSW provides career-life coaching and consultation to clients internationally via phone and Skype. He helps people explore career direction and take action on career transitions. Brad holds a Master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan and Master's certification in Holistic Health Care from Western Michigan University. Brad is also a personal development writer whose books are available on Amazon and BradWatersMSW.com

Copyright, 2013 Brad Waters. This article may not be reproduced or published without permission from the author. If you share it, please give author credit and do not remove embedded links.

Brad Waters, L.C.S.W. is a career and well-being expert based in Chicago. He is also a freelance writer with a background in social work and holistic health care.

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