Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, you may already be taking your partner and your relationship for granted. Unless there is a special occasion, we tend not to express our appreciation for our partners and what they mean to us. This year, you may want to behave differently, and make every day—or at least more days!—Valentine’s Day. And we don’t need to rely on Hallmark cards or tweets to do it for us. Expressions of acknowledgment have been shown to be even more important to people in relationship than expressions of love. We tend to be very stingy with giving them, however, even though they are cheaper than a card!
Sharing our appreciation and commitment to our relationship is most powerful when communicated every day. Not only that, when we support our own couple, we also enrich the lives of those around us. These words of unknown authorship, express the sentiment of keeping Valentine’s Day alive so beautifully:
“May our home always be in each other’s hearts, and not just a place of sticks and stones. May its hearth, in peace and freedom, always support a welcome fire; where may be fostered the repeated re-dedication of our belief in the necessity to preserve and extend the good in all human lives which become tangent to our own.”
-- from the archives of Edgar Cayce, Creed for Marriage
This sentiment is aptly demonstrated by the Contest Couple, Elizabeth and Brian, that we have been coaching and following on this blog over the last several months. Those of you who have been following along with their progress may be wondering how it all turned out. We are pleased to let you all know that they have successfully completed all the assignments and are thriving in their couple and family life. In their own words, “It was an amazing experience that helped us save our marriage. We are so grateful for this opportunity.
We appreciate your time and efforts. We are doing well and have been working really hard as a couple to get back on track. We seem to be working more toward the same goals and working together. Your program has been an amazing experience and opportunity. Thank you!!!! We would love to be a part of couples coaching couples.”
What they are referring to is Couples Coaching Couples (CCC), a non-profit organization that supports couples all over the country in maintaining fulfilling relationships through peer coaching. Please go to the website (www.couplescoachingcouples.org) for more information about this supportive organization.
As part of their contest winnings, Elizabeth and Brian received a one-year’s scholarship to CCC. As cofounders and life-members of CCC, we are delighted to have them join us. We hope that you, too, will look into it and other community organizations and support systems, because they are essential to the maintenance of Couple. It truly does “take a village” not just to raise a child but also to support a couple. Look into your neighborhood, your church, the schools, and other activities your children attend. You may find some already existing support groups, or you can reach out and create connections of your own. If you try to go it alone, you may find the journey of couple very stressful and frustrating:
“Without the pop-in, without the vibrant presence of neighbors, without life in the cul-de-sacs and the streets, the pressure reverts back to the nuclear family—and more specifically, to the marriage or partnership—to provide what friends, neighbors, and other families once did: games, diversions, imaginative play.”
---- Jennifer Senior, All Joy and No Fun (2014):
This kind of support is what we talked about in our earlier blog about the fourth community. Like coming home, as the quote from the Creed of Marriage above points out, a community can be a place to relax without fear of being judged. Of the Four C’s of Couple Power that we describe in our book, Lifelong Love (2013), community is the most exciting for us: “It encompasses the possibility of a worldwide change in how relationships are supported. It is people helping other people and couples being committed to other couples that will ultimately break down the many barriers that keep people from committing, cooperating, and communicating as couples. The power of friendship and mutuality reduces fear and increases our feelings of harmony, our sense of possibility and our humanity” (p. 167). It helps us keep Valentine’s Day alive throughout the year. Happy Valentine’s Every Dayl!!
Phyllis and Peter