The Dance of Connection

Rescuing women and men from the quicksand of difficult relationships.

Best Advice For Valentines Day

Four tips (his and hers) for a terrific Valentines Day

You may not like Valentines Day, but go for it anyway.  

The married and coupled up need to grab on to any rituals that remind us to make our partner feel special, valued, and chosen. The natural course of  marriage is downstream toward criticism, disappointment, and blame. Valentines Day is a reminder to paddle  against the current.

Since love really is a verb, do these four things:

1. Give Him a Break--Tell him What You Want. Your partner may be about to blow off Valentines Day --and it‘s important to you to celebrate. Don’t wait until he forgets, as if you’re giving him a test that you’re waiting for him to fail. Give the poor guy a break and remind him now. Tell him what you want, even though you think he should know. (“I want you to make a reservation at our favorite Italian restaurant, and I want a Valentines Day card. And don’t forget—I hate flowers!”) Don’t count on him to have learned from his mistakes from last year.

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2. Stay with the positive. Valentines Day is not the time to bring up your partner’s lack of warmth, interest, and attentiveness, or to compare him unfavorably with your best friend’s romantic husband.If, say, you go to a movie and you’re upset that he doesn’t hold your hand or seem to acknowledge your presence, let it go. When you leave the theater, just talk about the movie. Surprise him with praise, just when he imagines you’re going to hit him with criticism. On this day, no criticism, no nagging, no going over to-do list—even if he or she behaves badly.

 3. Do two specific things to warm your partner’s heart. Choose two things you can take to make your partner feel loved and respected on Valentines Day. No expert in the universe knows what warms your partner’s heart the way you do. It’s deciding in advance what your two things are --and doing them--that’s the hard part.

4. Guys: Think housework not roses. Flowers and chocolate may put her in a romantic mood, but your partner may feel a lot more loving if you notice that the leftovers in the refrigerator need to be tossed, and the baby’s laundry is the dryer should be folded and put away.

P.S. Valentines day is just one day.  Practice these four things all year round!

 

 

 

Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is best known for her work on marriage and family relationships and the psychology of women. Her book The Dance of Anger has recently been reissued.

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