Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BE My Valentine

by Joyce Geddie, M.A., R.N., LAPC

What are the secrets to keeping romance and love alive in a relationship? If you are a man, do you secretly dread the annual upcoming Valentine’s Day? How can I let my wife know I love her and not feel like I have missed the mark yet another year? That’s right guys, there aren’t any points for last year’s romantic gesture. And you women may be thinking, am I going to have to remind him again this year that it is Valentine’s Day? Will I once again be disappointed because his efforts seem forced or contrived? My question to the women is, how have you shown that you respect and value him, even if he doesn’t get it right every time?

The truth is romance in relationships serves to protect, restore, and renew relationships. The surprise is both men and women long for the romantic feelings, both yearn to be desired and sought after by their mate. We all want our spouse or partner to be our soul mate, not our cell mate. So where does romance get off track and how can we begin to get the train out of the station?

I will offer some tips and secret ingredients of romance, but the real effort has to come from your heart or your spouse will suspect you are insincere. Even if you feel a little insincere, it is still worth the effort to fake it till you make it. So here is my list of "BE's" so you can Be a good valentine…
  • Be Proactive. Attempt to meet an unmet need of your spouse before they ask. At this point in your relationship it may take some real thought and effort to understand what excites your spouse or partner, but you can do it. Do you recall what an expert you were on your partner’s need when you were first dating? You probably studied her/him in order to please them. What kind of things did you do when you first feel in love? If you really don’t know what unmet needs your mate has, recall the things you did early in your relationship and do them again. Here’s a hint for men…if you vacuum the house she may have a surprise for you later. 
  • Be Appreciative. Communicate to your spouse their unique value. Everyone likes to be appreciated and encouraged in their efforts, even if your spouse hasn’t lived up to your expectations.
  • Be Available and Attentive. Spend quality time connecting with your spouse. Hang out together and really listen to them with interest. If your partner is vulnerable enough to show you their inner world, treat it like the treasure it is.
  • Be Self-Sacrificing. Try to forget the balance sheet you keep in your head of who gives more in this relationship. Award them with the unconditional love that you probably gave them early in your relationship. Your partner may need what is most difficult for you to give; hence, the words “self-sacrificing”. Self-centered behaviors aren’t very attractive in relationships and certainly don’t communicate romance. Speak love in their language. Women like to talk about their feelings, and want to know you care about them. Men may want to talk about football, their work goals or may enjoy having you notice a project they are working on. 
  • Be Intentional. Intentionality requires thought and planning. Making a planned dinner reservation or preparing a homemade meal speaks romance louder than getting a last minute burger because the restaurants are full. Consider leaving a little love note some place they are sure to find it. Find that card that makes her swoon when she reads it, or the card that makes him feel admired and makes him puff up his chest a little bigger.
  • Be Trustworthy. Speak the truth in love, without using hurtful words or contempt. Sometimes we tell little white lies to avoid hurting someone’s feelings when the truth may be a better option. Unfortunately, little white lies can eventually erode feelings of trust and security in a relationship. (However, it is still okay to say that dress doesn’t make her look fat...) Honesty and transparency build intimacy when there is mutual sharing and trust. Guys, this isn’t the night to work late unless you’ve decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day another time. Try to do what you say you will do.  
So in conclusion, be thankful for this person in your life and for the opportunity to show them what they mean to you this Valentine’s Day.