American Counseling Association
You may be someone who loves Valentine’s Day, is totally indifferent to it, or hates what an over-commercialized holiday it is, but regardless, it’s still a good opportunity to think about the romantic relationships in which we’re involved.
This doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy big boxes of chocolates or giant bunches of flowers, but it can be a good chance to examine your relationship and evaluate ways that you could make it better.
Romantic relationships are delicate things that need constant care and attention to survive, mainly because we, like our relationships, tend to change over time.
An initial phase for most serious romantic relationships is simply being head over heels in love. Your partner is a wonderful person and you want to do as much as you can to make him or her happy.
But as time goes on, that desire and those feelings tend to lessen. It’s not that you aren’t still in love and interested in making that special person happy, but as months or years go by it’s not unusual that we become more used to the relationship. We may forget that we need to pay attention to keeping the romance alive. It’s often noted that most failed relationships don’t explode but simply fade over time as the romance disappears and one or both partners begin to feel neglected or unimportant.
A first step in reviving the romance is simply to show your partner that you’re still paying attention. Remember important days, like that birthday and anniversary, maybe even the anniversary of your first date or a special vacation you took together. Just a simple card or small gift on such occasions, or going to a favorite restaurant, can mean a lot, even if you need your cell phone calendar to remind you.
It’s also important to make time for your partner. Perhaps you want to schedule a weekly “date night.” Maybe it means setting aside 30 minutes each day to share thoughts, discuss feelings and make future plans. Making time to communicate is always a strong way to improve a relationship.
Valentine’s Day may get all the publicity for being that special day for love, but building and maintaining a strong, active relationship is more than a one-day-a-year project. Put some effort into keeping your romance alive and you’ll find it will pay real rewards.
Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send questions to acacorner @counseling.org or visit http://www.counseling.org.