The cards are aplenty in every store.
Orders for roses are flying through the roof.
And the prettiest chocolates will be gone from the shelves before you can blink.
I love celebrating Valentine’s Day.
I love any excuse to celebrate anything, really. But who doesn’t love receiving a bunch of flowers and a beautifully written card from their spouse?
I think Valentine’s Day provides each and every one of us with the opportunity to do something thoughtful for our partner, but there’s many more special things than getting flowers and chocolates.
And there’s no reason why spoiling our loved one should be limited to this one dedicated day of the year.
What’s something different I can do for my partner this Valentine’s Day?
While physical gifts are nice, they don’t tend to last very long (at least for me, I know chocolates won’t survive the night).
Something like going out for dinner, or having a special dinner at home can be a more special gift, because it gives the gift of presence. Spending quality time with one another is a key element of a strong relationship, and it allows for you both to really connect with each other.
Putting technology away and really focusing on your partner during this time together is also important – it shows them that they really matter to you, and that you’re committed to truly listening and being present with them.
Maybe dinner isn’t your thing though – you could start a puzzle together, play a board game, go for a day trip, or even do some gardening – but no matter what you choose, what’s important is that you spend some quality time with one another.
What can I do that’s special for my partner all year round?
One of Relationship Educators at CatholicCare, Mary Brown, says that building rituals into your day can be something that’s really special in your relationship.
‘Rituals provide a predictable space for couples to set aside time to pay attention to one another and spend some quality time together,’ says Mary. ‘Rituals are REPEATED and COORDINATED, and must be SIGNIFICANT to both individuals in the relationship.’
Some examples of rituals are having dinner together; going out on a date night; sharing what you have coming up in the day; reconnecting after your day and debriefing; having a special/specific way you celebrate birthdays or other occasions; how you greet each other in the morning and say goodnight; taking time out for holidays; taking turns in choosing a movie to watch; and making a time each day to pay attention to one another (technology free, of course).
‘These rituals should be fun, and shouldn’t feel like a chore or a burden. One particular couple, who had been married for 60 years and participated in a marriage workshop with us at CatholicCare, said that every morning for the last 55 years the husband would bring his wife a cup of tea in the morning. This is an example of a simple but effective ritual, and one that is significant to both individuals,’ explained Mary.
Another special thing you can do is to be involved in your partner’s interests, and be curious about their life. Watch a movie that your partner is interested in; ask about their work day and how it made them feel; discuss or be attentive to a topic that your partner is invested in.
‘It’s not about the big things,’ says Mary. ‘Little things often is the way to strengthen a relationship. That big bunch of flowers and a mountain of chocolate won’t do a thing if you’re not connecting with your partner and giving them attention on a daily basis.’
So this Valentine’s Day, maybe you can give your partner a gift that lasts a lifetime?
Liz Gellel – Communications Coordinator