Valentine’s Day brings relationships into the spotlight.
It’s a day set aside for love and romance when it’s customary to make an extra special effort to show your partner how you feel about them. But Valentine’s Day can also exacerbate feelings of resentment and disharmony in a relationship if it is already under strain.
This is because true love and commitment are not something that should be worked on one day each year. Love is a language between two people, and sometimes we forget how to speak it. If you want to connect to your partner, you need to celebrate love every day of the year in a language that they understand.
Celebrating love and relationship can be simple, it doesn’t have to be about lots of flowers, chocolates or fancy meals. You can make your partner feel special and loved, just by learning his or her love language.
A love language is not difficult to learn. It is a way of communicating your love for your partner but not necessarily with the spoken word. It is simply a way of expressing love and commitment to your partner in a way that they understand and feel your love. There are five main love languages.
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
We all have a primary love language and it’s not unusual to have a different one from your partner. Here are some ways to connect with your partner all year round.
Acts of service:
Offer to help out with childcare or chores. For some, nothing dampens the desire for intimacy as much as a dishwasher that needs unpacking. By offering to help with something small, you are showing your partner they don’t have to carry all the responsibility alone, which is how it can feel sometimes.
Do small things for your partner. Small acts of love and kindness can have a big effect. Make your partner a cup of tea, or take him or her coffee in bed. Drop off their dry cleaning for them, or pick up a parcel they haven’t had time to collect. Just showing your partner that you think about them and are willing to help share their tiniest burdens, will improve your relationship immediately.
Words of affirmation:
Send a romantic e-card or something by snail mail. It will only take you a few minutes to search for e-cards online, and to create something special for the person you love. If you know you’re going to be passing a post office, write a note and send it the old fashioned way. It worked for Oscar Wilde.
Leave love notes in unexpected places. Try writing a note and leaving it on the dashboard of their car, in their lunch box, or on the bathroom mirror. It will take you five seconds but the delight when your partner finds it will last all day.
Make a care package with some of their favourite things and send it to their office. Everyone has something they love. It could be cool stationery, getting fresh flowers, or some of their favourite snacks. Whatever it is, you can show your partner that you are thinking about him or her, even if all you do is order their favourite take-out and send it to their office at lunchtime.
Make a coupon book for your partner. This is an excellent thing to do and it doesn’t cost a cent. Make a little book of coupons for things your partner might like to cash in on at a later stage, like a back rub or having you take the garbage out. It’s a great way to connect immediately without having to actually do all the things in the coupon book right then and there. But remember, for this to work, you have to commit to honouring the coupon.
Book a romantic evening. Every now and then it is essential to spoil yourselves in your relationship by taking the time to do something you both enjoy. So whether it is a movie, the theatre, a restaurant, a walk or a spa day, make a point of booking it today.
Take a nap together. This is beneficial in so many ways. Firstly, most people do too much and really need a power nap. Secondly, taking a nap together is a way to spend time together and rest, de-stress, and recharge at the same time. And thirdly, when you wake up from your nap you will feel rested and rejuvenated, and your partner will be right there next to you... feeling the same way... in your bed. Who knows what could happen?
Give your partner a foot massage. The feet are the least pampered part of our bodies so give your partner a foot massage. It will relieve stress and fatigue, resulting in an instantly more relaxed partner. If you don’t feel confident in your ability then take a quick look at YouTube and learn how to give a wonderfully satisfying foot massage.
Hug like you mean it. Hugs are known to have countless physical and emotional benefits so give your partner a real hug. Put your whole body into it and make it count.
In spite of all of the hype around Valentine’s Day, it should be noted if you are not feeling connected to your partner then a big gesture one day a year cannot improve your relationship.
Love is a verb. It is in our daily interactions, in our small but consistent gestures. If you want to reconnect with your partner this Valentine’s Day in a way that will last all year, then you need to identify their love language, and communicate with them in it or a regular basis.
About the author:
Debbi Carberry is a clinical social worker in private practice in Brisbane, where she specialises in relationships transformation. Debbi is the author of a short relationship guide 'Is Your Approach to Relationships Healthy? 7 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself', and the creator of the groundbreaking online course, 'Rewiring your brain for better relationships'.