How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Disappointment This Year

valentine's day disappointment - how to avoid it

Let me be frank: this upcoming Valentine’s Day may not live up to your expectations.

It rarely ever does.

But what if I told you it could be different?

While a romantic evening with an attentive partner, a wonderful babysitter for the kids, and an endless budget for a gourmet meal might be ideal, Valentine’s Day doesn’t always pan out that way.

Instead of being let down by what might have been, I’d like to challenge each of us to take this Hallmark holiday and turn it into a positive experience, no matter who participates.

Use Valentine’s Day to practice self care.

What makes you tick? Is it time alone reading a book, coffee with friends, or hiking a trail? Pick something that fills you up, and go do it.

I’ve been reading the book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, recently, and it really has me thinking. Ultimately, this book studies the importance of play, and how it’s vital to our adult lives to participate in leisurely activities.

This book asks the question, “What did you love to do as a child?” Think about it for a few minutes. For me it was being the explorer. I loved to ride my bike to a wooded area behind our house and find a secret cave or a quiet place to hang out. It was thrilling. As an adult, that sense of adventure has translated into travelling to exotic locations and experiencing the local cultures.

Children need to play almost as much as they need food and air. It is crucial to their psychological development. Adults tend to think of play time as wasted time. Life is so busy! Who has time to play? But research has shown that when adults play they are more productive, happier and fulfilled in their lives. I believe it is just as important for adults to play as it is for children.
In Play, the author uses the story of Lauren to illustrate his point. Lauren had a successful career, great kids, and a good relationship with her husband. But after a while, her commitments got dull and life became a bore. Instead of running away from her problems, Lauren studied herself. She remembered that as a child, she used to ride horses, so she sought a way to make that part of her life again.

Once a week, Lauren began riding horses at a local barn. And suddenly, the most surprising thing happened: she felt complete and whole in other areas of her life again.

I’m not saying that horseback riding will fix all of your problems, but the point is that Lauren got back to something she enjoyed as a child. Perhaps for you, it’s joining a gym and swimming laps, baking a new dessert, or painting a canvas. See if you can find time in your life to play. Research, and my own experience, shows that finding time to play is an effective way to balance your life.

Some of you are in unhappy marital situations and Valentine’s Day is a dreaded experience. I suggest putting a different spin on things. Use the day that is supposed to celebrate romantic love as a day to celebrate self love. Figure out what would feed your soul and then plan something special for YOU!

If “playing” is not in the cards this Sunday, then here are a couple of other ideas that can keep you from wallowing in self pity.

Spend time with someone who’s lonely on Valentine’s Day.

Maybe you’re lonely, too? Consider making an effort to reach out to someone, and you might be surprised at the lightness of heart it creates in your own life.

Use Valentine’s Day as time to spend it with your kids.

I realize this might not be the most romantic idea for Valentine’s Day, but it’s time spent with people you love, which is generally uplifting.

Plan a date night with yourself for Valentine’s Day.

Call your favorite restaurant and order all your favorite things to be picked up. Don’t forget dessert! Bring your delicious treats home and watch a movie on Netflix or dive into a great read.

If you can’t get past the idea that you’re not spending Valentine’s Day with the person you love, let me give you a tip: Most of the misery that comes out of life comes from how we think about things. It isn’t what happens to us that makes us lonely, miserable or afraid. It’s how we think about what happens to us.

You have the power to choose whether February 14th is a day that makes you sad, or a day that brings you some joy.

It just depends on how you think about it.

It really is that simple.

I hope you choose joy!

By the way, joy is very attractive and finding yours may very well change how you celebrate next year. 🙂

If you’d like help working through difficult emotions or relationship issues, please reach out to us today. We work with many spouses alone when their husband or wife refuses to come to counseling. Many times, even one person willing to make a change can have an impact on a marriage. Make an appointment online, or call us at 972.441.4432.

 

January is Divorce Season. Don’t Get Caught By Surprise

January is Divorce Season. Let's change that this year. Get help from Engage With Love

January is divorce season. I know this is a harsh reality.  Right now, this is the time of year when most people are thinking of the upcoming holiday menus, shopping lists and time with family.

But for my practice, it is the calm before the storm. January is our busiest time of year.

January is divorce season.

Some of you reading this know your marriage is ending.

You and/or your spouse are simply waiting for the holidays to end before announcing the separation or filing for divorce.

You don’t want to ruin Christmas for those you love.

But some of you are going to get a devastating surprise.

Your spouse is planning to leave and he/she hasn’t even told you yet.

But when the holidays are over and the kids are back in school, you will get the news that your marriage is over.

You are the couple I want to talk to.

If you are the spouse who is simply waiting to break the news, please consider an alternative.

This is a huge decision you are making.

I get it.

I have met hundreds of people in your situation.

At one time, I WAS you.

I didn’t want to try again.

I didn’t want to go to counseling one more time.

I didn’t believe he could change even if he wanted to.

But circumstances forced me to try something new, and I’m so glad I did.

Your spouse may not want to change.  It is even possible they cannot change.

But before you call a lawyer, put the marriage on hold.

Tell your partner you will no longer pretend as if all is fine.

No more intimacy.

No more family dinners.

No more sleeping in the same room…

until you both go to counseling.  Then mean it.

Stop justifying the divorce with the belief you shouldn’t have to go to this extreme for your partner to change.

I’m telling you…it is often necessary to get your partner’s attention.  Because you have trained him/her for a long time that while the behavior or attitude is unpleasant, maybe even miserable it is still tolerable.

Change is hard, and we all often skid by on tolerable from ourselves and others.  After all, you have accepted tolerable for a long time too.

And don’t cop out with the idea that it won’t matter what changes you make or limits you set because your spouse won’t change.  Your spouse deserves the opportunity to get it.  YOU deserve the opportunity but more than anyone, your family deserves the last ditch effort.

If you are the spouse who is about to be surprised with news of divorce, I really need to get your attention now.

After all, you don’t know it’s coming.  But you have seen signs.

You know somewhere in your wisest self that your partner isn’t happy.

Maybe he/she hasn’t complained in a long time, but that doesn’t mean you are safe.

It could very well mean they have given up trying.

If you aren’t certain  your partner is happy in the marriage, your relationship could be in trouble.  Do something about it now.

Stop putting  your head in the sand and hoping this will go away.

It will not go away.

Your spouse will get more and more distant as time goes on.

Every day resentment builds, and passion and trust erode until there is nothing left.

I fear this is falling on deaf ears.  I hear you when you come in and tell me you wish you had paid more attention.

I have watched you sit in anguish as your spouse explains that it really is over and you beg for another chance.

Do something NOW.

Instead of being surprised with divorce papers, YOU be the one to surprise your partner and let him/her know you want to see a marriage counselor or coach.  This one action alone could be enough to cause your partner to stall the divorce  and wait and see.

If your spouse won’t come with you, it is another sign.  Come alone.  We can help you!

I would love to see January come and go without divorce lawyers celebrating the boom in business.

There is so much more you can do before taking that final step.  You just have to be willing to do something different!

Stop staying silent, complaining without action or ignoring the problem.

Put a light on this and deal with it.

Your extended family, your kids and your future generations will thank you.

Reach out to us here if you want our help.  This situation is our specialty.  Let our experts guide you into a more hopeful New Year for your marriage.