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.

 

We Got You Covered on Valentine’s Day

It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is only 4 days away.  Are you ready for it?  Did you already buy some chocolate or have you ordered the flowers yet?  What about dinner reservations, did you do that?  Bought a card?  Unfortunately there is a lot of pressure on all of us to make this day special.  For me, I have gone all out on some years and others have passed with no notice.  Life gets busy and to be brutally honest, some years it has seemed more of a burden than a blessing.  If you have fallen short of ideas for showing your loved one you have put an effort into expressing your love, check out www.debrands.com.  Order the truffles and you will thank me later.  I promise!  These chocolates are nothing short of amazing.  Go ahead…order your chocolate and put in a rush delivery if necessary. They are soooo worth it.  Then come back and lets talk about love languages.  Because they are important.  Really, really important…in a “save your marriage kind of way” important.  But you have to order your chocolate first…so go!

Ok…so now that we have the BIG DAY taken care of….how wonderful would it be if you and your spouse felt loved and appreciated every day?  Is that even possible?  It is if you know each other’s love language.

There are different types of love languages just as there are different types of written languages. The idea of love languages was pioneered by Dr. Gary Chapman.  Through his extensive research, he discovered there are 5 main love languages and everyone may resonate with most of them but we usually have one or two he considers primary…meaning we feel most connected or loved by someone when they speak to us in that language.  This is such a powerful resource; I usually request all of my clients to figure out which is their primary language and which is their partner’s.

Here are the 5 love languages:

1)     Quality Time – Watching the Super Bowl together doesn’t count. This is not just time, but quality time.  This includes having meaningful discussions and an emotional connection.

2)     Acts of Service – Ever heard foreplay begins in the kitchen?  Or anyplace else you show your spouse you want to make their life easier…like washing the dishes, putting away the clothes, or taking out the trash.

3)     Physical Touch – Don’t get too excited!  This can be non-sexual touch as well.  In fact, for women, you can bet the non-sexual touch is way more impactful than sexual touch.  Have faith in me.  I know these things.

4)     Words of Affirmation –Positive words of encouragement and validation.  Who doesn’t like to hear how wonderful they are?

5)     Gifts – Presents that can be as large as a new car or as small as a cup of Starbucks. How much you spend isn’t as important as the time and effort you spend in choosing the right gift. Knowing your spouse is thinking of you and going out of their way to show you is nothing short of sexy.  Make sure the gift is for your spouse and not for you.  In case I have to spell it out….men, don’t buy your wife lingerie unless you know she wants it. Women, buying yourself sexy lingerie almost always counts as a thoughtful gift for your husband.

So why does it matter if you know your spouse’s love language?  We have a tendency to give love in the same we want to receive it.  Which is why men buy their wives sexy lingerie!  But oftentimes, our best intentions miss the mark and this can cause hurt feelings or worse, emotional disconnect.

My husband’s love language is acts of service.  Mine happens to be gifts.  For years, my husband would cook dinner for me and then clean up the kitchen without being asked.  He did this to show me he loved me, but I would often tell him he wasn’t romantic because he never sent me flowers or bought me cards. On the other hand, I would be out shopping and find things I thought he would love.  One day I came home with a couple of shirts and he didn’t seem very excited about having new clothes.  I didn’t understand this because I have impeccable taste in men’s clothes.  Really.  I do.  Just like chocolate!  My husband finally told me one day he preferred to do his own shopping.  I remember the comment hurt my feelings.  In fact, I kind of wanted to return everything I ever bought him so he would have to go to work in his underwear.  But thankfully, I was more mature than that.  I just returned the shirts and bought paper plates instead.  I hate doing the dishes! My husband and I were both showing our love for the other but not in the language we understood best. It can cause frustration and hurt feelings if you put yourself out there and your partner doesn’t recognize your bid for their attention.

Do you know what your love language is?  If not, take this simple test to find out and have your partner take it as well. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Now you have a road map for showing your spouse how you feel about them in a language they understand.  Once you have this figured out, your spouse will feel loved and appreciated – every day of the year – not just on Valentine’s Day!

BTW…If you find out your spouse doesn’t appreciate gifts…send me your truffles!  I will surely love you forever!

If you want to know more about how to make your partner feel loved, call us at 972-441-4432.  At Engage With Love and Power of Two, we have more ideas that will keep your love strong