VALENTINE'S DAY ALL YEAR AROUND
By Donald A. Price, Ph.D. & Linda M. Price, Ph.D.
Is it possible to make everyday life more like Valentine's Day? The essence of Valentine's day is to make someone feel special. There are some things that you can do to help your partner and your relationship feel more special everyday.
We fall in love with someone when we find them or their patterns of behaviors attractive. Each person has both conscious and unconscious needs or wants or standards that determine what s/he finds attractive in another person. Examples of this are looks, intelligence, emotional closeness, humor, etc. When you find yourself in the presence of such a person you feel this attraction in many ways. You are excited, turned on, interested, hopeful, inspired. This is because many of your needs are being met. What most people do not realize is that they are doing some things that evoke and facilitate this attractive complex of behaviors in their loved one. They are, indeed, contributing to that person being and acting attractive. So the question to ask yourself is this: are you still doing the things that helped to draw out the behaviors that attracted you to your partner early in the relationship? Think back to the beginning of your relationship and see if you can identify these. Are you still doing them? If not, consider starting them again or trying new ones.
For a relationship to be healthy and lasting, a person must feel appreciated. Do you know what makes your partner feel appreciated? Most of us do things to express our appreciation, but what we do may not be what makes our partner feel appreciated. For example, you may work hard to bring home the bacon as a way to express your appreciation. However, a special note, or a compliment or cleaning up the clothes you drop may be what makes your partner feel appreciated. If you don't know what makes your mate really feel special, then ask. We find that many people don't know. There may also be some things that your partner definitely does not appreciate. Are you making an effort to avoid these things? To get more ideas pick up a copy of The Five Love Languages by Chapman (see book reviews on this web). His concepts overlap with appreciation. He discuses 5 categories of behaviors that can mean "You love me." These preferential behaviors may be different for each partner. If you are committed you make great efforts to carry out your partners "love language." See Chapman's website: 5 Love Languages
As Leslie Cameron-Bandler states in her book Solutions, if both parties are doing their part in each of the two dimensions of attraction and appreciation, then they experience their relationship as comfortable or familiar. "We fall in love in a flurry of intensity, glow with appreciation, and become comfortable and secure with familiarity and dependability."
In summary, to generate a constant state of specialness in your relationship, both partners need to gently and lovingly elicit the attractive and fulfilling behaviors that you desire from your partner and relationship, and develop those behaviors in yourself that leave your partner feeling appreciated and special in your life.