What Valentine's Day is About

The origin of Valentine's Day is somewhat obscure, but is a holiday dating back to the Middle Ages having its connections to early Catholic saints. Some of us have fond memories associated with this now very popular holiday, and others have memories that would like to forget. Regardless, it's a day set to demonstrate love and affection for the ones we adore. While the day is valuable and fun to celebrate for many, all of us could benefit by putting additional effort into the other 364 days of the year!

By focusing on loving your partner on a daily basis, your relationship has a much better chance of being healthy and vibrant. Below is a sampling of what you can do on Valentine's Day – and every day – to show your partner you care. Compliment one another. Take time to make note of the small – and big – things you appreciate about your partner. Too often, we focus on the negative. Take interest in your partner. This means asking about their day and what is important to your significant other even if it does not seem all that important to you! Your partner will feel more cared about and valued. Plan an outing.

This can be a fun and inexpensive way to introduce change and spontaneity into the relationship. A hike? Bicycle ride? Day at the river? A picnic? Skydiving? Give surprises. A great way to show your partner you care and help them feel loved and appreciated is through small but powerful gestures. A note in the lunchbox, notes on the 'fridge, a card for no special reason, flowers, a homemade dinner, a cleaned up house, a candle lit bath, a massage … anything from the heart you think your partner will enjoy ! Dance with your partner. When is the last time you turned the lights down and danced in your own living room? Have a regular date night. Take turns planning a date and make it part of your weekly or bi-weekly routine. Do not let everything else in your schedule during the week take priority over your relationship. Leave with a kiss.

Remember to say "I love you". Having just suggested some proactive ways to positively influence your relationship, here are a few romance-busters to try and avoid at all costs. It's crucial to focus on the positive, but just as important to rid your relationship of the communication and behavioral dynamics that foster distance, resentment, and hurt. Here are a few. Do not blame, criticizeize, defend or shut down in response to your partner. For every one negative comment, it takes an average of ten positive statements to return to status quo. This can add up quickly and a lot of damage can take place in one reckless argument. Do not focus on what you feel your partner did wrong. Instead, verbalize what you feel and what you want from them. More often than not, an individual makes the issue about the other person (which will certainly start a debate or conflict) but a more effective approach is to focus on your feelings – they are much harder to argument with!

For example, instead of saying, "why are you late? You're always late! Now you've messed up the night!" Say something along the lines of, "I'm really frustrated and disappointed because you're late. Do not debate when angry. When you do not know your limits related to anger, you will often stay in a situation too long and say things you regret later and hurt your partner. Talk about what a time-out will look like for the two of you (removing yourself from the discussion and situation when you are getting too upset) and utilize it as you discussed. Using the above suggestions will not necessarily guard your relationship from all discord and conflict, but it can make a good relationship better and a struggling one stand a much better chance. So, greet your partner this Valentine's Day with a special surprise up your sleeve and try and take the time to treat them with the same loving care the whole year through!

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