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Valentine’s Day: Hallmark Holiday or Opportunity?

couple on bench unhappyOn the radio today I heard a DJ talk about Valentine’s Day and how he has been with his wife for so long he didn’t really do much of anything for the day. He said maybe he would pick up a bottle of wine and they could watch House of Cards on Netflix. Now as much as I love House of Cards I have to tell this man he is a fool. Yes I know it is just a day and the more cynical among us might say it is just a day for Hallmark and flowers companies to make money. But it is also an opportunity. It is an opportunity to tell and show the people you care about how much you love them.

Why is that we take our loved ones for granted?

Why do we say things like “Oh he knows how I feel about him. I don’t need to say it. He doesn’t need a card.” Hopefully your loved one does know how you feel how you feel but is it ever a bad thing to let someone hear it? Do you ever get tired of your boss giving you good feedback? Can you have too many As on a report card? It doesn’t take that long to sit down and write a card saying what you love or how thankful you are to have your loved one in your life.
I have a friend who recently lost his mother. On more than one day on Facebook he has written to implore his friends to take a moment to call their mothers. It has been a good reminder about the impermanence and importance of relationships.

Relationship expert John Gottman has frequently written about the importance of rituals in family life. Small rituals like hugging when you say good-bye or come home can be important. And celebrating holidays can be another ritual worth establishing. Now that doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive gifts or get obligatory flowers. Take some time to be creative or to do something that is meaningful to your partner. But yes step it up, make the effort make someone you love feel special and that you have given them as much thought as you would give your job or your fantasy football picks.
And it doesn’t just have to be your partner. Teach your children the importance of expressing love. Don’t tell them they don’t need to worry about you for Valentine’s Day. Let them make cards or make breakfast for a parent or whatever they are capable of doing. And make sure both parents get a card for the kids, not just one parent signing a card for both.

The good news is it is never too late.

If you blew it this Valentine’s Day celebrate tomorrow or Sunday. Any day can be the day to start appreciating your partner more. John Gottman also says the ratio of positive to negative comments we make to our partner should be 5 to 1. Use this holiday as a chance to check yourself and rebalance if you need to. And start to see holidays like Valentine’s Day and birthdays as opportunities to nurture your relationships. They deserve it.

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