Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love and relationships. On the surface it can simply seem a commercialised celebration of romance, with the annual pressure to buy the perfect card and gift to show appreciation for a special partner. However, at a time of year when many of us will have spent the previous month detoxing and revitalising our bodies after Christmas, isn’t it a good opportunity to do the same for our relationships too? To really reflect and invest in having a strong and happy marriage for the coming year, not just for a day?
My top tips for a long-lasting healthy relationship centre around communication. A lack of it in a marriage is quite often the root cause of several factors that ultimately contribute towards that relationship breaking down. These can include feeling lonely and growing apart, or adultery, isolation and extreme behaviours – symptoms that usually stem from a point when a couple stopped investing time in really communicating with each other.
Here are three top tips you might want to consider during the month of February to revitalise your relationship with a partner:
- It’s good to talk
When you think about it, when did you last sit down together and really talk without being interrupted by the kids (or the cat) and distractions such as the TV or mobile phones? When did you last really see each other? If you’re struggling to make conversation because you haven’t spoken properly in some time, there are a number of talk prompts that you can find online to get the conversation started. And it doesn’t have to be out in a restaurant. Just make quiet time to find out something about your partner’s day or that has been on their mind – and practise listening. Try to make time soon to follow up.
- Consider investing in each other, rather than in more ‘stuff’
Instead of buying a designer handbag or a month’s supply of new ties, why not invest in therapy for your relationship? Therapists are great at helping to really process those niggles that become anxieties and can offer helpful techniques to kick-start healthy communication. But don’t leave it until you’re both too hurt or disinterested to try anymore. Refresh how you communicate – and reset.
- Be kind to each other when talking
Respect the fact that you each have valid opinions and that it’s ok to agree to disagree. If you want your discussion to end in any way other than a full-blown argument, don’t set out to hurt or punish your partner. When communicating about things you’re finding difficult in your relationship, stick to the facts and explain how you feel. And don’t make assumptions about the other person’s behaviour or motivations. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about expressing, listening and – ultimately – communicating.
By spending some quality time really considering each other’s needs and prioritising your relationship this Valentine’s, you could work on your communication and strengthen your relationship for years to come. Chocolates, flowers and a sassy card will all help too.