Archive for Valentines Day

Valentines Day Every Day

Most couples dread certain days in the year. New year’s eve, Christmas with the in-laws, etc. But nothing causes more anxiety than February 14th. The hype and expectations Valentine’s day demands doesn’t always equate to a couple’s expectations and, more often that not, the day ends in disappointment, arguments and often, tears.

Valentines Day comes with a heavy burden attached. It tells couples that if the flowers or chocolates are forgotten (or not posh enough) they are not loved. Comparisons are often made with other friend’s relationships, and judgments are thrown at one another as barbed as one of Eros’ arrows.

Learning to be loving and thoughtful on a daily basis give couples the connection that translates into love. As Dr. Sue Johnson says in her book “Hold me Tight”, ‘learning to be open, attuned and responsive to each other enables a close emotional connection.’ Couples are able to feel loved and cared for, even when their partner gives them dyed purple carnations, or a two-for-one voucher for Pizza Express on Valentines Day.
Forget the big gestures. Studies confirm the best way to show someone your love is far simpler than that.

The way we learn to feel loved comes from what we experienced growing up, how we felt loved (or not) in our own families. So it’s not surprising that we all experience feeling loved in different ways. With some, feeling loved means action: tea in bed, fixing the shower or cooking a special meal. For others, it might mean words: taking an interest in your partner’s day and then really listening. It could also simply mean saying thank you, or I love you.

Dr Sue Johnson believes couples need regular bonding rituals of meeting and separation or key times of belonging. These are deliberately structured moments that foster ongoing connections. They can sometimes feel a bit contrived, but it will help remind couples to stay connected.

1. Regularly holding, hugging and kissing on waking and going to sleep, leaving home and returning.
2. Writing letters, or leaving short notes for one another, especially when one is going away.
3. Calling or ‘checking in’ with one another to ask after one another.
4. Creating a personal sharing ritual. It could be dinner together or a daily walk after dinner.
5. Arranging a regular time to spend time together, also called “Date Night”.
6. Taking a class or learning something new together.
7. Remembering special dates such as birthdays or anniversaries.
8. Acknowledging your partner’s struggles and commenting on them. “I’ve noticed how hard you’ve been working; it’s inspiring.”
9. Publicly recognise your partners and your relationship, the affirmation lets them know you’re connected and appreciate them.

Valentines Day is a day to remember why a couple chose one another and what it was that attracted them to each other in the first place. The question helps couples remember the original feelings they had and helps underpins the relationship even when there are issues that keep a couple drifting apart. Feeling loved by one another helps to cement and underpin the relationship. These feelings are worth their weight in Valentines cards.

Shirlee Kay

Valentine’s Day

The unthinkable has happened. The Independent, launched with such high hopes 30 years ago, will close its printed edition at the end of next month. I can remember the excitement and optimism that surrounded its launch, with circulation rising after three years to 421,000. More recently that has shrunk to less than 30,000 copies sold each day.

But like the story of some relationships, what has transpired did not happen suddenly. Rather like those niggly waves that nibble away at the back of a sandcastle leading to its final demise, so a gradual downhill path – whether for a newspaper or a relationship – can signal the destruction of even the most hoped for partnership.

Valentine’s Day is upon us – with all the hype and commercialisation that goes with that. For some couples particularly at the start of a relationship, it can be a time of excitement and the anticipation of good things to come. But for others it has something of a hollow ring to it.

Of course relationships change. Hopefully they deepen and mature but they inevitably lose some of that initial sense of excitement and passion as partners get to know each other better than they did in those early years. But how sad it is when couples stop trying to make each other feel special and all the sparkle and great hopes of five, ten or even thirty years ago fade away. Valentine’s Day can then leave people with a sense of being let down when life has not turned out as they would have hoped and planned.

At Coupleworks we do not know how to run a national newspaper but we do spend out lives working with people to try to help them improve the quality of their relationships. There aren’t any quick fixes but quite often a few fairly simple things can breathe new life into them when each person takes time to understand themselves and their partners.

Flowers, cards, chocolates and meals for two don’t have to be just a Valentine’s Day treat. Take time regularly to make your partner feel special. Talk with them about what helps them to feel loved and cared for – what makes a difference to them. It might not be what you think it is and the important thing is to listen, not to judge, and then to act on what you have heard.

Not every day will be a Valentine’s Day but both of you can work together to improve the quality of a relationship that you used to celebrate each 14 February. If not, why not make an appointment to come and see us.

Sarah Fletcher

Valentine’s Day is nearly here!

No sooner have shops packed away the Christmas cards than we are besieged by rows of red heart shaped cards, pink champagne and heart shaped chocolates – all demanding our attention, waiting to be sent, perhaps anonymously, to a partner, a longed-for lover or a secret admirer. It can only mean one thing- Valentine’s Day is nearly here.

What is it about this day that can either send us into frenzied excitement and anticipation or make us dread the day because no one cares or when feelings of love just feel cheesy and unromantic. Why is one day of the year when the question of love and how it is given and received marked as one of the most important days in the calendar?

At Coupleworks we often hear clients wish for more romance in their partnerships. A wish to remember how it used to be when they first met.

So here are a few tips to help you have an enjoyable Valentine’s Day:

*If you really want to show someone you care, take time to think about them and understand how they would like to feel loved and cared about

*share doing something together that you normally don’t do. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune

*take care in how you dress for the occasion, spend a little more thought in how to please each other

*avoid the stereotypical night away when everybody round you is there for the same reason. There will be high expectation that you need to have great sex because it’s valentines and that may be too much pressure for some

*use the opportunity to share how you feel about each other and what you love about each other

A final thought from Coupleworks – Instead of using Valentine’s day once a year to show how much you love your partner why not make learning to love your partner a commitment for always.

Dawn Kaffel

Valentines Day – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered? Love does not always run smoothly – even the best of partners can take a moment to look at their relationship, and the rest of us always need a few pointers, Coupleworks is here to give you some tips for today, and everyday…

  • We can offer praise in so many everyday situations, but this can so easily disappear in our most important relationships. Remember to thank each other for the small things. Make a point of appreciation for at least one thing a day. And keep touching, sometimes a hug Is a good painkiller
  • Find time for each other. The couple relationship will not flourish without attention. Take the time to do things together. If finances are tight and going out is tricky, try and make an evening at home special even if it is just eating at a table and switching off tv, phones and computers for a few hours. Agree on an electronic truce, and concentrate on each other.
  • F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) is the driver behind a lot of phone and screen checking. If you take each other for granted it will be the vital relationship that misses out the most.
  • Listen to your partner if they are trying to get a point across. You think you have heard it all a thousand times already, but try and think why this situation always becomes so loaded, and why they feel so strongly. Remember that behind nearly every power struggle is fear. Look out for the deeper issues and find out how these things were sorted in their original family. How was anger dealt with? Did they come from a conflict averse family, or was rage freely expressed? And importantly how were rows repaired. The family that can express fury but also show loving repair is the best example, but not all of us have this template. Each new family can learn to UNlearn the examples shown to them, and set up better ways of resolving conflicts.
  • One truth, two perspectives. Yes, of course you are right, but that is your ‘right’ – the other side has theirs, and it is just another slant on the same situation. Sometimes there is even a third way of looking at something. Agree to disagree, it is not a mortal battle. You can see another point of view, acknowledge it and then put the whole thing away.
  • Walk and talk. Being in a confined space during a difficult discussion can make things feel worse. if there are subjects that need serious thought, try going for a walk. Being outside and together but not looking at each other can help. We are less likely to misread facial expressions and body language.
  • Often it is just feeling heard that is vital. Give up the need to ‘fix’ the problem. A search for the solution and a parental opinion may just frustrate even more.  Often the hardest thing to do is just to listen and not feel that all dilemmas needs solving. Don’t be tempted to soothe or minimise fears, let your partner know that you are really giving them all your attention, they are then much more likely to want to listen in turn, when you need this.
  • Finally remember that we can never change another person, and it is tiring and frustrating to try. The only person we can change is ourselves. Try dealing with problems in a different way, and it is almost inevitable that your partner will therefore respond differently.