Are you preparing for Valentine's Day with fun and determination to make it a really special day for your partner?
What about your own excited or anxious anticipation of what your partner may come up with for you?
Do you worry about whether or not he or she cares enough for you to really make an effort?
I'm hoping here to add a little depth to the proceedings and help you make the best possible effort for your partner on Valentine's Day. Whether or not you get it right is, of course, never a guarantee! If, however, you love each other and are willing to work on your relationship, then any little upsets can offer great opportunities for growth. (Silver lining!)
Having a *great* Valentine's Day probably means to you that your partner will be heaping attention upon you. And, since you're here, doubtless you'll be doing the same in return.
You're probably hoping, at the very least, for a super Valentine's card - with just the right words of course! But maybe you're also looking forward to a bunch of red roses, a gift and/or a special outing.
You'll want to be able to trust, though, that your partner:
Being in a relationship and becoming the best partner you can be takes learning, self-awareness, positive intent, experience and constructive feedback. In other words, you'll need to be prepared to take numerous disappointments in your stride - as long as you're both prepared to work on the relationship.
So, whatever your partner does or doesn't do on Valentine's Day, do remember that beneath the label, it's just a normal day. If, unfortunately, you're disappointed with your partner's efforts (or lack thereof), that doesn't have to spell the end of your relationship or marriage.
Equally, if your partner's not as thrilled with your efforts as you hoped they might be, that doesn't have to mean disaster either.
In this short article I'm going to help you think about what's really important on Valentine's Day. Here's a hint: it doesn't have to cost a lot of (or any!) money...
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction"
Antoine de Saint-Expupery
You can create a truly memorable experience by giving your partner as much attention as you can. (Think: as much as you might give your mobile on a normal day...!)
Giving genuine attention is far more valuable than any other Valentine's idea you could come up with.
Speaking from your heart is priceless too - no Valentine's Day card messages or quotes you find online will be as meaningful as the words you choose yourself. These come from what you know about your partner, from your experience of being with her or him, and from how you truly feel about them.
And don't worry - your honest words really don't need to sound Shakespearean to have an impact :-)
Rather than copying a Valentine's poem, quote or message - made up by someone else and perused by the masses - I have a suggestion for a very personal Valentine's present. I anticipate your partner will cherish it for years to come. It's a gratitude letter.
The notion of deliberately setting out to write down all the reasons you're grateful for your partner and your life together comes from the field of positive psychology. Research clearly shows that it has a wonderfully uplifting effect on the writer's mood.
That means that you and your partner both benefit (and the latter is precisely the point on Valentines Day).
Here's a handy guide on how to write the most beautiful Valentine's Day card message.
Answer the following questions for yourself first. It's sure to get you in the right mood:
Once you've thought about all of these points, bring them together in your Valentine's Day card or letter. Try to describe your feelings whilst doing so, if you can.
Here's a head start with this free downloadable and printable give-away...
It's all very well planning to spend time together, but what if you don't know how to fill it? What if you find it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with your partner?
It may be that communication isn't one of your (or your partner's) strengths. That's nothing to be ashamed of, because there are a myriad of reasons why that may be so.
The good news is that with a few tools and simple directions you'll soon find how much pleasure there's to be gained from truly connecting with each other.
With the help of my Loving Communication Kit for Couples you could easily fill a few hours with fun and meaningful conversations. So, why not do yourselves a favour and get your copy right away?
Giving and receiving attention are the most important and basic emotional needs we have as human beings. These particular needs are part of - and underpin - the meaning of every human interaction.
The quality and quantity of attention given and received is what can really make or break a relationship - not just what happens on Valentine's Day.
How do you ensure that your relationship remains fresh, rewarding, loving and sustaining? Visit my article on the secrets of happy relationships to learn more.
On Valentine's Day especially - and perhaps more than any other day - you may be painfully confronted with the fact that your relationship or marriage just isn't what you want it to be.
Perhaps you've been unhappy for a while and your relationship problems seem to be worsening by the day. Or maybe you've found out that your partner is cheating on you. Or you can feel that they're slowly withdrawing from you.
In which case, it's time to step up to the plate. Don't leave the survival of your relationship or marriage to chance. Instead, get my Loving Communication Kit for Couples to help you save your relationship.
My best relationship advice for Valentine's Day?
Don't make it into anything it doesn't need to be! It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you don't have to make grand gestures. Small, simple and honest tokens of genuine love and affection are what's really needed. You may want to make more extravagant gestures, of course, and that's fine too.
And do remember: to develop a healthy relationship, don't confine making your partner feel special to just the 14th of February.
Surprise your partner every now and then on other days too. That will have the greatest impact, particularly when it's least expected.
 “Written Gratitude Letters Are Beneficial for Both Parties.” @Berkeleywellness, www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/mood/article/written-gratitude-letters-are-beneficial-both-parties.