Marriage Counseling: Valentine’s Day and its Effect on Your Relationship

AdobeStock_313560973When you’re in marriage counseling and Valentine’s Day is here—the day we celebrate love and our own romantic relationships with fancy dinners, romantic cards, flowers, and chocolates, you may have mixed feelings about how the day should be. There’s good reason to believe that getting romantic and focusing on your partner is good for your relationship. But are there certain relationships, or certain people, for whom that isn’t the case? A YouGov poll of more than 33,000 US adults found that women (48%) say they’ve been disappointed by a romantic partner who didn’t do enough for Valentine’s Day. Men (23%) were far less likely to say they’ve been similarly let down. Another recent AARP Foundation online survey found that 82% of U.S. adults would prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with someone rather than by themselves, and nearly half (48%) have worried about a friend or family member feeling lonely on the holiday. So how can Valentine’s Day effect your relationship if you’re in marriage counseling and already struggling?

Great sex lives and relationships don’t just happen; they are built based on the amount of effort and work we put into them. People in satisfying relationships frequently express affection, appreciation, and admiration for their partners. One important relationship preservation behavior that keeps bonds strong is providing “assurances” to your partner that you love and appreciate them. For people whose love language is words of affirmation, this can be a really important one. Things like saying “I love you,” complimenting your partner, doing little nice things for them, or bringing them gifts. Obviously, on Valentine’s Day, people tend to provide more of these assurances than usual. This could make the holiday an occasion when people feel especially good about their relationships. On the other hand, if you’d rather not get mushy with your partner, Valentine’s Day may have quite the opposite effect. Whether or not Valentine’s Day makes you feel better about your relationship depends on your attachment style, and in particular, the extent to which you experience attachment avoidance.

Some may argue Valentine’s Day shouldn’t even be a holiday anymore because it has turned into a day to show off how much you can spend on your significant other. And those who don’t have that special someone on Feb. 14 are forced to be at home, sad and lonely – this is simply not true. Valentine’s Day does not have to be the stereotypical, materialistic holiday that everyone believes it to be, and instead it can be a day for self-love and appreciating the non-romantic connections that you have. I think the media has tried to convince everyone that the only people who can enjoy and celebrate Valentine’s Day have to be people that are in a romantic relationship, but that’s not the case. Whether it’s from your friends, family, pets or even yourself, Valentine’s Day is a day to recognize that love exists in many forms. Over the years, the self-love movement has become a tribute that celebrating love does not have to be romantic, showing our generation that our self-worth and love does not need to come from others but from finding satisfaction in ourselves.

At Take Charge, Inc. we apply the Polyvagal approach order to provide understanding without judgment and a safe, supportive environment for healing. Marriage counseling can help to guide you through this potentially hard holiday and help form new bonds as you do. For more information, contact Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255 or visit our website.

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