5 Ways to Show Love to Your Partner on Valentine’s Day

5 Ways to Show Love to Your Partner on Valentine’s Day February 12, 2022

Victoria, 36, and Thomas, 37, had been attending counseling sessions for over six months and when I asked them what they were doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. They both paused and said they weren’t sure. What followed was a discussion of the lack of intimacy and appreciation in their marriage over the last ten years.

Thomas reflects, “It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, Victoria’s never happy. Last year, I took her out to dinner to her favorite restaurant and bought her flowers and we got in an argument on the way home over something stupid.”

Victoria responds, “He’s right, it seems hypocritical for us to go out for an expensive dinner when we bicker every day and things don’t seem to ever get better.”

What I explained to this couple is that small gestures, such as sending each other a loving text can be a lot more effective in promoting good relations than a large gesture like going out to an expensive restaurant. In fact, spending extended periods of quality time doing shared activities alone with your spouse each week is the most important way to deepen physical and emotional intimacy.

In families, the amount of time that couples spend alone and with each other, talking, or sharing activities together is a key factor in predicting their overall marital happiness, according to psychologist Eli J. Finkel. In The All-Or-Nothing Marriage, he explains that there has been a 40% decline in the last three decades in the amount of time that couples who have children spend together.

The reasons for this decline in the amount of time that couples spend together, include busier work schedules and chronic interruptions due to multitasking and technology. Whether you make a standing date to go to the gym, explore your neighborhood, watch a movie, go to a concert, or do another activity you enjoy, you and your partner must make a commitment to time alone each week. I know the demands of daily life seem to leave little time or money left over for relaxed, fun activities, but alone time together is part of the time and energy investment you are making in your relationship will pay off.

5 Ways to make small gestures count in your relationship or marriage:

  • Look for ways to lower each other’s stress: Problems at work, financial pressures, or family drama can all push a couple apart. Couples who can respond to each other’s stress in a way that is soothing rather than in a way that exacerbates it tend to be able to weather the tenser times. Offer to give your partner a back rub or make them a cup of tea.
  • Spend 5-10 minutes doing things to show love and kindness to your partner each day. Examine the schedules of family members and determine whether there is a reliable time that you can spend time alone with your partner. It may require altering work schedules to the extent that it is possible. Focus on each other, offer physical affection and really listen to each other. Often even devoting five to ten minutes to each other can strengthen your bond.
  • Carve out time for daily rituals to do with your partner. For instance, 15 minutes to debrief your day when you first arrive home, waking early to cuddle, and showering or bathing together. Consider eating one meal a day without screen time to enhance communication.
  • Have a Stress-relieving conversation daily. In The Relationship Cure, Dr. John Gottman suggests that you have a 20 minutes stress-relieving conversation in the evening when you don’t try to solve problems but take turns listening and offering support.
  • Help one another out: This can include helping your significant other make plans, complete tasks, achieve goals or manage their time. These positive actions can lead to interdependence, as partners begin to coordinate their behavior to try to bring their long-term bigger goals to fruition.

This Valentine’s Day and every day, never underestimate the power of intentional time with your partner. Doing fun things together like playing a game or giving each other a massage, can help you feel emotionally connected. In fact, watching funny movies, or anything else that brings you both pleasure can ignite passion and keep you connected. In order to feel alive in your relationship, make an effort every day to show appreciate for your partner every day with small gestures of love.

Find Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True in 2020.

 


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