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Be My Forever Valentine

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As we approach Valentine’s Day, we scramble to make things special on a holiday that’s filled with “I love yous”, chocolates and teddy bears to illustrate signs of affection.  We buy cards, flowers, and make reservations either at a restaurant or at home to ensure we mark the one day out of the 365 days in the calendar year to celebrate your relationship.

While those actions are admirable and sweet, long term relationships take work. You see, the “getting to know” someone is filled with mysticism and excitement that over time may lose its luster. 

As such, I’ve listed a few tips on how to maintain a healthy, vital and intimate relationship. 

  1. While you may love spending time with your life partner or mate, it’s healthy to spend time apart, whether it’s with your own friend group or engaged in a hobby you enjoy.  It allows your mate to miss you, contributes to a more robust dialogue when together, and allows you to burn off steam and disconnect with the mundane day to day experiences.
  1. When possible, craft an evening schedule and make every effort to go to sleep at similar times. The opportunity to see your mate before you drift into slumber activates unconscious processes that speak of consistency and familiarity which are associated with safety.
  1. During difficult conversations, allow yourself to become vulnerable by speaking from your “heart” not your pride. It’s ok to let your mate know he or she hurt your feelings without becoming well defended. Your mate should be your safe haven where you can be free to voice your concerns knowing he/she has your best interest at heart even if they may not agree with your point of view.
  1. Fight Fair: always lead with respect and compassion for one another.  Make it a point to become curious about your mate’s point of view (this does not mean you have to agree with it). Accepting the fact that ALL couples argue because they are unique individuals with different idiosyncrasies is a healthy perspective. Try to remember why you chose your mate and remember he/she is your ally not your adversary.

Valentine’s Day should not be celebrated on the one day of the year, but throughout the year. Engage in novel activities, visit new places, plan a date night (even if you have multiple children), play games and get creative in your varying degrees of intimacy to keep things fluid and fresh. So this Valentine’s Day, honor your mate not with flowers but with a renewed view of your relationship in ways that will show him/her you care throughout the year.

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