I’m not one for Valentine’s Day, if truth be told. I don’t love the commercialisation of a whole lot of events, just so some people can make money. However, I am a big believer in relationships. And since Aussies do so little talking about that kind of stuff, I decided to make the most of the recent day to post something on good relationships. So here are my Valentine hints for the unromantic amongst you out there. (I know there's more than just me!)
I worked out I wasn’t especially romantic a while ago. Here’s how it happened: Six or so of my girlfriends were jammed into a people mover heading out to breakfast. Our families were away together for the weekend and the men had volunteered to mind the kids for the morning. You can imagine the excited chatter! The conversation turned to ways our partners showed they cared for us. Someone talked about being given foot rubs. Then another started telling us how every morning her man would come into breakfast and tell her she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. He’d explain to the kids how lucky they were and how much he loved her…
While most of the rest of the car was purring at the romance, I was silently throwing up! Then I noticed another friend pulling faces. She broke their bubble by telling them she couldn’t remember her husband ever saying she was beautiful and what’s more, she didn’t care! And I reflected on how we all have different ways of feeling love…
I wrote about the five love languages in last week’s post, and how we all measure attempts at affirmation differently. When your love language is different from the person you’re directing attention to, it can cause disappointment and frustration because our efforts appear underappreciated, or not even valued at all.
Maybe you’ve figured out what you think your partner's love language is this last week, and if you have, good on you! Using your head when you’re not the slightest bit mushy or inclined to emotional softness is a great idea. Now, here are some ways to enhance your relationship and make it even better:
Valentine Hints for the Unromantic 1 -Know you’ve got to keep working on this stuff
Whether or not you did anything on ‘the day’ will be a mix of your thoughts on it and their expectations somehow combined. However, keep in mind that all relationships take work if they’re going to last. It’s not enough to mutter an embarrassed “I love you” once and never say it again. Whilst that was once a funny joke, these days people leave! Secure and healthy relationships are not always cutting edge excitement (that’s what makes them secure!) but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Regular maintenance is required.
Valentine Hints for the Unromantic 2 – Use their love language
The simplest way you can maintain goodwill and health in a relationship is to work out what the love language of your partner is and learn to use it*. This isn’t necessarily easy if it doesn’t match yours. I hate wrapping presents and making them look beautiful! Luckily for me, most of my inner circle isn’t wired that way.
I have had to learn to be more verbal though. I grew up in a house where words of affirmation were not in large supply, yet have two children who use this dialect consistently. I’ve had to put thinking and effort into how to use my words well. I’m happy to report they come more comfortably now, though I do still have to work on it sometimes.
If you think you’ve figured out your partner’s language but are awkwardly uncomfortable with expressing it, consider informally finding a supporter or coach. Another person who has the same love language as them might give you ideas or hints on what to do. Or maybe wrap your present or suggest some words you could write or say. Don’t give up until you find a solution!
Valentine Hints for the Unromantic 3 – Constant deposits into the emotional bank are worth it
Once you’ve got the hang of your special person’s love language, use it. Don’t just save it for special occasions. A feeling of being loved and valued builds over time, somewhat like a savings account. (I wonder if anyone has one of those anymore?)
Making regular small deposits will be easier for the non-sentimental amongst us. Plus, it gives you something to draw against when you stuff up! The way people feel about us shapes the way they act, the grace they show our weaknesses and the words that come out of their mouths. Having them more inclined to be nice to us makes our world a better place. So your effort will be worth it!
There you go! A whole Valentines blog without the mention of love hearts or chocolate. Except, I just ruined it! Oh well. Happy Valentine’s Day just passed!
* If you didn't read my post last week about the five love languages, check it out here /http://lifeasidreamedit.com/language-lesson-relationships/