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During the month of February, a delightful anticipation as well as expressions of affection fill the air. Valentine's Day is an occasion to honor and celebrate love, rapidly approaching. As a seasoned marriage and couples counselor, often I offer advice regarding the essentials of maintaining a solid partnership and fostering the passion that initially united you. Even more so I gear much of my efforts as I support couple clients to seek ways to establish rituals of connection as ways to support a lasting emotional connection as you grow within the relationship.  My goal is always to help you find a connection that is satisfying and withstand the test of time.

An irony of all this is that if you were to ask me and my husband which is our least favorite holiday we will both say Valentine’s Day…. Ironic right!  Please do not get me wrong, we are not Valentine’s Day haters, lol!  Our position comes from our view of relationships that has encouraged us to express love and appreciation towards each other through the year.  On a daily, weekly basis.  We do support special expressions of affection, appreciation and love. What we would say is just don’t wait for that one day in the year to do so. 

As a Gottman Certified Therapist I always emphasize with my clients to do Small Things Often.  Dr. John Gottman refers to this in many of his writings as making frequent deposits to the emotional bank account.  When that emotional bank account has enough saved it will support the relationship when difficult times and conflict show up. I address this more in detail in my previous blog.  You can read it here.

The Essence of Love

It is easy for many of us to get lost in the  fast pace of everyday life and can cause us to overlook the basic essence of love.  You probably have heard the phrase, “Love is action not a feeling”.  Love encompasses a decision to commit to a shared journey. 

Valentine's Day offers the opportunity to consider the core values that unite you and your significant other. One must understand that love is not merely a brief sentiment, but rather an everlasting force capable of overcoming the test of time.  What actions do you take on a regular basis to help each other feel loved?  

Acceptance of Vulnerability

Vulnerability is necessary for the expression of emotions in relationships. It allows us to be open to share our feelings and needs with our partners in order to create a deeper emotional connection.  In addition it allows us to feel more secure and connected with each other.

Vulnerability is avoided by many out of fear of getting hurt and/or hurting others.

To foster an intimate romantic relationship, it is vital to learn ways to be open with our partners about who we are, our feelings and needs. This will allow us to embody one's true self.. Working towards ongoing expressions of feelings and needs will help establish an environment that is emotionally secure for both partners.  It will foster your ability to express yourselves with one another openly and honestly, thereby cultivating deeper emotional closeness.

Constructing Intimacy

Having good levels of intimacy supports  building an enjoyable physical connection. Intimacy encompasses connections of a spiritual, intellectual, and emotional nature. I encourage you to invest adequate time in nurturing every aspect of intimacy within the relationship.

Ensuring time together on a consistent basis doing  enjoyable activities helps build  intimacy in relationships.  Engaging in deep discussions will help you dive deeper into common areas of interest as well as better understanding of each other. Having these conversations will help you build a deeper understanding of each other. Having shared values is helpful but not necessary.  Friendship is the  fundamental foundation of those with the most strong relationships.

Honoring One Another

Valentine's Day is a time to express gratitude, affection and admiration for your partner. To celebrate one another's unique character traits and the joint journey you have begun. Plan a surprise date, write sincere love letters to one another, or simply spend quality time together. Showing affection through small tokens of gratitude can have a profound impact.

If you celebrate Valentine’s Day I encourage you to show your commitment to the strength and resilience of your relationship by creating the space for ongoing conversations, building friendship, doing small things often for each other and building rituals of connection. Love defies its fragile existence and manifests as an intricate fabric interwoven with elements of reciprocal interaction, openness, and common encounters. You can navigate the depths of love and ensure the continued success of your relationship by nurturing these components.

Whether you have questions, feedback, or simply want to say hello, I'd love to hear from you.

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