Valentine’s Day can be a make-or-break situation for couples. We’ve asked our expert couples and relationship therapists to provide some insights for partners as they navigate these complicated holiday waters.
Aaron Cooper, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute, provides today’s tips. Listen to Dr. Cooper discuss additional Valentine’s Day issues today on the Health, Wealth & Wisdom radio show on 1250 AM, WHNZ.
It’s about the heart, not the head.
“The heart is the symbol of Valentine’s Day because it’s not about thoughts and opinions and ideas so much as it’s about emotion — what we feel toward one another. Couples can make the day as important (or unimportant) as they care to, but why squander such an easy opportunity to let someone dear to us know, ‘You mean the world to me.’”
See beyond the ads.
“It’s the marketplace that drives the emphasis on Valentine’s Day — the corporate culture that’s selling candy and flower and gifts of all kinds. What’s important isn’t what we buy or how much we spend, but a message of caring that we deliver. That, more than stuff, is what feeds the soul.”
Couples Survival Toolbox:
- If you’re unsure about your relationship, don’t let that stop you on Valentine’s Day. ‘Put money in the bank’ by taking the high road and conveying admiration and appreciation. Positive messages or compliments are never out of fashion.
- Unless it’s an absolute given that you and your partner always exchange a Valentine’s Day favor, mention that you’re planning to do so and ask your partner to do the same. It avoids the disappointing awkwardness when one partner bears gifts while the other shows up empty-handed.
- Talk about whether this year will be a big ticket or small ticket Valentine’s Day. It avoids the awkwardness when one partner delivers a single red rose while the other presents an emerald bracelet.
- If things have been rocky lately in your relationship, consider calling a Valentine’s Day truce just long enough to shine a light on what’s been good in the past, regardless of how thorny things feel lately.
- Make sure the kids know about any loving or caring Valentine’s Day gestures you and your partner exchange. It promotes their feelings of security in your relationship, and it teaches them the importance of loving gestures.
Dr. Cooper earned his PhD from Loyola University of Chicago in 1977. He co-authored the book I Just Want My Kids to be Happy: Why You Shouldn’t Say It, Why You Shouldn’t Think It, What you Should Embrace Instead, which received highest honors in the 2008 Mom’s Choice Awards and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence Awards. His thoughts about youth and family issues have been cited in over 500 newspapers, magazines and websites from coast to coast.
Dr. Cooper works with couples, individuals and families.
Read Dr. Aaron Cooper’s full bio here.
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