The Art of Relating: Valentine’s Day Success

Christine Kniffen

Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW

To find out more about me or my services, I invite you to take a look at my website: www.ChristineKniffen.com. I look forward to seeing you at the March 29 Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo!

We can all have very strong feelings about this particular day in mid-February. Some think it silly, but I think it sweet. Some take it far too seriously, as it becomes the kindling for fights fueled by unmet expectations driven by hyped up commercialism. Valentine’s Day should represent a sweet reminder of the love you feel for another, whether romantic or otherwise. In order to have a successful Valentine’s Day try to keep a few things in mind. Don’t let the commercial aspect set you up for disappointment through unmet expectations. Don’t use it as a make-up day for all that you have neglected to do throughout the rest of the year. And, lastly, learn to articulate to your partner what he or she can do to make you feel special and important for the evening.

Like many things in this country, commercialism and consumerism can ruin the simple sweetness that originally accompanied this special day. On February 15th, women across the offices of America are either bragging about what their man did for them or are scurrying about the day breathlessly trying to avoid eye contact, praying that no one will ask them about their night, as they fear complete humiliation due to what did not take place. I think all too often the competitive element takes over and Valentine’s Day gets turned into bragging rights or a source for discontent, as the expectations that were artificially propped up by the endless Hallmark commercials were not realized. The pressure of this day to be romantic, perfect and magical can be made worse if you don’t do enough to show you care throughout the rest of the year.

Don’t make Valentine’s Day a make-up day. We should be continually doing little things throughout the year to let our partners know how special and important they are to us. The less you do this, understandably the greater the pressure and expectations will be on Valentine’s Day to demonstrate this to their satisfaction. However, if you are starting with a deficit even a great big gesture on this particular day can seem far less significant. Relationships begin to fall apart when people no longer feel connected. We have all probably been somewhat guilty for becoming slightly lazy and complacent in our relationships, taking them for granted. We stop giving these small, but highly significant gestures of affection. But, we need to be diligent and put energy into our relationships on a regular basis. We all have different needs. More importantly, these needs are met in different ways for different people.

Make sure you are having the “needs conversation” in your relationships. What can he or she do that will actually symbolize or convey to you that you are special and loved? I have seen couples that have been together for many years that have yet to have that conversation with each other. If she says she needs flowers and a romantic card on her birthday, then give it to her. It doesn’t matter that you would not need that back. It is about each person stating what he or she needs to feel loved.

Likewise, you will have a much better Valentine’s Day if you have discussions beforehand on what types of things you would like to see happening for a fun, romantic evening. Try this and you will see just how sweet the night can be.

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Relationship Coach and Therapist. For a free consultation, call 314-374-8396.