Don't Let Valentine’s Day Ruin Your Marriage Many use Valentine's as a barometer for their relationship. Here's how to use it for aspirational measurement instead. BY JEFF FORTE
Don't let a slip-up on Valentine's Day tear you down, instead use it to boost you up.
“ You are where you are in your relationship for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.”
Are you about to make the biggest mistake of your love life? What you may not know is that Valentine’s Day is the beginning of trouble for many couples. Here’s why:
Many people evaluate the happiness and success of their marriages and romantic love lives based on whether or not their expectations for Valentine’s Day are met. Valentine’s Day’s unmet expectations most often turn into the final straw of a year’s worth of unfulfilling romantic love. The increasing result of this disappointment leads to affairs and ultimately divorce.
According to studies of divorce filings by now defunct AttorneyFee.com, and separately Avvo.com, both legal referral sites, they found that February is the busiest month of the year for divorce filings. People seeking referrals for divorce increase about 40% in February, according to Avvo.com, with the biggest spike on the day after Valentine's Day. A number of websites for married individuals seeking affairs, report that the day after Valentine’s Day is their number one day for new sign-ups.
What expectations do you have around Valentine’s Day?
If you are in a struggling relationship, Valentine’s Day might remind you of your romantic dream about love that was lost. Of course, thinking about the love you don’t have will only make you bitter, sad and resentful. You cannot save a year of disappointment and unhappiness by doing any of these four most socially popular things: giving a greeting card, candy, obligatory dinner, or a dozen roses.
Let’s get real:
* Can candy save a loveless marriage?
* Can a dozen roses overcome an affair?
* Can a greeting card restore intimacy and passion?
* Can a forced attempt at a romantic dinner improve couple communication?
Instead, change your thinking about the Day with these three things:
* Have Perspective: The value of your relationship is not contingent upon one day’s expectations, and unrealistic romantic desires. Do not let this one day decide the fate of your relationship. You are where you are in your relationship for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.
* Focus on Giving to Your Partner: You could make the day about valuing them. Show your appreciation for your spouse in whatever way is most genuine for you. If you are willing to let go of your romanticized expectations, you will not be held emotionally hostage by the day.
Yes, maybe you are hurt or resentful about what they haven’t done for you in the past year. That’s Ok. You can still find something to appreciate about them and do something about it.
* Start Working Towards Something Better: Make a commitment to elevate the standard that you have been living for through better interactions with your husband or wife. Even if you think they are completely to blame for any relationship challenges, perhaps you have not been so perfect. A relationship is a shared responsibility and any interactions require two participants.
Today’s the day you can begin to shift and improve your relationship. Don’t withhold: your love, compliments, respect, attention, or even sex because you are upset or think they owe you. And stop keeping score! It’s the easiest way to feel resentful.
Winning the game of love happens through what you give, not from demands or attempts to control the other person. It certainly won’t happen because you have unmet expectations of your partner and unmet expectations around Valentine’s Day.
Today, you could use Valentine’s Day as a catalyst to begin to be more kind, say thank you for little things they do. You could notice what they are doing right and compliment them. You could remember something amazing or unique about them and tell them.
You could find countless ways to value your spouse more, starting now.
The success of your marriage will always be reflected by what you do and fail to do. This could be the Valentine’s Day you improve the feelings of love in your intimate relationship.
Jeff Forte is an expert in Relationship Dynamics, Divorce Prevention and Marriage Repair, and the author of "The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle," where you can find immediately helpful ideas that will work to quickly to increase connection. He has the expertise to help couples resolve their marriage conflicts even when traditional couples counseling has failed. For a complimentary consultation to get his insights on your situation visit www.90minutemarriagemiracle.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.