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Valentine’s Day is a time many of us look at what we can give our partner to show them that we love them. Will it be roses, perhaps some chocolates, or maybe just a card with some sugar-sweet words?
I have been a Counsellor for many years and have seen a number of couples who have grown apart because their relationship lacks consistency and commitment. I have watched on a number of occasions, the queues of men, young and not so young, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, with their supermarket flowers at the checkout. I wouldn’t be so cynical to say that it was because the supermarket was about to close and the flowers were heavily discounted. However, it seems to me that a lack of consideration is often a recipe for disaster as far as the relationship is concerned. Nowadays, in the light of sexual equality, I am sure that this problem may be just as serious for either partner. So I am wondering if I may make a few suggestions that might make some relationships happier and more loving, everyday, not just 14th February.
Whether we are aware of it or not, there are many expectations in any relationship, for example, whether to have children or not. There are also many unspoken expectations such as the desire for our partner to be faithful or meet certain sexual desires for instance. As our relationship develops these expectations can seriously affect our personal and couple esteem. If our expectations are met, we see our relationship in a positive light, if not, we may see it as failing.
There are many things that can be done to assist a couple whose relationship is in trouble, but the intervention that always seems to work in the first instance is also my favourite. I ask couples to consider how they are communicating with each other. Often communication has broken down or it is at best, acrimonious. The thing is, none of us like being unhappy, nor do we enjoy being spoken to in a way that makes us feel unloved, resentful, or indeed, angry. So the first thing I try to introduce is better communication. This technique involves a certain amount of trust to begin with. I ask that the couple consider the way they prefer to be treated and ask that this is discussed during counselling. Once this has been aired, we look at how a better way of communicating can be implemented in the relationship.
The intervention involves not doing or saying anything to your partner that you wouldn’t want said or done to yourself. Following this, we introduce ways in which the couple can improve the way they interact on a mutual basis. With improvements in mutual respect, mutual support, mutual consideration and finally, mutual understanding, the couple gradually find that their mutual happiness has improved immensely.
So, my point is this; do we just buy flowers on Valentine’s Day, or do we show our partner how much we love them, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day?