Valentine's Day is almost here. Right after Christmas, the stores fill their shelves with cards, candy and lots of other reminders that you better come up with something special for that special someone in your life. All the commercial hype creates a lot of unrealistic expectations, not to mention enormous amounts of pressure to buy the perfect present, find the exact right card, plan the most romantic dinner and manage to look beautiful or handsome -- and sexy -- for the celebration itself. That's a tall order that typically sets us up for a big let down. After all, it's impossible to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on demand every year!
Valentine's Day has always seemed like such an odd holiday to me. It's the one day when we are supposed to celebrate the love we have for a particular person. Hmmm, I always think, shouldn't we be doing this most days instead of just once a year? And what about the people who, for whatever reason, don't have a special someone? Isn't Valentine's Day just a cruel stab-in-the-heart reminder for them? (More on that in my next blog.) Ugh!
Of course, men and women typically view Valentine's Day quite differently. Let's be honest, ladies; how many of you are playing the whole evening out in your head, imagining exactly what you'd like to have happen (including your gift)? But are you sharing this vision with your partner of what you would really, really in your heart of hearts like to have happen? Probably not! And how many of you men feel the pressure to buy something special and to do something special, but you don't have the foggiest idea what that might be? And what if it's not enough? What if it's not the exact right thing?
Some lucky people are able to lovingly and realistically embrace this day for how it makes them feel and for the love they give to their spouse or significant other. That's great. But the dark side of the holiday is that for many of us, it creates a lot of anxiety. Someone always seems to ask innocently, "What did you do for Valentine's Day?" The idea of saying you did nothing, or nothing special, is enough to make your stomach hurt. What does that say about my spouse or significant other? you end up wondering. And what does that say about our relationship?
Hang on! You can turn this holiday around. It really is possible to make Valentine's Day super special, without all the pressure, stress and anxiety that you've gone through in the past. Here are some tips that will make your celebration a success -- not to mention bring the sizzle back into your relationship.
1. Have realistic expectations. Don't expect this one day to be a magic fix for anything or to be the only day you need to focus on your partner and your passion for each other. Think of the holiday as an opportunity to renew your feelings, not the only day that you express them.
2. If you're a woman, actively participate! This is not "Queen for a Day," it's Valentine's Day. It important for you to be just as involved in celebrating your partner as he is about celebrating you. This is no time for sitting back and basking in his proclamations of love for you. Do a bit of proclaiming yourself! Your guy needs to feel loved, appreciated and adored just as much as you do!
3. Share your feelings. Write your partner a heartfelt letter that really expresses how you feel about him or her and that outlines all the wonderful things your mate has brought into your life. Trust me, you don't have to sound like Shakespeare for this to go over big! And I guarantee that this is one present your special someone will never, ever forget.
4. If you're buying a gift, make it personal. Really spend some time thinking about the kinds of things your partner enjoys and cherishes. Taking the time to give a gift that is personal and special will help him or her really feel your love. It's not the gift itself or the money you spend on it that gives it meaning, it's the time and the thought that you put into it.
5. Plan something special together. Putting the pressure on one person to make the perfect plans can sacrifice a lot of sizzle. Figuring it out together instead can be fun, intimate, and rewarding because it's a win-win for you both.
6. Make the day about your partner. If you both make it about the other person, then you will both end up feeling great. You will feel loved and appreciated, but more importantly, you will know your partner feels the same way about you. What could be better than spending a day like that?