Does A Valentine’s Gift Make or Break a Healthy Relationship

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under current, Relationship Space

Valentine’s Day can have some unusual effects on a long-term relationship.

For those whose primary Love Language is Receiving Gifts it is a Red Letter day, or at least a Red Rose Day! For others, it may hold so little significance, it doesn’t even fly near the radar. Some, who like-to-be-sophisticated, wouldn’t be seen dead playing along with such crass commercialism. For some Long-Partnered, it’s something to be scorned as unnecessary and ridiculous! For the Hopeless Romantics of this world, it’s an opportunity to revel in abundant, shameless (sometimes slightly soppy) romance!

And all of those points of view have validity.

But really our view of Valentine’s Day will depend on the meaning we put on it. What meaning and judgment do you put to your partner’s attitude to Valentine’s Day?

If his gift is a kiss and a mumbled “Happy Valentines”, do you read that as “he doesn’t love me”?

If she sends you a plate of cupcakes to work, will you wonder what she’s been up to, or assume she’s having an affair?

If your partner doesn’t even register that the world around them is all fussed up, do you read that as not caring about your relationship?

Is your confidence in your relationship so unbalanced, that the presence/absence of a gift (or even a kiss) is going to dictate how you measure the health of that relationship? Really?

Like is said about leadership, parenting adolescents, and even politics – we need to pick our battles.

This one doesn’t even need a battle. It just needs some thinking.

One very useful guide that I use to guide me (when I’m getting all emotional and not very realistic) is that old question of “Will this matter in one, three or even twelve months time?”

So right here in the very best space, The Calm Space, let’s look at things that might help you feel confident, even proud, of your healthy relationship. Let’s find some evidence of that health:

  • How often does your partner regularly and spontaneously tell you he/she loves you?
  • What signs are there that your partner thinks of you during the day or while you are apart? Quick texts, phone calls, emails?
  • What little gestures does your partner do so regularly now that it’s normal? Making you a cuppa, emptying the rubbish, bathing the kids, washing the dishes, cooking a meal, foot massage while you watch the TV?
  • How often does your partner make time to sit and chat with you? Do you always recognise that’s what he/she is doing?
  • Other than obligatory (birthday, Christmas, anniversary) gifts, what kinds of spontaneous gifts do you receive? Bottle of your favourite wine, bunch of flowers from the supermarket (or the neighbour’s garden)?
  • How often does your partner praise your skills, or admit their admiration for how you behave, or even acknowledge your superiority at a particular task?
  • When you share your opinions, thoughts and feelings with your partner, how  often do you feel respected, heard and valued?
  • How often do you receive a hug, warm kiss, hand squeeze, meaningful look, or even an appreciative but undemanding proposition for a quickie?
  • How often does your partner forgive you even when you’ve stuffed up?
  • How often does your partner admit their behaviour was unacceptable after a fight and ask for forgiveness?
  • How often do you recognise that he/she loves you just the way you are?

Most people who have a reasonably healthy relationship will have recognised that at least one of those questions prompts positive answers. We often get so absorbed in looking for evidence of the negative that sometimes we humans aren’t so good at noticing the positives! So, sit here for a moment longer, with your cuppa or your glass in hand. Now think about the signs (that only you might recognise) that your partner uses to tell you that you are loved.

Close your eyes for a moment and revel in that feeling. What a gift you’ve just given yourself! Savour that feeling of being cherished. It’s what people in unhealthy relationships yearn for.

PS: If this set of questions has left you feeling rocked and seriously doubting the health of your relationship (that certainly wasn’t my intention) then please talk to a professional Relationship Advisor sooner rather than later. Before it’s too late to make healthy changes part of your lives together!

Image Source: Sean McGrath

About our Relationship Space Writer

When not writing for The Calm Space, Chris Owen of Pink Apple is helping divorcees and the newly-re-coupled build their skills and confidence at Relating Better and avoiding the pain of relationship breakdown again!

While Pink Apple’s website is under reconstruction, you can test your Relationship Mojo here and receive a simple eBook Your Relationship: From Mojo to Marvellous to help you start making changes to any problem areas the Mojo Test might highlight.

Comments

5 Responses to “Does A Valentine’s Gift Make or Break a Healthy Relationship”
  1. Chris, once again you hit the nail right on the head. As my husband has his birthday today, we always celebrate, but not for Valentine’s Day. This year there are 365 other days to share our love as well. How lucky we are!

  2. Chris Owen says:

    Valentine’s Day is just a faint blip on our personal day because we’d rather celebrate and share our love on the other days just like you two. Happy Birthday GMan!!!

  3. Chris, this one was easy for me to think about, as Valentine’s Day hasn’t ever been a big deal to me, nor has wedding anniversaries. I feel that the commitment to the person in your life should be shown every day of the year. But…I had a text from my nearest and longest standing friend today, who has been divorced for fifteen years and felt she could never trust another man again. After all of these years, she is seeing someone. The text said “Guess who got flowers for Valentine’s Day?” Now THAT made me go all warm and fuzzy! My friend deserves to be treated well and it sounds like she is.

    • Chris Owen says:

      Yes Joanne Totally understand that desire to show love and commitment daily. But alos believe that the occasional conspicuously romantic/loving gesture (on any day of the year) can give the warm fuzzies. Softening like that is a good thing in any relationship. BTW How wonderful that your friend is softening to that love that’s coming her way!