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