With Valentines day fast approaching here are my tips to help keep the flame of love burning bright. I call them the three C’s to represent the three principles underlying this advice. Communication, Consideration and Consolidation – use these on Valentines Day ( or any day) to fan the flames of love!
New love is exciting and can often be a roller coaster ride. It can be hard to keep up with whether your relationship is healthy, likely to continue or just a dash of summer madness. It is likely that lovers in this first flush of love are practicing the first two C’s – communication and consideration. Initially we are fascinated with the other person and we want to know everything about them. We listen intently and we consider their feelings, needs and desires all the time as they are constantly in our thoughts.
Longer term relationships are a different kettle of fish and this is where the 3 C’s are more important.
if you have been with your partner for several years you may feel that you communicate daily and pretty much know what they like, think and feel. On a day to day level you may be right but the truth is no-one knows what another truly thinks and feels. Just as there are things your partner does not know about you (even if they are boring things you just don’t bother sharing), there are half truths, dreams, fancies and wishes that they do not know. Long term relationships can suffer from the doldrums as we get bored with what we know even if we love it, it can become comfortable and the excitement can go. It may seem ridiculous but communication is as important at this stage as at the beginning. People change and grow over the years. You are not the same person now as you were 10 , 5 or even 2 years ago, neither is your partner. Hopes, wishes/dreams and beliefs change all the time as we grow, experience and learn. One of the most common comments I hear from divorcees who I work with is “I did not recognise the man/woman I married, he/she changed”.
So for all of you who are in a long term relationship I invite and encourage you to shake things up a little this Valentines day.
Start with communication. When you are alone perhaps at dinner, ask an open question like “what makes your heart sing?” or “if you knew you could be successful at anything you chose to do what would it be?” and allow your partner to explore and share that with you without comment or going into what you want. Just really listen without judgement you may be amazed at what you hear.
Next I want you to consider their feelings. You might show this by booking their favourite restaurant or if you have children, getting a babysitter early so that you and your partner can dress up or maybe luxuriating in a bubble bath instead of running around trying to manage the kids.
Finally consolidate (the third C). Reinforce your happy memories as you reminisce together. Avoid going over old arguments, mistakes etc. Focus on the good. Tell them the things you love about them, recall examples of things they have done for you that just made you love them even more.
The 3 C’s don’t cost money but they can save your relationship and even take it to the next level. Take these ideas and translate them into what is right for you and your partner.
Let me know how it works out for you.