Well, friends, it’s here again whether you’re ready or not: Valentine’s Day!
Surely for some of you, this day fills you with the excitement of romantic and endless possibilities for connecting with your Bae. Perhaps you have a weekend getaway planned, a special reservation made, or maybe you’re just going to fly by the seat of your pants and see where the day takes you.
It’s no secret that Millennials gravitate more toward memorable experiences than tangible gifts. And as surprised as you may be to read it, this generation is actually not as anti-Valentine’s as you may think! In fact, millennials are pretty okay with the day being acknowledged and practiced. This small study by Elite Daily a couple of years back shows some of the trends with our generation and how they look at Valentine’s practices.
Our culture has created a few different ways beyond just the traditional “couple stuff” that has allowed Valentine’s to become more inclusive to all: Galentines day, celebrating Valentine’s as a single and working on your own self-love, or grouping up to throw anti-Valentine’s parties. However you fancy, love can still be in the air and you can enjoy this time of warm fuzzies, chocolate, and connectedness.
It may be a national day of love, but you might be feeling more burnt out or disconnected in your relationship.
So, Anne and Liz (two of our couple experts) have teamed up to bring you a few thoughts about how to do Valentine’s day on the couple front. At Millennial Life Counseling, our passion is in helping couples within the context of today’s world have the best relationships possible.
So whether you’ve been dating a few months or married a few years, here are some ideas below to get you thinking about fulfilling ways to celebrate this 2/14.
What are some creative ways for couples who have been together for a while to celebrate Valentines Day?
I think the biggest downfall for couples who have been together for a long time is becoming slaves to their routine. Whether work has burned you out, you’re exhausted with young children, or you have lost your creative drive, it may be time to step outside your couple comfort zone. Let’s be real…we’ve all probably had the experience of making plans and then ditching them because the couch and Netflix sounds better! If possible, make the effort to do something completely new for your relationship. For one day, reject your routine and dive into something you’ve never done before. Experiencing something new with your partner will challenge this idea that you can’t still learn new things about one another. - Anne
To piggy back off of Anne’s advice, Valentine’s Day can go beyond the chocolate and cute plush toys that end up who knows where by next week. For more seasoned couples, try letting this day represent shaking things up a little bit. Do something you wouldn’t normally do, for example, forgetting a dinner reservation and instead renting your favorite movie you watched as kids. I once worked with a couple who decided to abandon the traditional V-day things they typically did and stayed in bed watching horror movies. For some reason, this trick really worked to help them feel more “themselves” and was a date night they ended up remembering and referring back to for months. - Liz
What can couples who are feeling disconnected do to make valentines day feel special?
These days it’s easy to get distracted from what matters in a relationship. With social media alone, we might find ourselves comparing to others who appear happier, or have more exciting things going on in their life. This is energy that can get redirected towards your partner.
I challenge you to take a trip down memory lane. What was something you enjoyed doing with each other in those early days of your relationship? Recreate one of your first dates, and remember what pulled you to each other from the start. - Anne
One of my favorite mantras from renowned couples therapist, Terry Real, is to “remember love”. For couples who are going through some kind of challenge or just aren’t feeling their partner this year, it can be helpful to mindfully bring yourself back to the foundation of your relationship and all of the ingredients that made you two fall in love with each other. Some of those ingredients have probably grown and evolved over time, and some may be the same.
An active way to acknowledge this stuff is to express gratitude to each other. Literally share (either in writing or verbally) the things that you DO love, appreciate, and cherish about each other right now, even if there’s messy stuff going on, too. It doesn’t make the good stuff less real or less important. It actually makes it most important. - Liz
What if couples don’t care about valentines day?—what are some other holidays or traditions you have seen couples create that have brought them closer together?
I’ve met many couples who put a lot of emphasis on Valentines Day. But I have also met those that find it forced and a sort of money-driven conspiracy. If you are the latter, good for you for not forcing a celebration when it doesn’t feel authentic. Your interest in Valentines Day does not correlate to how much you love your partner. I’ve seen many couples find more meaning in celebrating the day they got engaged, or some other day that is meaningful to them in their story and they are just as happy for it. Find what works for you as a couple and let go of the other expectations. - Anne
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day this year, however it may look.
And if you’re a couple who is searching for something to help you get back to that deep connection and intimacy in your lives, think about talking with one of our therapists or looking into our couple packages to give you just that. It’s never too late, and it might just be the thing that makes next year’s Valentine’s Day #nextlevel for you both.