You cannot save a year of unhappiness with greeting cards, roses and phony intimate dinners.

The problem with Valentine’s Day is disappointment. People’s expectations for the day are high even if the marriage is struggling.

“Maybe they’ll do something really special for me because it’s been rough lately.” Or “At the very least they own me a special Valentine’s gift after all this BS, and they will probably do that.” Or “I really don’t want anything from them, but heaven help them if they do nothing.”

There is no meeting of the undisclosed expectation. You will invariably fall short despite good intentions.

What are your expectations around Valentine’s Day?

If you’re in a happy, deeply connected marriage and things are great, there is a positive anticipation about the day. You aren’t particularly thinking about what your partner might do for you, you are more focused on what you are going to do for them.

However, if you are in a bad place in your marriage and feeling disconnected from love and your partner, this might be your least favorite day of the year. Valentine’s Day can become a reminder of the dream of love lost. The romanticized version of what love should have felt like, and been like. And thinking about what you don’t have only makes you sad and angry.

Doing something for your partner that doesn’t feel genuine and represent your true current feelings isn’t going to make you or your partner feel any better.

The pressure of obligations causes emotional stress for both partners. No one wants to feel obligated to do something that they have no real interest in.

How many of the 1+ billion Valentine cards purchased will be given out of love, and not from the commercialized expectation and perceived obligation of the day?

There is no winning or feeling good about Valentine’s Day if your relationship sucks.

So here’s what you need to do:

1. Get over your hurt, anger, sadness or disappointment about what your partner did or didn’t do for you on Valentine’s Day. The value of your relationship is not contingent on one day’s expectations and unrealistic romantic desires.

2. Treat the other person in your life with appreciation. Give them the attention they deserve. We often take our partners for granted. Not intentionally, we just get busy with life and caught up in ourselves. Honor your partner for their good qualities and tell them what you admire about them.

3. Use this day as a reminder that life is not always about you, and how you feel, and what you want and need. Decide instead to make a commitment to elevate the standard that you have been living for interacting with and giving to your partner, despite any past bitterness or resentments.

4. Have some self-honesty about your role in any disconnect or unhappiness between you. Yes even if your partner is totally to blame as you think. A relationship is a shared responsibility and any interactions require two participants. Has your part in that always been perfect?

5. Give your partner what they really need. Don’t withhold your love, compliments, respect, appreciation, attention, or sex because you are upset or think they owe you. Stop keeping score.

If you want to win the game of love, it will happen through what you give, not from demands or attempts to control the other person. What you give will ultimately come back to you, often in pleasantly surprising ways.

There are countless small ways to value and show appreciation for someone.
You could say thank you for any little thing they do. You could notice what they are doing right and compliment them. You could discover something unique about them and let them know. You could remember something amazing about them and tell them. Will you?

Do not let this one day decide the fate of your relationship.

In order for things to get better in any relationship, one person has to DO something different. Change doesn’t happen because you want it to, or hope that it will. It only happens if you decide you want something better and are willing to doing something about it.

One committed person can work wonders.

Are YOU willing to be the one to set aside your current story about your partner, and initiate repair of your relationship? Waiting on them will only bring more disappointment. And most struggling couples have had about enough of that.

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The Relationship Success Indicator

Let’s take an honest look at your current understanding about the dynamics that make for relationship success.

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