It’s baaaaaack! Valentine’s Day is upon us! Love is in the air again!
I don’t know about you but my inbox has been replete with cupids, candy, flowers and sexy lingerie ads ever since Xmas ended…‘tis yet another season for the urge to splurge, I believe- another opportunity to demonstrate our feelings for each other! However, this time the stakes seem higher as the spotlight shines on romance, love, and desire.
And, although joyfully anticipated by many couples as the official romantic holiday of the year, for many others February 14 is frowned upon as the commercialization of love or worse- the dreaded, socially-imposed scheduled day of pressure and disappointment- even heartbreak, loneliness and rejection. Either way, whether we celebrate it or denounce it, Valentine’s Day indelibly reminds us of love, relationships, passion, and, if partnered… our connection.
Or lack of.
Personally, I think few things in life are more important than enriching our relationships. I also think V-day can serve as a good reminder to re-evaluate -even remedy- our love partnerships, as in give our relationships a critical thinking over. Why? Because happy and healthy relationships are not self-sustaining and require continued effort. How? Mostly through gratitude and good communication, as in conversation.
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
True Love Begins With
Sharing What’s Important to YOU!
Conversations can actually help us stay on track, navigate challenges and reconnect with each other more consciously. In fact, when put to regular practice, holding conversations can pull us out of routine, ruts and complacency and even help refine and bring back creativity and curiosity to our couple life.
Heartened by a new way of being
I often encourage my couples to begin their conversations by taking a sentimental snapshot of their relationship…you know, as in reflecting on the good times of our past. “Remember when…” is a great segue into a loving conversation. Or, if feeling stuck in your relationship, taking a look at how your relationship has changed by contemplating with your partner, “We’ve been stuck. I’ve noticed it and I think you have, too. We’re in a rut and I’m wondering how we got here”. The fact is that we all do have a history together, and if we take the time to remind ourselves of the journey, especially the happy times, we stand to increase our intimacy and work on our weak spots together, too. Intimacy is like a true knowing of both self and other. I think most of us want to experience this type of bond with our loved one.
So this year, instead of following the crowd, how about you skip the roses and chocolate, and make the day about your couple connection, as in talking and listening kindly to each other in conversation. It can be a sweet start to a rich dialogue and can lead to a whole new discovery about who you each are, what you long for and even help you make a heart-felt connection.
Perhaps this Valentine’s day, follow your heart, and get reacquainted instead.
*a romantic dinner for two becomes dinner for four, with feelings of closeness snuffed out by accompanying smartphone buzzes, chimes and check-ins on social media
*an overworked professional -and parent- is made to be available at all times, tethered to their digital gadgets, often bringing work home and on vacation, much to their own detriment and family life
*a teenager breaks up over a text message, avoiding taking proper responsibility for the relationship: removed from coping with heartache which is an essential part of being human and healthy communication
*a mother interrupts her playing children just to take a family selfie in hope of getting several ‘likes” from her Facebook friends
*a husband habitually turns himself “off” from his wife in bed by turning “on” his tablet instead
There’s a term for these type of encounters and it’s called: technoference. Moreover, these concerns add to the growing body of psychological research exploring the overuse and reliance on technology, especially how it is interfering with our daily lives and relationships. In my line of work, it’s one of the hot-button issues facing couples today. In fact, phubbing -or the repeated act of ignoring or snubbing someone by looking at your phone instead of paying attention to the person you’re with- has become the latest phenomenon in couple conflict and communication.
Message Communicated- Message Received
It seems everyone is staring at some kind of screen these days...and believe me the irony isn’t lost on me as I write this article. However, happy relationships- whether romantic or platonic- are all about authentic face-to-face connection. Fundamentally, we are social creatures whose lives depend on our connections to one another. Most of us are not aware that it’s the history of our meaningful interactions with one another which takes a hit each time we ask more from technology and less from each other. Nor do we realize that we starve our capacity for empathy...quite literally, as our brain becomes neurologically famished, no longer receiving signals required for relational responses and bonding. Human connection brings meaning and purpose into our lives. Significant relationships are not self-sustaining. They require uninterrupted time, shared experiences, affectionate touch, attention -as in the human “look them in the eyes” kind. Consistently choosing your phone over your partner sends the implicit message about what you value most. Do the math: the more time we spend with our gadgets, the less time we make for each other. Digital communications do not build deeper connections...people do.
So, it is in our best interest to set aside time where we unplug and connect with what really matters. It’s not about being anti-technology, it’s about being pro- conversation. Today, world-wide, we are webbed in technology, let’s just make sure we don’t feel like we’re worlds apart when it comes to our loving relationships.
originally published in Ya Magazine (Vol. 2, Issue 3)
Hi, I'm Lydia- a modern-day warrior of the heart with a mission to reconcile the mystery and mastery of Love.