Posts Tagged ‘Valentines Day’

Four Ways to express Gratitude in your Relationship

February 20, 2014

Join us February 21-24 for our next Getting the Love you Want weekend couples workshop. Learn more and register on our website.

Just because Valentine’s Day is over, it doesn’t mean that you should stop expressing gratitude to your partner. Read what researcher Amie Gordon has  to say about the powerful impact gratitude has on our intimate relationships.

Re-posted from the University of California, Berkeley Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

It’s easy to take loved ones for granted. But my research says couples who are grateful to and for each other tend to be happier and are more likely to stay together.  Try these four science-based tips to make sure you get the most out of your acts of kindness.

1. Focus on giving, not getting

It is easy to think about all the nice things our partner will get and do for us on Valentine’s Day. But to make the most of the day, think of February 14th as a day to show your partner how much you care.

Studies have found that giving to others makes us happier than spending time and money on ourselves; my own research shows that giving as a way to express gratitude is likely to help your partner see how great you are and want to do something nice to express gratitude in return.

By focusing on giving and being grateful instead of on getting, you may find that both of you get more in the end.

2. Give them what they want

There is a disconnect between what we want as gift givers and what we want as recipients.

Research finds that when we set out to buy a gift or do something nice for someone else, we tend to think that the more money and time we spend, the better our gift will be. But when we think about what we want to receive as a gift, the price doesn’t matter as much—we are most happy just getting what we want.

Trying to surprise your partner with something she didn’t even know she wanted might feel more special to you, but to maximize gratitude, it is best to give a gift on Valentine’s Day that reflects your partner’s wishes. If you know that your partner loves the simple things like chocolates and flowers, give your partner chocolates and flowers, even if you think that’s silly and you should buy them something expensive instead.

The more your acts of kindness reflect your partner’s wishes and desires (even if they come off an Amazon wish list), the more thoughtful those gifts will be perceived to be—and thoughtful acts promote the most gratitude.

3. Do something unexpected

Expectations are the bane of gratitude. When people expect an act of kindness, such as on Valentine’s Day, they are less grateful for it.

To maximize gratitude on a day filled with high expectations, try doing something unexpected. If you never cook, then make your partner breakfast (if you know that is something he likes). If you don’t like to go out, plan a weekend away. Or surprise your partner with a sweet gift or act of kindness on another day, when expectations are low.

But beware: When people expect an act of kindness and don’t receive it, they tend to feel resentful. So if you know Valentine’s Day is important to your partner, it is best not to neglect it completely!

4. Say “thanks” for who they are

Expressing gratitude when your partner does something nice can go a long way toward boosting your relationship—but to really capitalize on the gratitude, it is best to express your thanks in a way that let’s your partner know you are as grateful for them as you are for their gift.

Sure you love those striped socks your partner got you. But rather than just gushing over how excited you are to try them on, mention how much you appreciate that your partner knows you well enough to pick out a great gift for you, and how he or she always seems to be so good at getting you exactly what you want.

The bottom line: Focusing on your partner—and not just their act of kindness—can help you remember how great they are and help them feel truly appreciated.

Dare ya:

Send your partner an email or text telling them one reason you are grateful to have them in your life. It covers all four categories!

Enjoy !


The greatest Valentine’s Day gift ever!! Quality time together

February 11, 2013

Don’t let your job or the kids or volunteer work or time with friends and extended family interfere with your committed relationship.

Many couples today find that being together doesn’t guarantee that they will have quality time with one another. If you are both busy, you have to plan to spend time together. Here are some ideas.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

What you need:  commitment and a calendar!

Here’s How:

  1. Schedule a weekend just for the two of you. Write it on your calendar, put it on your computer planner, etc. Don’t change it for any other event. You don’t have to go anywhere.
  2. Have lunch together once a week. On nice days, meet in a park.
  3. Let your children know that you two need time alone together. Tell them they can knock on your closed bedroom door only if there is blood.
  4. Walk around the block together.
  5. Do chores together like the dishes or weeding. It may not sound like quality time, but it can be.
  6. When you are running errands together, turn off the radio or CD player in the car and talk with one another.
  7. Take showers together.
  8. Spend 20 minutes a day in daily Imago dialogue. “How do I feel about today?” is a standard dialogue question. Remember, dialogue is a gift you give to one another. However, it is a gift with no strings attached.
  9. Arrange for a quiet evening at home alone once a month.
  10. Hire a babysitter to watch the kids for a couple hours even though you are home. This works wonders!
  11. Work out a deal with another couple to have them watch your kids overnight so you can have a romantic evening alone … then you watch their children for them.
  12. Schedule dates with one another. Having an evening or afternoon out together twice a month is a good beginning.
  13. Think about coming to one of Imago Vancouver’s updates for graduates of the Getting the Love You Want workshops.
  14. When you travel together, don’t take work on the plane or road trip. Spend that time talking with each other.
  15. Have a one-night stand with each other.

Bottom line: if you don’t schedule time for one another, you won’t have the time.

Dare ya –

What are you going to do to schedule a quality time date with your beloved? (Remember don’t wait for your partner to do it. You do it. Life happens while you are waiting).

Yours truly on Valentines 2013,


How to put meaning back into Valentines Day

February 12, 2012

Here we are again….Valentines Day is almost upon us!

It doesn’t matter if you are married, dating, engaged, in a committed partnership or newly in love. Whether in a relationship or not, Valentines Day impacts most of us.  When it comes to V Day there are bound to be as many experiences as there are different kinds of relationships,  I am sure most of us have  been through highs and lows; some memorable, some we may wish to forget; this one coming up, are you looking forward to it?

What is V Day  really about?

What does it mean to you?

Is it just a plot set up by corporations to make money off of us?

Why does it often feel like a let down?

How can we make it a day of real meaning?

How can it be the day you really want it to be?

What do you think about these questions? (why not send us a response and tell us?)

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it.

I think it is great to mark a day a year and celebrate love and relationship, commitment and romance. Making  Feb 14th special is wonderful as long as it  turns out wonderful.

I hope this post will give you an idea of how to make it memorable in a good way!

Unfortunately, too often I hear folks complain of being let down. Why does this happen? I think it comes from having hopes that are not met or wanting a partner to do something or say something that does not happen or if it does it’s just not quite right.  Then comes the sadness, the discouragement or worse.

Seems like too many couples nearing Feb 14 come to it with this thing called…it begins with e and is followed by_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s. That’s right expectations (for those of you not good with words clues).

What is this about? I think we want so much for our partner to be a certain way towards us or do a certain something and it never feels good enough.  Even more confusing is when they do it only once a year  so we are  even more  disappointed about the other 364 days. Valentines Day can be a real set up!

How can we change this???

Seems to me what we all really want is to connect with our lover and feel special. My suggestion is, why not keep it simple and put real meaning into it?

Let’s face it, we all want to feel appreciated and loved! Ask yourself how can I express this to my partner so it will really land? How can I do a few small and meaningful behaviours that will promote connection and help my partner feel loved?

Dare ya!

(Here are some ideas to get you started):

First off…REMEMBER IT IS ABOUT THE OTHER 364 DAYS OF THE YEAR! Yes keep it special on the 14th but why not generalize it to the rest of the year. Don’t we all want to keep it fresh and full of surprises all year round? It really is the little things that matter. Telling your partner what they want to hear is way better than a box of chocolates or roses!

Give your partner what they want not what you want to give them. Forget the lingerie if your partner doesn’t love it, why not come home early, put the kids to bed make a nice dinner and give your partner a massage? Oh yeah, clean up the kitchen too.

Send a sweet and sexy email or text more than 3 times in the day on the 14th.

Tell your partner what first attracted you to them and DO NOT make it brief, make it LONG!

Make a compilation of music your partner loves, include songs from the beginning of your relationship, special times together, relationship milestones.

Make a card, DO NOT BUY ONE….include a beautiful poem, “How Do I Love Thee” is tried and true!

Watch a movie genre you do not like but your partner does and ENJOY it.

Flood your partner with positive appreciations that tells them how much they mean to you.

Tell us what you have planned so we can add more ideas to this!

Yours truly,



Valentines Day…..Again

February 14, 2010

geishaboy500 / Flickr

Well folks here it is again, the day of…well, what is it to you?

This is what people tell me, and I must confess, I have thought all of these myself:

A capitalist plot. A day filled with love and gratitude. A big letdown day highlighted by unfulfilled needs and yearnings. An excuse to receive and eat chocolate.  An important day to deeply share in connection with your partner. A day in which there is some focus on romance and a good dinner out. A day a little more special than most.  The one day a year you are likely to feel really disappointed.  A day to just try to ignore.

All of these can be true depending on where your relationship is at in the present moment. It is a complex day because many people assign such significance to it and are sadly let down. Why?

I think it’s expectations.

C’mon, admit it. Don’t we all just wanna be that special someone to our partner and when our hopes and needs aren’t met just the way we want, we come crashing down, feeling hurt and rejected.


Sister72 / Flickr

Here’s what I propose: DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO GO THERE. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, have a set of unrealistic expectations you want your partner to meet (especially if you don’t even tell them what they are) and then feel terrible because they haven’t been met. And then do not, and I repeat DO NOT, go off and have a temper tantrum (quiet or loud) because once again you feel let down and just plain crappy about your love life.

Save yourself the heartache and instead try….

  • Focusing on the GIVING. Put your energy into giving something to your partner you know he or she will appreciate. Make it small and meaningful.
  • Do not let any money exchange hands to gift this.
  • Make it an unconditional gift and experience how it feels to do this in a mature way!

Get the picture? If you need some ideas here they are:

  • A massage.
  • A card you have made with a message from you about what you are grateful for about your partner.
  • A note you have made with a sweet poem you have found in a book or on the internet.
  • Sitting them down and telling them 6 things you really appreciate about them.
  • If you have kids, allow your partner to sleep in. Make breakfast for the family.
  • Try a new recipe for dinner and remember the candles on the table.
  • Ask to go for a walk and have fun: do not bring up a complaint!

Send me other ideas and we’ll add them to the list.

Keep it simple and keep it real!

Dare ya –

Work with yourself to stretch and grow-up a little more. Mentally prepare yourself to GIVE unconditionally and notice how this feels. In order to do this it takes real emotional preparation because you will be using your big brain. Your limbic system will not like it one little bit. Be curious and relax. I know you can do it!!!!!