Valentine's Day invites us to ask:
How is our relationship doing? Is there any spark left? Is it the sanctuary against life's storms we dream it to be? Can we safely express positive emotions to each other?
Regardless of the testing and evaluative questions we ask ourselves, remember that there are some deep wishes underneath them, like the wish to be appreciated and cherished by our life partner...Now, we need to build some bridges in order to get appreciation from our emotionally distant spouse. Let me explain!
One of the aspects most men express when they complain about their love relationships, is that they can’t read our minds, and therefore they don’t know what we women want... Is this another excuse, or there is some truth to it?
While there could be a small truth into the complaint, we can use that bit of information to our advantage, this St Valentine's Day. This year, instead of passively waiting for him to react, you are going to change the strategy and actually ‘help’ him, by clearly expressing what you would like your Valentine to be..
THIS IS YOUR PLAN OF ACTION:
1. Decide what outcome you want, either a gift, or an outing such as a dinner invitation. Rule: keep it simple and within his reach.
2. We tell you how to present the plan to him below; let him the chance to take on the idea.. and change a little aspect of it
3. Express gratitude whatever is his reaction.. Act as he agrees even if he does not answer you...Don't get bitter resentful or sardonic, be neutral or positive.
4. Repeat, each time adding more details.. And keep acting as it is a fact; if you need to go ahead and book the restaurant yourself, please go ahead, book it and tell him.
PRESENTING THE PLAN: FOR starters, we will keep an unbeatable positive attitude:
Women are more likely to start a dispute when they request immediate change, while their men will tend to withdraw, avoid and stonewall their partners. This communication style is self-perpetuating: As you continue to make demands, (and the list keeps growing) he withdraws further and goes into the silent treatment....Now, we know what to avoid!
We are more likely than men to bring up our change needs by raising a negative topic, criticizing our partners. Even if you're dying to tell him exactly what he did wrong last St. Valentine’s day, STOP! and focus instead on explaining how to do it right and why that's important for you both.
You are going to make it a positive, specific request, and avoid "you never" or "you always" (no matter how many times we hear this advice, we always seem to forget it when we're frustrated).
Instead of: "You never remember to give me a little surprise for Valentine’s Day,"
Try saying: "It would really make me feel great if you plan some outing for us in Valentine’s Day, doing something we never did before. I know it takes a bit of effort, but your dedication would make my Valentine Day a thousand times better."
If you don’t want an outing, but some appreciation token, try saying: “It would really make me feel loved if you write me a nice card telling me why I’m important for you...and deliver it together with this book I’m wishing to read.”
If what you want is a precise gift from store X, say: “It would really make me feel appreciated if you can get for me the product X (name the perfume, at.... name the store) ...and please, bring it with a nice card so I can take it with me in my purse around...?”
And, whatever he delivers, be sure to appreciate it. If you don’t like the gift, appreciate the intention....but BE appreciative, so next years he remembers how you made him feel and delivers even better. Giving appreciation for his effort would be a welcome change in the relationship, and can have long-lasting impact in the way you treat each other. If this idea sounds too Pollyanna for you, get ready to fight frustration with Plan B.
NOW, PLAN B: (hidden at the bottom of the post!) We know that we have been disappointed too many times, right? Let's say that you have a dignified, decent invitation for him prepared (see above). And somehow, he manages to frustrate you! Don't lose your calm, keep smiling and pat yourself in the back, because you have Plan B! What can you do? prepare your own Valentine celebration!!! Have ready the gift you wish to receive, call the restaurant you wish to know and book a table one day later; strategize with your friends which is the spa more exciting, and book it one day after St Valentin day....You get the idea: You are in charge of pampering yourself, regardless of what you receive from the male part of the couple. And, you can be creative too: organize a loving celebration for the women relatives and friends of your life! Have a party and appreciate each other...So you take the sting out of Valentine's Day and it becomes a celebration of all the self-love swirling around you, ready to make you happy!