I'm not super big on Valentine's Day. It's not that I'm bitter about anything. I'm not a "love hater" or even a Hallmark hater. It just comes and goes so fast and now that I've got three kids, its more about making sure they have something cute to open than it is about decorating and going out for dinners and whatnot. Shoot, I'm so tired from taking care of the kids all day long and my hubby is tired from work that neither of us really have the energy to even go out at night. I end up chugging coffee to stay awake on the date and then I'm so wired for the rest of the night that I can't sleep. Ahh... to go back to those days of dating...
I thought I'd share five tips that we have for keeping the flame alive, for maintaining that spark and connection as friends/lovers/parents/spouses while dealing with children and life and all the rest that comes along with it. Things that we've learned over the years that really help. It's easy to fall into a routine in your relationship and that routine is dangerous. Keeping things upbeat and interesting and fun is so crucial.
1) Have hobbies together. Find something that the two of you can do together that you both enjoy and look forward to. Try to make it something that only you two can do. With out the kids. My parents, for example, ride motorcycles. They each have their own bikes and pick out their own parts and accessories for their motorcycles. They also take some pretty awesome trips together. I love that they use these trips as "dates".
4) Sometimes, the best way to say "I love you" is to just keep your mouth shut. I'm STILL learning this one. And I mess it up almost every time. But when I DO get it right, its amazing how much power is behind not saying anything. My husband is so much better at it than I am. There are SO many times when he could have said, "I told you so" but didn't. He has had more than one opportunity to put his two cents in when I'm ranting about a family member that has hurt me but instead of agreeing with me and just fueling my angry fire, he lovingly sits there and listens. When I'm PMSing and just start moaning and groaning, he doesn't tell me to be quiet or ask me if I need a midol. He either ignores me or uses quiet, short sentences with me. I'm not as good at it yet as he is... but really. You don't always have to say anything at all and sometimes it's safer and healthier not to.
Happy Valentine's Day.