Valentine's Day: Building better relationships

25 Jan, 2016

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your partner your love and commitment this Valentine’s Day.

Relationships WA education services coordinator Sue Aspin said it is the simpler and creative gestures that convey the sincerity of our feelings.

“Love isn’t measured by how much you spend, and it’s not necessary to put a strain on your budget for this one day,” Ms Aspin said.

“Spending time with your partner, and doing something you both enjoy can be more rewarding than an expensive gift.”

Valentine’s Day brings relationships into focus and it can be a timely trigger to examine or improve your own.

Like most aspects of our lives good relationships need maintenance and couples need to consciously steer their relationships or it may go off course.

Ms Aspin said effective communication is an important key when it comes to building a stronger, long lasting relationship and can significantly improve the quality of your everyday life as a couple

‘We often forget to tell our partner what we love about them and why we value the relationship we have.

“It may seem like a small thing but can make a world of difference.”

She said that each individual in a relationship tends to speak or act in their own different ‘love language’.

“What this means is we will do and say things for our partner in ways we would prefer.

“But when we learn to speak and act in the ways that they prefer, the message of love is so much stronger. “

While Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do something special for your partner, it’s also important to remember and celebrate the positive points about our partner and relationships throughout the year.

“It can be a good reminder that relationships need to be maintained, nurtured and valued every day – but don’t just rely on one day’s symbolic exchange,” Ms Aspin said.

“Let’s enjoy lots of great Valentine’s Days – that means February 14, March 14, April 14 and any day in between.”

Inexpensive ways to show your partner your love

  1. Re-enact your first date – if you can’t return to the exact place, try to re-create the circumstances and the romance of that first meeting. 
  2. Hand-write a book of lover’s cheques – each ‘cheque’ is for something special that you can do for your partner, who can ‘cash’ them in at any time.
  3. Organise a beach picnic – just for the two of you. Choose a private spot and pack some special treats. 
  4. Leave hidden messages in places where your partner is bound to find them, one for every year you have been together.

Tips for building a better relationship

  • Regularly set aside time to enjoy each other’s company and sharing common interests. 
  • Show appreciation for your partner and focus on his/her good qualities. Talk about your partner in positive terms to others. 
  • Listen without judgement or criticism. Effective listening is integral to a strong relationship, but certainly takes practice.
  • Have fun together. Schedule a ‘date’ night once a month, which doesn’t have to be expensive. 
  • Commit to growing as individuals and respecting each other’s differences as a couple by committing to building your relationship skills. RA offers many courses to help do this. 
  • Realise that intimacy includes a meeting of the mind, emotions and spirit, and enjoy physical closeness without necessarily moving on to sex.
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