By Dr. James Cordova
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Since Arammu means love - this is easily one of our favorite holidays. We are delighted to have a day devoted to expressions of love, and our hope is that we can all continue that spirit of gratitude and generosity the other 364 days of the year. Below are our tips for making every day Valentine’s Day - with a little extra inspiration from some of the best love poets of our time, musicians!
(Bonus: clicking on the song title will bring you to the music video)
1) I Just Wanna Know You Better. If you’ve been with each other for a while, you might think you know each other better than you know yourselves. Fortunately, you don’t know each other as well as you think you do. You are always changing and growing and becoming – and so is your partner. Don’t fool yourself into thinking there is nothing more to learn about each other. Even if you think you know the answers, or used to know the answers, ask each other intimate, interesting questions (such as Art Aron’s 36 questions). This can be a fun, flirty, and surprisingly intimate practice of continuing to get to know your ever-changing and always interesting beloved other.
2) Kiss. Find a secret place and make out; whether it’s the back row of a movie theater, the backseat of your car, or a closet in your house, channel your inner teenager, grab your sweetheart, and kiss for the pure sake of kissing. Kissing can be intensely intimate and too few couples nurture the art. Nurture the art.
3) Maps. Carry your connection with your partner even while you art apart. At the beginning of the day, ask your partner what his day is going to look like and carry that map with you. Leading couples researcher, John Gottman, calls this making a love map. Send loving encouragements to one another throughout the day. “Good luck in your meeting today sweetheart! You’re going to rock it!” This will help you stay connected and let your partner know that you are thinking of her and holding her in your heart throughout the day.
4) Cheeseburger in Paradise. Share a meal. Put some preparation into packing a picnic, baking dessert, cooking dinner, or picking up your love’s favorite yummy treat. Then sit down together and literally share food with one another. Eat off of the same plate, feed each other raspberries, split an Oreo, or even try out the classic meet in the middle of a spaghetti noodle move. Since eating is something we do every day, it can begin to feel routine and automatic. Slow down this process and be mindful of your delicious meal and your loving company. This very simple, yet very intimate act of sharing food can nourish the health of your relationship. It has been said that if we truly knew about the power of giving, we would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.
5) Give a little bit. Practice giving. Sometimes giving can seem like an obligation, especially around Valentine’s Day. But rather than the obligatory roses and chocolates, practice cultivating the intention to be generous towards your partner. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, or an expensive thing, or even a thing; simply nurture the desire to give your partner something meaningful. Shift the thought, “I have to get him a gift,” to “I want to give him a gift.” That small change of one word can make a world of difference. Whether it’s bringing her a pack of gum, taking him a coffee at lunch, sending a heartfelt e-mail, or extending a soft touch, the key is that it is an expression of generosity, a gift to the connection between the two of you.
6) Killing me softly. Write each other poetry. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, Whitman, or Cummings, simply take a few moments and allow an image or a feeling to come to you. Then express it in a few simple words. Don’t judge whether it is good or bad, just true. Then make a gift of it. A few loving words can make an ordinary moment extraordinary.
Remember the time
When we danced in the kitchen
With no music
7) Say something. We can often fall into the rut of rote over-used statements such as “luv ya” - “luv ya too.” Find a different, new, authentic, heartfelt way of expressing your love, affection, and admiration, to your partner every day. This can be as simple as taking a small moment to feel it when you say it – I love you. A loving touch, a heartfelt compliment, or genuine praise and gratitude nurture us like little else does. There is no such thing as too much loving speech.
8) Love your curves and all your edges. Find a way to let your partner know that you find him/her attractive – always, over and over again. In our culture, we are barraged by messages that make us all feel less than, lacking, and ugly. And it is never true. Ever. Be a light in the darkness. Make your partner feel beautiful, gorgeous, and treasured.
9) Take Me to Church. Deep within, there is an ancient and sacred heat. Reclaim it. Reignite that passionate connection in your relationship. Let yourself fall back into your sexual chemistry and spend some time worshiping. Honor the sacredness of your partner and your relationship. Incorporate a sort of sexy playfulness together throughout your day.
10) Try a Little Kindness. We tend to be harshest with the ones we love the most. We often think that when we have been in a relationship with someone for a long time, we don’t have to be as careful with their feelings, that we can just ‘tell it as it is,’ without ‘sugar-coating it’. However, it is essential to remember that this is the one person in the whole world who is the most easily and deeply hurt by our unkindness and most nourished by our kindness.
As the Dalai Lama puts it, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”