Isn’t it strange how when you’ve just fallen in love, the object of your affection’s weird idiosyncrasies seem cute? And then, after twenty years of marriage, the way their nose twitches when they tell a funny story, the unusual way they cut their steak, or the specific way they order at a fast food drive-up window, makes you want to wallop them with a rolling pin?
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too. ;)
Interestingly, studies show that divorce isn’t usually caused by an increase in problems. It’s often caused by a decrease in positive feelings. Shelly Gable, professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has demonstrated that how you celebrate is more predictive of strong relations than how you fight.
In the early stages of a relationship, celebrations are abundant and all the feels are good. You measure anniversaries in weeks and months, cheer each other on, and rejoice over the smallest of milestones. All of these things work to overshadow the potential annoyances, coloring them as “cute.”
Take away the celebrations, and it’s not long before you start eyeing that rolling pin.
This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re looking to resuscitate a floundering relationship or just keep things humming along, don’t worry so much about the expensive displays of affection. Instead focus on flooding your relationships with the positive feelings that come from mini celebrations.
Every day for a week, hide a note for your partner that highlights one thing you appreciate about them.
Volunteer to chip in and cheerfully help them with a project they’ve been working on.
Raise a glass of wine to the little things, like the finishing up of a home improvement project, the unexpected tax refund, or the success of finally getting your infant to sleep through the night.
Start doing the fun things you used to love doing together, before life got so busy and the routine turned into a rut.
Author Anne Lamott said, “I am all the ages I’ve ever been.” That means the goofy, giddy, hormone-drenched teenager is still in there.
It’s ok to throw that kid the car keys once in a while.
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