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Welcome to WayPoint Counselling and Referral Centre’s February 2015 newsletter. As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us who have been in longterm relationships may be wondering, yet again, what do we do for Valentine’s Day? Is it even worth it? We’ve been together for so long, that Valentine’s Day simply doesn’t apply to our relationship. Once folks are in longterm, committed relationships, a lot of thing get taken for granted. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another obligatory celebration without meaning or uniqueness. Indeed, it may offer an opportunity to recapture and remember why you are together in the first place!
If there is one single characteristic that makes a relationship really work well, it is likely because of the friendship you have, or once had, with your partner. Relationships remain special, fun and vibrant over the longterm because of the initial friendship you likely started with so many years ago. Make no mistake, these committed relationships also have the characteristics of shared values, similar goals and objectives for life and family, shared interests, mutual respect for one another, an overwhelming love for the children, as well as an attraction to one another. Yet, even with all these qualities and characteristics, none guarentee keeping your love for one another.
When you are good friends first, so many of the trivial matters seem to take care of themselves, or are percieved relative to the bigger picutre. After all, friends support one another. Friends are kind, patient, making allowances for each other’s quirks and imperfections, generally communicate well with each other, and are particularly good listeners. Even though friends can be serious with one another, mostly they enjoying having fun and laughing together. Friends maintain a connection, sharing in good times, and being there for one another during the difficult times.
On this Valentine’s Day, remind yourself of how you and your partner initially became friends, and what it was that brought you together. Even if you started off as lovers, you most likely became friends somewhere along the way. Refresh your memories and experiences of this. As a goal for moving forward in time with your relationship and partner, treat your partner as you would your best friend. Treat your partner with the same kindness, patience, appreciation, and respect you would your best friend. If at any point, you find yourself unsure of what to do or how to act, quietly ask yourself, “If this was my very best friend ever, how would I respond and how would I act?”
All to often, people will decribe their partner as their best friend, however, it would seem that they do not back their statement with thougths, feelings, and behaviours that are consistent with this claim. And in many instances, folks will treat their partners’ in ways that completely contradict this. Many individuals treat their partners with jealousy, imposing expectations and demands, without appreciation, respect or sensitivity. Sadly, a lot of people treat their partners as if they owned them, and seem much more interested in the image of the relationship, rather than the actual health and welfare of the relationship itself.
So, this Valentine’s Day, rather than spending time and money on another box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers, revisit the friendship you have with your partner. Here’s an idea to revisit the marital friendship;
- Recall and talk about how the two of you first met.
- What was it about your partner that first made them stand out?
- What were your first impressions?
- Think about the time that you were dating, what do you remember? What stands out the most? What were some of the highlights?
- What types of things did you do together?
- How did you go about deciding to partner with this person?
- If you are married, share with each other your memories of that day and your honeymoon.
- When you think back on your first year together, what do you remember most?
- Looking back, what are the most cherished memories? What moments really stand out as great times?
- What about the tough times? What do you think kept you together this long?
- Lastly, consider digging out the photo albums and flipping through those as a way to reclaim some of those forgotten, yet treasured, times together.
When the friendship is made a relationship priority, you and your partner will have an easier time finding your way to the middle, sharing in each others aspirations and dreams without feeling resentful or that you are are making too many sacrifices.
Happy Valentine’s Day from WayPoint Counselling and Referral Centre.