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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Valentine’s Day: How to Make it Personal this Year

Uploaded: Feb 4, 2022
Expectations surrounding Valentine’s Day can turn an opportunity to give and be given love and care (which we all need daily) into a pressure-cooker.

I invite you to revisit the 5 Love Languages, and plan accordingly this year. You can take the online quiz here if you haven’t already, or it's been a long while. Be aware the questions may seem very basic; however, the results are worth relationship gold.

Instead of jewelry, roses and chocolates for her, and boots, cologne, or devices for him, create a special day for each other based on your love languages. When you give in your partner’s love language, and not your own, his or her love tank gets filled. It may be an uncomfortable stretch for you to give in your partner’s language. I implore you to do it anyway! I believe in your ability to do so.

The 5 Love Languages are:
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Touch
- Acts of Service
- Gifts

Each love language has a wide range of options to consider. I want you to be creative and thoughtful. Here are a few examples to get you thinking of options:

- Quality Time can be an hour spent doing one of your favorite things together (hiking, listening to music, cooking together, going for a drive to a favorite spot, etc.) to having an entire day or weekend together (sleeping in, great lovemaking, going to art galleries, etc.). For many people, having uninterrupted time to talk (not about work or kids) is quality time.

- Words of Affirmation include everything from “Thanks for doing the laundry” to “I think you’re an amazing person” [and give several specific examples. Here are a few:

o You are a good wo/man; I see it in your care for not only me and our family, but how you helped our friend when his car broke down.
o You’re a good partner: You have my best interests at heart and you encourage me in my dreams, especially when I’m struggling a bit.
o Thank you for being there when I need you, and for being there to enjoy our time together.

- Touch includes everything from holding hands, to a caress in passing, to hugging (especially belly to belly for two minutes), to sitting super close together, to massaging one another, putting lotion on each other, washing one another in the shower, to sex.

- Acts of Service has a wide range, too. A cup of coffee in bed, taking on his or her least favorite household chores, taking the car in for service, planning dates, vacations, and such. Making dinner isn’t just cooking; it’s planning the meal, going shopping, bringing in and putting away groceries, cooking, setting the table. Planning is a huge act of service.

- Gifts can be in a range from small to medium to tremendous. Think about what s/he wants that would be special. It can be a feather you found on a walk that makes you think of your beloved, to a book you think s/he’ll like, to a gift you know s/he’s been wanting but hasn’t treated him or herself to. Choose a gift that speaks to the essence of your beloved.

Use your imagination. Share ideas here, please, since you all have a wealth of them.

I recommend you discuss having a different Valentine’s Day plan based on the 5 Love Languages. Being explicit and setting mutual expectations always makes things better.

In the end, all we need is to be seen, heard, understood, and loved with all of our quirks. Mirroring that to one another makes you a big person.

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