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  • Tim Mallory

Better Relationships Beyond Valentine's Day – Stop Dreaming and Set Goals

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Valentine’s Day is 14 days away. To add further pressure: Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year. Logistically, this can be a problem with work/kid schedules.

Just like this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a lot of pressure on couples to “make up for” last year. Let this be an opportunity to manage expectations and consider a year-round approach to celebrating love. As I wrote in a previous post:

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spoil your partner because it’s Valentine’s Day, but aside from extra hearts and diamond store commercials, it is really just another night. An equally exciting date is possible any other night of the year, and it is never too late to take steps toward improving your relationship.

Unlike the depictions of effortless, breathless romance on screen, real life requires consistent and intentional effort to sustain connection. Fortunately, the efforts are worthwhile, as real-life connections are infinitely deeper and fulfilling than any show or movie can portray. Here are a few resources to consider:

Gottman Card Decks - Each deck offers a different category of questions designed for open-ended discussion. Whether you want to learn more about each other’s personality, professional aspirations, or wildest fantasies, these cards offer fun prompts to start unforgettable conversations.

5 Love Languages Quiz – This short questionnaire will help you (and your partner!) learn how to prioritize giving love in the most effective way, ranking your preferences of Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Gifts. You may be surprised by your results!

Daily Appreciations - Unspoken appreciation is unheard appreciation.

Therapy – If you want support for growth and change, maybe this is the year you explore therapy for yourself (you are half of every relationship!) or as a couple. Clarify your personal and relationship goals with an unbiased perspective, let go of what has held you back, and step into a new way of being.

The life/relationship of your dreams is within your reach, regardless of the calendar date. Let this be the year you decide what you want, make a plan, and go get it.

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