Valentine’s Day was a bust. I felt unimportant and ignored and now I am noticing all of the things I can’t stand about my husband. I feel really disconnected from him and I’m realizing I’ve felt this way for quite a while. How do I get him to show me more love?
Signed, Victim of Valentine’s
Dear Victim of Valentine’s,
I’m sorry to hear the holiday was so disappointing and has amplified your dissatisfaction with your husband. I encourage you to not put too much stake in one day. More important than Valentine’s Day is how well you and your husband can show your love, compassion, and appreciation for each other every other day of the year.
I suggest you first work on your part of the relationship. Let’s pretend you have been wearing “grey glasses.” They have helped you identify lots of things you don’t like and you have lots of good data about areas to change. Now I want you to put on your “rose glasses.” Notice what you like about your husband. Look for loving, sweet, wonderful actions and characteristics. If you need to, keep a written list of things you notice. Once this data has had some small impact and you feel any kind of softening, talk with your husband about how you’d like to feel more connected.
I encourage you to come from a place of hope and not from a place of criticism. “I would like us to spend time each night cuddling by the fire before bed” sounds so much better than “Why don’t you ever make time for me?” People tend to respond better when they feel desired, rather than put down. See if your husband would be up for creating a little more space for connection. You can also ask if he might be up for a weekly or bi-monthly “couples meeting” where you two can intentionally focus on creating a different dynamic in your relationship. It’s like a pleasant staff meeting for your marriage.
I have a clear outline and agenda for a couples meeting in my “Assignments for Couples” Workbook. It also has other fun assignments that might help you and your husband reconnect. I also wrote a companion book, “The Five Secrets to Better Communication” that is short enough for even the busiest of us to read in one sitting. It’s a great way to become more aware of how we communicate and helps us to make the most out of every day interactions. Both of the books are very affordable and can be found on Amazon.
Even though you didn’t get the love and gifts you were hoping for on Valentine’s Day, I hope you and your husband will give each other the gift of time and attention to your marriage. With a little energy and focus, you can create a wonderful connection that will be better than any box of chocolates or bouquet of roses.
I look forward to hearing how things go,
Shelby Riley, LMFT is the owner of Shelby Riley, LMFT and Associates, LLC. She is currently the Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (PAMFT). Remember to check out Shelby’s website www.shelbyrileymft.com for useful information about therapy for individuals, couples, and families.