Although Valentine’s Day can be a bit cheesy, I believe that it shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re in a relationship. I wouldn’t say it is a HUGE holiday for my husband and I, where we go over the top (not because we don’t appreciate showing love and attention to each other) but because I think we’ve done a good job of showing love for one another more than just 1 day per year.
For a lot of people though, I think Valentine’s day is a wake up call to start paying attention to your spouse and if that’s you, I encourage you to make this more than just a one time thing!
I think one thing we've made an effort to do is to make our relationship a priority no matter what day of the year it is. Having healthy relationships is one of the 4 pillars to ultimate success in your health and life and should be a priority all year long. In fact, I believe in it so much that I even incorporated healthy relationship work into my fitness programs!
After 9 1/2 years of marriage (14 years together) my husband and I have been through A LOT of ups and downs. We are far from perfect, but one thing we've learned is that our relationship HAS to be a priority or nothing else works quite as well in our lives.
For us that starts with our faith. It starts with us each having healthy relationships with God that spill over into our marriage. And when we have a healthy thriving marriage, we are able to raise healthy thriving and happy children. We're able to pursue career goals with integrity and we're able to take care of our own health goals because we're in a better state of mind as leaders of our home. You can do all the workouts you want but if you're not feeling GOOD in your relationships, you're truly missing a piece of the puzzle.
A couple years ago we were inspired as a couple to do a relationship challenge called 31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke (which I highly recommend). That spurred a conversation for us about keeping our relationship top of mind 365 days a year. Of course there's times when we fall off, get in a funk but we try really hard to appreciate the little things about one another.
We've realized how important it is to do special things for each other and make one another a priority even when it’s not a "special occasion." It has really helped us stay close, grow together and appreciate one another even through challenging times.
After having babies we realized how easy it was to neglect our marriage because of sheer exhaustion and lack of time and we knew we had to be super mindful of that. We started making time for regular date nights (preferably out) but sometimes just a hang out night on the couch with some ice cream (without kids or distractions) we considered "our time."
These things have become standard for us even through the thick of struggles and it's really helped us stay grounded and on the same page. Whenever we get in a funk in our relationship it's typically because we neglected to take time to connect with God OR time to connect with each other (sans kiddos).
I think despite having the same ups and downs that every relationship has, we have continued to fall more in love and have a GREAT relationship because we’ve learned to do these 3 things:
1. Encourage each other daily. When you think something you should SAY it. “I love your hair like that.” or “You are such an amazing Dad.” or “I’m so thankful for your hard work to help support our family.” or “You are so good at your job I know you’re going to crush this presentation.” can go a LONG LONG way to encourage your spouse. The little things we give compliments on or encourage one another in, truly are a daily foundation for us to lift one another up in love.
2. Acts of service - showing love in unconventional ways I think is important as well. Things like writing your man a little love note and leaving it for them in their car as a surprise or making them their favorite dinner “just because”, truly let them know you are thinking of them and care.
3. Constantly pursuing each other - Remember when you first started dating your spouse? Did you ever go more than a week without a date? Most likely not! I know we could barely go a day or two without seeing each other in those first couple years of dating. Even if it were a movie night in, we always dated and pursued one another. That shouldn’t stop just because we’re married! We have recently made a commitment to do weekly date nights. It’s not always easy to find time or a sitter but nonetheless we know it's SO important that we get time together each week. We believe that if we want to raise a happy and healthy home that our relationship needs to be TOP priority.
4. Escaping yearly. We are also committed to getting away together (without kids) at least 1x per year. We really believe this is super important to getting on the same page. It’s important to have fun and engage (undistracted) for longer periods of time with your spouse more regularly. Otherwise we can get lost in our busy lives and our relationship can fall to the waist side.
I really believe committing to these 4 things really helps bring back a spark in a relationship, keeps it fresh and truly makes your spouse feel super super loved and special. Even the happiest of marriages can use work, just like a workout plan your relationship is a muscle that you constantly have to be working and growing in new ways or it can plateau. What plans do you have for Valentine’s Day? How will you show your man love this year and how will you keep that going 365 days per year?