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Valentine’s Day – An Anxiety-Ridden Hallmark Holiday, or Relationship Booster?

Posted on: Monday, February 6th, 2017

It’s February, and with the continued cold weather and short days, comes the much anticipated (and sometimes dreaded) holiday of love… Valentine’s Day. Advocates of the holiday can’t wait to consume copious amounts of chocolate, share hugs and kisses with their partner, and reflect on the good times of their current romantic relationship. Critics of the holiday, on the other hand, view Valentine’s Day as a fictional event steeped in consumerism and unoriginality that can cause unnecessary anxiety or conflict. But regardless of your views on Valentine’s Day, the holiday itself can act as a much-needed reminder for couples to assess the status of their current relationship.

 

So, can Valentine’s Day help couples and their relationships?

When you imagine a typical Valentine’s Day date, candlelit dinners, boxes of chocolates, roses, and presents come to mind. But is there more to the romantic holiday than exchanging gifts and candy? According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, the holiday actually has the potential to strengthen a couple’s healthy relationship!

Valentine’s Day can often remind couples of their initial love and affection from early on in their relationship. By bringing up old memories and feelings from the past, the holiday can spark thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in individuals that enhance their perception of their relationship and partner! Additionally, relationships where the individuals often express their gratitude and admiration for their partner are more likely to report happier and healthier relationships during Valentine’s Day.

 

When Valentine’s Day can go wrong:

Unfortunately, the holiday of love doesn’t always end up reaffirming relationships. If you or your partner are struggling with anxiety surrounding intimacy, feeling tied down or smothered, are often annoyed by the other, or dwell on insignificant problems, there could be trouble on the horizon. The increase in themes of intimacy, love, and closeness around Valentine’s Day can have a negative impact on people with these tendencies, causing them to withdraw and further focus on negative aspects of the relationship instead of celebrating the positives!

 

What can you do to help strengthen your relationship?

Is the nearing approach of Valentine’s Day bringing up some unresolved feelings or anxiety surrounding your current relationship? Not to worry! Couples often encounter problems managing conflict, maintaining their intimate spark, and keeping things fun. Just know that you are not alone, and there are ways to overcome these difficulties.

  • Communicate with your partner, and use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to spend some quality time together and bond. Go beyond the gifts and the candy, and use the time together to really reflect on the positives of your relationship in a personal way.
  • Reach out to your friends and family for support. Maintaining a strong support network is essential for you and your partner’s well-being!
  • Get in touch with us at Journey Counselling for some professional support! Our psychologists are very passionate about what they do, and have expertise in relationship counselling to help you and your partner overcome a wide variety of struggles.

 

Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year and although it may see you celebrating your love or confronting certain issues, it’s not the be all and end all. It’s how you celebrate your love for one another the other 364 days in a year that truly matters!

 

(Source: Chopik, W. J., Wardecker, B. M., & Edelstein, R. S. (2014). Be Mine: Attachment avoidance predicts perceptions of relationship functioning on Valentine’s Day. Personality and Individual Differences, 63, 47-52. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.01.035)

 

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