Valentine’s Day can come with a lot of expectations. Many people have emotional positive expectations of a desired perfect Valentine’s Day, and negative expectations from past dashed expectations. The media tells us that it is a special day to feel special, and we should be celebrating with someone special. Furthermore, it implies that if we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, or if we don’t have anyone to celebrate with, then we are at risk of not feeling special.
Wouldn’t it be healthier and more realistic if we felt special on days other than Valentine’s Day? And then that this “special” day was a continuation or a celebration of what we already felt? Shouldn’t we celebrate each other’s specialness daily and if not daily, at least more regularly to nurture that specialness?
With that in mind, I encourage couples to use this day as an opportunity to do a relationship check-up and “rewrite their relationship love script”. This activity is a check-in on how the relationship and the individual needs of each partner are evolving, as well as a discussion and plan for the future. Regularly having these discussions builds healthy communication in your relationship, helps each partner celebrate each others “specialness” and can reduce the risk of relationship dysfunction, and perhaps even a break-up.
Couples Activity: Rewriting Your Relationship Love Script
Love can be enduring, but compatibility on the other hand, is a whole other story. There is so much work involved in maintaining a compatible relationship. There are many couples who have ‘fallen out of love’, but care for their partner as a friend. This is often because they did not tune into how their relationship was evolving, how they were evolving as individuals, and as a result there was a build-up of hurt and resentment.
When you are Rewriting Your Relationship Love Script you essentially are checking-in on three important questions:
- How are my needs and habits evolving?
- How are my partner’s needs and habits evolving?
- How is our relationship handing and addressing our individual evolution of growth and change?
If one of these questions gets less attention than the other, your love script will begin to dwell in imbalance. That state can put you on the slippery slope towards dysfunction and perhaps even, a break-up.
8 Ways to Rewrite Your Relationship Love Script
Pop culture keeps us chasing the latest trends, the hottest gadget, and yes… even the perfect relationship. In reality, the ‘perfect relationship’ doesn’t exist. It’s important to embrace the process, it’s where all the memories are created. Discuss each of your evolving expectations with your partner and acknowledge which ones are unrealistic expectations of what you envision to be characteristics of a ‘perfect relationship’.
Love at first sight is wonderful, but is it sustainable? Rarely, at best. In reality, it’s most productive to accept that both partners will continue to change and evolve. Discuss each of your evolving needs in the relationship so each of you can accept the changes. Such acceptance creates space for your love script to take all sorts of new twists and turns.
Communicate about the big issues
Only you can define what’s “big” to you, but I have found that most often this means money, kids, and sex. Don’t leave any of this to chance. Life moves quickly and it becomes convenient to avoid conflict. It may feel convenient but in the long run, it’s a recipe for division. What are the “big” issues for each of you? What are each of your evolving expectations and needs around these issues?
Communicate regularly, and in person
Consider this to be your relationship ‘glue’. In today’s digital age it can be really convenient to send a text or a phone call, but regardless of whether the issue is big or small, things need to be discussed in person. This type of connection keeps the energy flowing smoothly between, and even during, the tough times. When this becomes a challenge, try literally scheduling in face-to-face talk time to learn and evolve your different communication talking styles to help bridge any communication differences.
Thanks to pop culture and internet porn, society has a skewed and dysfunctional sense of intimacy. At first, your lust may have felt unbridled. Over time, it requires attention and care. What turns you on can (and really must) change. Instead of trying to recreate the past, why not explore new perceptions of intimacy and learn your different intimacy scripts and styles. Discuss with your partner about what each of you would like to explore.
Create new interests together
This is such a fun way to grow as a couple! What first brought you together may no longer be your preference. You’ve grown, and that means you’re ready to explore new things. Set aside time to brainstorm together and then jump into it! Start having dates with one another to court a renewed and enhanced relationship.
Enjoy time on your own
Being together 24/7 is not romantic, it can be unhealthy. Everyone needs space to be their own individual. Discuss what each of your individual needs and wants are outside of your relationship. Does your evolving relationship accommodate those needs? Do the work to guarantee that both of you have distinct and fulfilling lives beyond the relationship. Recognizing that you are more than someone’s partner will make you an even better partner, and often rekindles part of what may have attracted you to them in the first place.
Plan for the future
Being present is amazing. But the health of your relationship requires a shared vision. Discuss what each of your plans, dreams, and goals are for the future. Recognize that these may change and what one person’s goals or vision as last year, might be different than this year. Make plans together based on each of your individual goals and dreams. Create new dreams and goals for your partnership. Research has shown that couples that create and work towards shared goals are healthier and happier. Embrace your future as a team.
Do you want some support in rewriting your love script?
When Hollywood screenplays need work, they usually call in a script doctor. In the realm of relationships, there’s a similar solution you can try. Working with a counsellor in couples counselling is more than just learning how to rewrite your love script. In those sessions, you’ll discover the needed edits that were previously invisible. No blockbuster is created alone. Adding a counsellor to your creative team is a major step towards becoming a box office smash!
Book your initial discounted 60-minute session
For new clients and couples, I offer a discounted initial 60-minute session that can be conducted in-person in my office, over the telephone, or over an online video call. In this session we’ll discuss your individual needs as well as your evolving relationship, as well as a recommended relationship-maintenance plan. You can request an appointment online or call our office at (604) 770-3038.