As Valentine approaches some of us look forward with anticipation, others dread the universally celebrated “day of love”. The desire to be happy or the realization of what is lacking in your relationship is causing enormous pressures as the eventful day comes closer. The commercial “love machine” is in full action. We’re busy buying cards embellished by anonymous love messages or write our own. We give chocolates in heart shaped boxes and spend millions on fancy gifts to express our love. We go through all the expected rituals but how many of us are thinking the essence of Valentine? How many are making an effort to improve love and intimacy in our relationship? How many are making an effort to give our partner more pleasure, strengthening the bond between us? Married or not, no chocolates, or cards, or other material offerings can make this Valentine meaningful if our love feelings for each other have become dull or have vanished altogether.
Is it a fallacy to think lost love can be recaptured? Not at all! Can we rekindle love feelings and ignite the pleasure all over again? Can we reset the love button? Most professional therapists agree provided both partners demonstrate a commitment to go through a healing process individually and together.
When the fizzle has gone flat in a relationship it is often due to accumulated grievances that were never aired. Stored anger has created an uneasy distance between partners and put dampers on their emotions till they feel nothing at all. Negative childhood patterns resulting from cultural or religious teachings may inhibit a person from feeling entitled to love. These hidden interferences must be questioned and adjusted. Only by letting go of negative belief systems and accumulated resentments can we become free to have positive feelings about ourselves and our partner. This transformation may require the help of a professional counselor. The process of renewal starts with asking some really hard questions and answering with honesty. Both of you should ask, what is your role in the loss of love? Are you overly jealous or suspicious? Are you often surly and discontent or too controlling? Are you unhappy with yourself and looking for faults in your partner? Nobody can make you happy if you don’t accept your own self. Both of you need to take the time to reflect, to admit to yourself where your failings are and work consciously to correct them. Then comes sharing, the time to talk, to be caring and honest. Discuss the actions that make you feel unloved, unwanted. Do not accuse, do not interrupt, but listen and forgive. Don’t attack the other for what he or she did wrong, that just creates resistance. Instead explain how certain words or actions made you feel sad or belittled and unwanted. Try to let go of all the negative materials, of all the hurtful thoughts you harbor so you can create good feelings for each other again, to have loving thoughts and loving actions. Experience once again the intimacy that comes from being there for each other. Not just doing together, but being together. This indeed may be the most precious Valentine gift you can offer each other.