As a sex and relationship therapist, I count Valentine's Day -- dedicated to love and lust -- among my favourite holidays. Not everyone agrees. With traditions so rigidly entrenched, it can become the annual romantic Olympics. Anxiety can run high.
It can be especially tough for couples who have moved past "hot" into "cool" with each other. This is a perfect opportunity to reverse the trend! With Valentine's Day just around the corner, you can maximize the occasion by keeping a few things in mind:
• Keep your expectations realistic
A single day won't bring back that newlywed zing. Instead, celebrate the best of what you actually have.
• Ask for what you want
Your mate is no mind-reader. If you want club dancing or a couple's spa day -- say so. Ask their preferences in turn.
• Approach the day with humour and generosity
All traditional holidays are flooded with expectations and hype, often leaving us disappointed. Enter laughing and remember that Valentine's Day commemorates love and passion. Give as much of both as you have, and insist on enjoying yourself, even if your wildest dreams don't come true.
• Shift things up
If your wife customarily makes the dinner reservations, let her know you'll do it this time. If your husband always drives home the sitter, you do it (and suggest he prepare the candles and music while you're gone). These shifts in routine allow you time to reflect on your appreciation of the tasks you each do for one another. Besides, routine can be a real passion killer, and Valentine's Day is no time for that!
If these tips don't result in a celebration of intimacy and eroticism, consider spending a session or two with a sex therapist. Getting a dozy relationship back on track is a relatively easy process, while resuscitating one that has gasped its last breath is ever so much harder. Put your all into making this Valentine's Day an expression of the best you have together and allow it to encourage and promote even further growth.