By Anneliese Alexander, Marriage and Relationship Educator
It’s that time of year again when our concept of love seems wrapped up in how big the teddy bear is or how colourful the bunch of flowers are.
As teenagers, Valentine’s Day brings out the possibility of a secret lover revealing their true feelings, and early relationships make much of how they spend the day (or how much they spend ON the day)! But for many couples who have made permanent, committed relationships with each other, Valentine’s Day is just another day to share with their love.
While romance is good and can spice up your relationship, it is certainly not an activity that should be limited to one day per year. Research shows that it is in the everyday moments where love blooms. In the kiss when you get home, listening to how your day was and knowing about what is happening in your life, the gratitude expressed when you take out the rubbish, the touch of your shoulder and smile as they walk past, and the cup of tea made for you in the morning. These daily behaviours speak volumes, compared to one-off grand gestures often seen on Valentine’s Day.
As a Marriage and Relationship Educator, I frequently work with couples who are preparing for marriage. These couples are often “loved up” and cannot imagine their relationship ever running into difficulty. While these typical early relationship behaviours have been found to increase relationship satisfaction, couples who are able to maintain them throughout their relationship are referred to as “Masters” by relationship researcher Dr John Gottman. Relationship Masters report having happier and healthier relationships throughout their lifespan.
The relationship we have with our spouse is the most important relationship we will have in our life. Investing time and energy into it will ensure it can be successful for a lifetime. Daily behaviours are just one way to invest in your relationship, however, every couple can benefit from attending relationship education courses, no matter how long you have been together. Our Marriage and Relationship Educators are experienced at working with couples around effective relationship communication and conflict, as well as family of origin issues, financial management, intimacy and parenting. Committing to improving your marriage is the best investment you can make for yourself, your marriage and your children.
Anneliese Alexander is a marriage and relationship educator at CatholicCare Sydney.
Leaning on evidence-based research and 11 years of professional experience, Anneliese and her team work to support our community to establish and nurture positive relationships in life.