Every year my husband and I, we go away for Valentine’s Day. To be honest, in our earlier days, we both used to think of Valentine’s day as commercial exploitation that we wouldn't have a bar of. But now, after 33 years of marriage, we have made it our own. Not by buying into the card, flower and gift buying. Not to say that you shouldn't. But by taking time out to get away together and, because it's Valentines Day, it lends itself somehow to making it all a little more romantic.
But we didn’t always do so. In the first 12 years of married life, celebrating Valentine's day wasn’t really something we even thought about. We had jobs, four kids, school fees, kids’ activities, volunteer commitments, a house to run. The concept of going away together wasn’t even on the radar, let alone for Valentine’s Day. Until one day, all the business of life caught up with me, and I just couldn’t go on. I literally couldn’t get out of bed.
Someone offered us a place in the country to stay. We dropped everything. My husband packed my bags, and away we went. Five beautiful days of, ah …. mainly sleep. And then some very nice late Autumn sunshine beckoned us outdoors. We spent time together cycling down country roads, visiting local sites, and enjoying just being alone together again. Away, at last, from all the demands and pressures that had been draining us and our relationship. Lesson learnt!
As a couple counsellor, I have discovered that one of the main reasons some relationships start to deteriorate is because the things that the couple enjoyed together, when they first met, get drowned out by the responsibilities of life. Before they know it, there isn’t the energy or connection to get the couple through those hard days, weeks and/or months that inevitably come. And then, tired, stressed and weary, the tolerance goes out the window, and life becomes a series of tension and fights.
Often when I work with couples, the things they used to do, that gave their lives and relationship joy and strength, is reawakened. And, I am pretty happy when they do so. I know it’s the beginning of new and good things to come.
In reality, my husband and I could never really afford to go away. But, we also discovered we couldn’t afford not to. And getting away has helped us get through some very difficult times and challenges. It has given us the space to breathe, dream and connect again.
In reality, I also know, that going away for many couples, especially if they have children, isn’t an option. I’ve been there. I know. However, sometimes there are small ways to bring or maintain the happy you once had. This often starts by recalling what you used to do together that you once enjoyed. Then find ways to include again, some of those things, including the small things you did for one another, the things you did that made you fall in love.