Most of us were raised by human parents, with their human failings and they raised us with less than perfect emotional responses. Whether they were neglectful or distant or critical or inconsistent or overbearing or intense, there were times when their feelings interfered with their ability to be appropriately responsive to your feelings. (I know- we screw this up with our kids pretty regularly and we’re working on that, too.) The spots were our emotional needs weren’t met well often lead to our “baggage” or as a psychologist I call attachment wounds.
Our baggage both makes us at times hard to love and hard to be loving. If we weren’t nourished ed in childhood, we may have a tough time both identifying what we want and identifying what we have to offer. We often armor up and act like we don’t need anyone. When afraid of being disappointed, we simply decide not to care. We are fine. It isn’t important.
We are in countdown to Valentine’s Day- a complicated day of forced romance and unclear expectations. Romance is in the air… or at least Target is full of pink shit and their commercials for jewelry on every channel. What do we want for Valentine’s Day and what do we have to offer our partner?
I think romance is that when someone who loves us, who finds us gorgeous, wants us to be happy and feel loved does something intentional to communicate that to us. It requires emotion, intention and action. You can try finding something at Target…because Target has everything but you have to bring your own feelings, set your own intention and put your expression into action.
Some Marriage Geek hints for the big day.
Appreciation– People like to feel appreciated. They like to know not only that you love them but why. We want to be seen. The thing that means the most to our kids is not so different to what we can give our partner- that our eyes light up with delight just when they are being themselves. Say it. Say it out loud or in a card or on Facebook but make sure and say it.
Pampering- What does pampering look like to your spouse? What makes them feel special? What shows that they deserve to be well cared for? The best of something, something they wouldn’t necessarily give themselves. Get their car detailed or buy the best steaks or tackle that mess you’ve been promising to do.
Nostalgia– Show them you remember. Romance often happens by doing that thing from the past. Do the things you used to do together. Visit the place it all began. Get out the wedding video. Looking back helps us deepen our connection to the journey we are on.
Sex– Come on who doesn’t want to be seduced and loved up in the way only you know how to love them. Totally unselfish, generous, giving sex… this requires some thought. What does your partner need to be at their best in your arms?
Chocolate. Ok… you know me… there is always room for more chocolate.
Love you all. You inspire my belief in the magic of complicated love and sex and romance every day.