Couples Therapy Bethesda, MD
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Maybe you “celebrated” it and maybe you didn’t – maybe your significant other is loudly or quietly resenting your minimal consideration of the day. I get that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” and we should not need a date on the calendar and red heart covered cards to show our lovers that they mean the world to us. I agree that we “shouldn’t” need the reminder – but from my experience, we actually need A LOT of help focusing on romance!
Every….single…day in my office I work with couples who no longer feel loved or show how much love they have for their partner. I hear friends and family complain about romance being gone – even in some of the stronger relationships I know! We can laugh about how romance, after several years of marriage, has become remembering to put the toilet seat down or not falling asleep during a television show, but I am finding that most people want so much more – and they certainly need more for the love to stay alive!
I ask all of my clients how they show their partner they love them and how they feel loved by their partner. This query often leads to uncomfortable or sad confessions that they no longer do loving things or feel loved. When I ask them what they used to do to show love, however, most couples easily and whimsically tell stories of cards, dates, board games, cute gestures, trips together, concerts, intimacy, and so on. I get it! Life happens and, certainly for many, kids happen – time, money, and energy wane. In addition, the passionate love that we feel initially changes to a more content love. The passion in the beginning of a relationship drives our desire to woo and win over and, ultimately, solidify commitment. My guess is that once a couple has been together for awhile, they feel safe and secure and content – which is good – but that contentment may diminish the drive to romance their partner. The challenge is to make efforts to be romantic even on days the drive is not strong!
My assertion is that you should never be lackadaisical about your long-term relationship – that showing your love on a DAILY basis is not just important, but essential to long-term health of a relationship. Being romantic and showing love is not something that has to be costly or time-consuming. Showing love can be a text message saying, “I am thinking of you,” a nightly ritual of expressing gratitude, compliments, a card…anything that shows them that their existence in your life is important, that you find them beautiful/sexy/handsome, that you see them as more than the diaper changer or the trash-taker-outer. Romance leads to feeling loved which leads to feeling that you are not alone and never will be – that is what we all strive for and deserve. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Kara Smith, MS, LCMFT provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our downtown Bethesda office. Call 240-752-7650 ext. 3, or email [email protected] to set up a first appointment or complimentary telephone consultation with Kara today!