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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Valentine's Day: Pressure for Perfection

Uploaded: Feb 14, 2014
Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love and romance. It may be great pressure for gift buying and giving, and for doing things for your beloved.

In the construct of The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, Valentine's Day is good for those whose Love language is Gifts or Acts of Service. If your Love Language is Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, or Touch, maybe not so much (although a good card and good time at dinner may count).

I am, of course, a proponent of love, and showing love to each other. I'm not so much a proponent of showing love on a schedule, or having pressure to buy things. I was especially dismayed to see a jewelry ad during the holidays where a young boy was out buying jewelry for his mom while dad flashed a credit card in the background. Most moms would've been happy with a sweet token, handmade by her son.

I see the pressure of Valentine's Day as missing the essential point. How do you give love to the person you know and care about in the way s/he receives it -- every day, all year long?

Valentine's celebrations are lovely and appreciated. Yet if you ignore one another and pay attention to your devices most days, or work long hours and barely have energy for one another, or run from one activity to the next and put everyone and everything as a higher priority than each other, then Valentine's Day is showy, but perhaps a bit empty. It may even be a let down.

Here's my advice, and you can take it or leave it: Go to the online test for The 5 Love Languages and take the test (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/). Based on the results, think of three things you can say or do for your beloved -- every week -- between now and next Valentine's Day, that will let him know you love him, that will make her feel she is your chosen love, and see how your relationship improves.

Here's a toast to love. Cheers!

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by MV Mom, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Feb 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

That quiz you posted is very poorly written.

"I would love for my husband to clean up around the house."

"I wish my husband would give me his undivided attention."

"I want to hear my husband say how much I mean to him."

These statements all imply that he doesn't already. How is a person supposed to choose between statements that don't apply?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

I agree it is a flawed quiz; but if your Love Language came out at the end, or at least enough for experiments, then it's worth it. I am always of the mind to take what works for you from a resource, and leave the rest behind. I know from experience, and reported to me by many, many couples, that when we give in our beloved's love language, things change. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes. The book, The 5 Love Languages, is worth reading. It has a strong Christian bent, so if that bothers you, take what's useful, and leave the rest.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Marc, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

Why would they need my email address on that quiz. Yah right. Fail.

The most perfect woman once said to me "I think Valentine's day is a sham. Its perpetuated by making women think this is the day "My man" is supposed to spoil me. Its mostly guilt/shame driven forced affection...its like social blackmail"

I married her and we've been happily laughing at VD every since.
Ignore it people, or just save your energy and donate to Hallmark directly.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

You can skip giving your email address on Gary Chapman's site to take the quiz. Thanks for writing in.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Feb 17, 2014 at 10:28 am

My husband and I both took the Love Languages quiz a few years ago when a friend sent it to me. Turns out we were both "Physical Touch" people. Every day when I leave in the morning, we hug. Every day when he gets home at night, we hug. He sometimes tells me "I'm going to rub your feet." I rarely say no. =) It's really nice that we understand each other on that level and both feel so good when we hug each other.

Side note: I always think it's a little bit funny when people in relationships get "grouchy" about Valentines day. It's a holiday like any others, where you do get to make your own rules. Christmas time doesn't have to mean gifts, Valentine's day doesn't have to mean flowers, nobody is forcing you to dress up on Halloween. Make it what you want, but don't judge others for making it what they want.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thank you, RW, for sharing your experience with physical touch being both of your Love Language. As Chapman explains, when we receive love in the language that makes us 'feel' loved, it fills us with love. When we receive love in another love language, it's 'nice,' and yet doesn't fill us with love. Small changes can = big results. Also true about holidays; we can make of them what we will.



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