Valentine’s Day is a day that is meant for love, however it can often become a day where spouses can become frazzled. Here are 5 tips to keep Valentine’s engaging and not frustrating.

1)     Make expectations known: We have all hoped that our spouse could read our mind and know exactly what to do to make us happy. Unfortunately, that is just not the case and it is helpful to talk with your spouse about what is important to you. Do you want to go to a certain restaurant? Would you like your spouse to make the reservations? Do you want flowers? Have that talk and let them know what is important to you.

2)     Ask for their expectations too.  Valentine’s Day is about each other so make sure that you take time to ask your spouse what is important to them as well.

3)     Plan ahead  Waiting until last minute means less babysitters are free, less restaurant reservations are open and prices become higher. Planning ahead is an anxiety-reducer because you know the details are already ironed out well in advance.

4)     Say the kind things that you think, but never say.  If you have thought in your head “I love how he does ____”  or “when he did _____” it was so funny to me.  Then this is the time where you say it out loud. Make it known.  We are so quick to say things that we do not like, make it a practice on Valentine’s to say the things you do like.  And be sure they are specific. “You are pretty” or “you are handsome” does not make it about the actual person and who they are inside. Specify by saying, “When I hear you laugh, you are never more attractive to me.”

5) Prioritize long term happiness in your relationship.  No matter how romantic of a date you plan, things might be hard if you’re going into it with some distance between the two of you or there could be years of unmet expectations that has created a wall- don’t expect this one holiday to fix that. Instead, decide to truly do something beneficial for your marriage and seek help.

One place to go for help is a marriage workshop called ” 7 Conversations to Enrich Your Marriage.” It is a 3-day event that will walk you through conversations every couple should have with each other. The feedback from couples on this workshop has been incredible and it is highly recommended. The next workshop is in March 2017 and you can find out more information at 7ConversationsNashville.com.

-Lindsey Castleman, marriage and family counselor and co-creator of the marriage workshop “7 Conversations to Enrich Your Marriage.”   Connect with Lindsey at castlemancounseling.com