• Little exchanges and gestures are another simple way to express your love. (CTK/AAP)Source: CTK/AAP
Tired of having to live up to unrealistic gift-giving expectations surrounding Valentine's Day? Well you can forget about ordering chocolates and flowers. Here are the most meaningful things you can do for your loved one this V-Day.
By
Shannon McKeogh

13 Feb 2017 - 12:11 PM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2017 - 2:59 PM

February 14 – a day of heavily commercialised, gift-wrapped declarations of romantic love – can divide many Australian couples.

While some people feel indifferent about the day, others enjoy being spoilt and use the date as an excuse to spend time with their loved one. Meanwhile, couples who aren’t travelling so well can feel the weight of Valentine’s Day expectations as a reminder of their romantic disconnection.

So rather than opting for the standard dozen roses and sickly sweet chocolates, relationship experts are encouraging couples to give gifts and learn skills that show ongoing commitment beyond the one day.

“The gift-giver might say ‘but I give her flowers every week and she says she doesn’t feel loved’. She says, ‘I don’t want flowers, I want you to put your arms around me’.”

Give gifts that are thoughtful and meaningful

Clinical director of Relationship Australia NSW, Elisabeth Shaw, says the best presents are the ones that reflect what your partner likes and have extra meaning.

“It shows you know the person at a deep level,” says Shaw. “If you’re giving a gift, remember it’s not about you.”

Shaw says problems in gift-giving can occur when an individual doesn’t listen to what their partner wants.

“The gift-giver might say ‘but I give her flowers every week and she says she doesn’t feel loved’. She says, ‘I don’t want flowers, I want you to put your arms around me’.”

Little exchanges and gestures are another simple way to express your love, Shaw says. “A card on the pillow, or in the briefcase, or just trying to have a glass of wine together; something that is a bit low-key but special.”

7 steps to imitate that loving feeling
You don't need to be in a romantic relationship this Valentine’s Day to feel the butterfly buzz that comes with one of the most celebrated emotions in art, society and history: love. Here are seven techniques you can try from the realm of positive psychology, spirituality, meditation and nutrition that imitate the sensation of love.

Learn how to say sorry and how to repair after a fight

“Apologising or finding a way to repair your relationship is probably the most important skill a couple can develop,” says Dan Auerbach, director and relationship counsellor with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney.

Auerbach believes that restoring a bond after relationship stress or conflict is essential to a relationship’s long-term wellbeing.

“An apology doesn’t have to be made with words. You may be able to develop other signals or ways of getting close. A sign of affection or a gesture showing that you care can let the other person know that you want to reconnect.”

He says that it’s also important to learn how your partner wants to be apologised to and reconnect as not everyone is the same.

“[Your partner] may just want you to apologise and then stay close, but stay rather still, instead of coming too close to quickly and flooding them with affection. Other people will be ready much sooner to take on an apology and a hug and or a kiss.”

“Apologising or finding a way to repair your relationship is probably the most important skill a couple can develop.” 

Expand your idea of intimacy

Valentine’s Day tends to focus on sexual love but Auerbach says intimacy isn’t just about sex but simple things like holding hands, walking arm-in-arm and hugging.

“These are all ways to reduce the stress hormone and strengthen the bond and attachment between people.”

Shaw says that intimacy can be expressed by showing interest in your partner and helping out with everyday activities:

“This can include doing the dishes or saying, ‘you put your feet up and I’ll cook dinner tonight’. It can be a thoughtful and generous act in the relationship that can happen in the lounge room and be very meaningful.”

Use the day to reconnect and recommit

For tongue-tied or love-shy individuals the day is the perfect opportunity to express love. “Valentine’s Day does serve it to you on a platter,” says Shaw. “For some people it does give them a chance for what needs to be said.”

But for those who may be struggling to find ways past reoccurring fights, Auerbach encourages couples to seek support.

“It’s normal for couples to lose their way.  A Valentine’s gift could be saying, ‘you know what, I’m really committed to this relationship, let’s try and not do this on our own … let’s seek some help and find out what’s really going on’.”

Love the story? Follow the author here: Twitter @shannylm and Facebook@shannonmckeoghfreelance 


 

There's a whole lot of love and movies about love available to stream at SBS On Demand this Valentine's Day. From movies on love to documentaries about dating, visit SBS On Demand to view the entire collection. 

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