Valentine’s Day: The Gottman Way

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do something a little special with your partner, if you do it the Gottman way.

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Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do something a little special with your partner, if you do it the Gottman way.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do something a little special with your partner, if you do it the Gottman way.

Valentine’s Day has a negative (and controversial) reputation as an American holiday for its sentimentalism and commercialization. It is an especially sensitive topic in the field of relationship psychology. Despite its reputation, it’s a great opportunity to do something a little special with your partner.

The best gift you can give your partner is a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship. Cuddle up on the couch with the free Gottman Card Decks app. If you wish to do something special, that’s fine, too! Most importantly: relax. This is the first step to enjoying the day. High expectations on Valentine’s Day are a source of conflict in many relationships, so if you wish to celebrate, do it in a way that is comfortable for both you and your partner.

Stay in with a much-loved movie, spend time asking each other open-ended questions, or do something else with your partner that the two of you can enjoy. Valentine’s Day presents a perfect opportunity to establish a ritual of connection in your relationship. By watching the same movie, you will form a lasting tradition that you look forward to. This tradition will also give you the opportunity to look back on your relationship and reminisce about years past, reminding you of how strong your bond has become.

Most of all, remember that Valentine’s Day is not about buying an expensive gift or planning the most extravagant date. These gestures are not only unnecessary, but are also likely to create a great deal of discomfort due to financial expectations.

Valentine’s Day should not have you automatically reaching for your pocketbook; it should be a time to celebrate love with your partner. There’s no price tag on that. With that said, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the most important moments in a relationship do not occur on a single day. The real romance comes during the everyday, seemingly insignificant moments.


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Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute and editor for The Gottman Relationship Blog.