It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and the shops are filled with every heart-shaped product known to man. This also means that most of us are scrambling to find the perfect gift. We struggle to find and strike a balance between something personal, in our budget, and appropriate for the length of the relationship. Year after year, we tend to fall back on the same, “safe” and superficial Valentine’s Day gift guidelines: a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates, or jewelry. We’re aware that these are impersonal gifts and we might tell ourselves that we’ll find a better present next year, since we’ll have more time to prepare.
Since I’ve begun coaching, I hear a lot people talk about the lack of interaction with their significant other, that their relationship feels more superficial than it used to be; they also tell me how this negatively affects them in other areas of their life. Clients tell me about how they used to share every aspect of their lives with their partners, and as the years passed by, they “somehow” grew apart. If I ask them about the time they spend with their partners, I often hear a long list of rehearsed excuses as to why they have so little time in their day, ranging from “stress at work” to “but we have kids now”. And while yes, these are very important parts of your life and should not be neglected, neither should your relationship. The bond with your partner deserves the same love and dedication as all other aspects of your life.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to carve out large chunks of your day dedicated to your partner; it’s about spending meaningful time together.
Here are some ideas for quality time spending with your significant other that needn't cost much:
1. Have a drink together and talk.
Turn the television off and have a conversation. Pour a drink and talk about anything. Tell your partner about something that made you smile or laugh. Ask them some deeper questions that goes beyond what they did that day.
2. Take a relaxing walk or drive together.
You don’t need to have a goal or a direction, just see where your walk takes you. If you’re having trouble finding things to talk, point out things on your walk. Discovering new things together is like a mini-adventure.
3. Take up a new (or old) hobby together.
Having a common goal with your partner can do wonders for a relationship. Not only are you working together, it will give you new things to talk about and explore. Think about simple things like joining a gym, taking a new class, or even reading the same book. If you feel you lack common ground with your partner, this could be a great way to forge new interests together.
The biggest difference between a new and an old relationship, is often simply how we prioritize nurturing our relationship with regards to other areas in our life. We start by taking the time to date, to ask questions, and we make a conscious effort to get to know our partner. So, whether you go on a date or devour a box of heart-shaped chocolates together, put your phones down and re-connect with your partner. Give your partner and your relationship the perfect gift, one that is always personal, within your budget, and appropriate: quality time with you.