Once a year, a day comes around on our calendar devoted to celebrating love in all its forms.
But for couples, Valentine’s Day can often start to feel like a box that needs to be checked. A routine set of gestures - buying them chocolates, choosing flowers, making dinner reservations - that are meant to, in some way, validate our relationships.
So, what if you took a different approach this year? What if this holiday was a time for reflection? Of imagining what the future would look like together and setting a course for this? Of appreciating and showing gratitude for what you’ve fostered with your partner and for what you are building together?
This Valentine’s Day, we’re bringing you some ideas you can try together, as a couple, to bring out the best in your partnership. Fun and simple acts you can do easily at home, or at a cherished location, with your partner. Powerful ‘relationship ceremonies’ that will make this Valentine’s Day a more meaningful, inspiring, and transformative event in your diary.
Here are four of these ceremonies, and how they can change your relationship.
Write your own love story
The more personal a keepsake is, the more it will be cherished as the years pass by. And what is more authentic to you and your loved one than the story of your relationship? Writing down your love story makes for a heart-warming surprise gift. It’s also something you should consider doing together.
Take some time out one evening to revisit all the beautiful memories you’ve created together. You’ll start to reflect back on everything you’ve learned and how you’ve grown (both as individuals and as a couple). You’ll begin to realize how specific moments in time have shaped who you are together now. Even if some of these moments were challenging, you’ll be able to reflect back on them differently; unearthing fresher perspectives.
Once you’ve taken a trip down memory lane, it’s time to honor and celebrate the evolution of your relationship. Express your gratitude for the wonderful journey you’ve been on (thus far!) by memorializing your story.
If you’re putting your story together by hand, start with some quality stationery. Then, bring things to life with photos from your favorite trips, experiences together, illustrations, and items you cherish (ticket stubs, old love notes, a lock of hair, etc.). The more creative and personal you can make it, the better! And, of course, don’t forget to leave a few blank pages at the end for the story to continue!
The ceremony of unearthing the unique narrative of your relationship, and then crystallizing it, is a powerful one.
Set some relationship resolutions (or intentions)
If you’ve been thinking this is similar to setting New Year resolutions you’d be right. At the same time, it’s a little different. Firstly, we feel ‘intentions’ are a better word to describe these resolutions. You’ll be coming up collectively with changes and personal goals you want to commit to, so it’s important to be aware and honest with each other during this process.
Setting intentions that you can achieve together is guaranteed to bring even more fun and excitement to your partnership. The even greater upside? It can also contribute greatly to the health and sustainability of your relationship. Many challenges we face when coupled stem from times when things start to feel a little stagnant. The best way to overcome this? Keep striving to ‘better’ what you already have. Decide on what things you’d like to share more together. More kindness? More affection? More cuddles? Perhaps it’s something more like ‘acknowledging each other’s love languages’. Maybe it’s more practical, like choosing to work out together more often or to take more trips, or time out together. There is no right or wrong with this ceremony - only what brings you joy.
As with the love story, writing up these intentions (officially) in a beautifully bound notebook, or on something you can proudly display in your home will help solidify your commitment to these. Then, go forth and try some of these things out - they may bring a whole new dynamic to your partnership!
If you’re wondering how to set intentions that you’ll actually stick to, take a look at our tips for creating meaningful resolutions.
Build out your relationship bucket list
A bucket list is a collection of achievements or experiences that a person aims to carry out over their lifetime. By that definition, a relationship bucket list consists of all the wonderful things you want to experience together. Many couples do this already by creating a travel bucket list, but you can expand this to include more things. The only rule here? If something doesn’t feel bold, extraordinary, life-changing, or inspiring...don’t put it on this list! The key to this particular ceremony is to channel what makes you feel bold and alive.
Here’s how you can get more creative with this. If your list is brimming with travel ambitions, use colorful pins to denote these on a world map you can hang in your favorite room. More spontaneous? Write down the items on your list on small cards, then stuff them into a jar. Then, every month, quarter, or year (it’s up to you!) draw one card out of the jar. Whatever it tells you to do, go do it together! Before you know it, you’ll be planning out a future that feels exciting and fortuitous.
Create a vision board for your partnership
This ceremony can be quite transformative. Also known as a dream board, a vision board is a visualization of the life you want to create together. If anything, it makes for a fun night of cutting and pasting images together over some wine. But, if you allow it to, it can also be a conscious act of designing the shared life you desire on your own terms.
If you’re looking to manifest what you’ve pasted on your board, then it’s important to actually feel the things you want each image to bring you. Happiness, peace, calm, prosperity, excitement, fun, adventure. Then, lean into those feelings even more. Remember, to foster gratitude and appreciation for what you have already built together as you move through this.
You can put together your vision board on a corkboard with pins, or with glue and poster board. Liven it up with some decorative paper, powerful anchor words, and, of course, the images you’ve cut from magazines or printed out. Then, let magic do the rest.
Whether you decide to engage with some of these ideas over Valentine’s Day or to do something else, remember that this time is yours and your partner’s to share (and not anyone else’s). Don’t let anyone else’s expectations of what your love and relationship should look like dictate what you do or don’t do. See this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to grow together, show kindness to one another, and honor what you share.