Valentine’s Day is nearly a month away, but I am on a love and gratitude campaign.
Valentine romance in our family was inspired by Aunt Virginia. Her bedtime rule was a silk nightgown, a strand of pearls, and a splash of Joy because, “You never know who you will meet in your dreams.”
Today I wish I could be sprinkling hearts and flowers everywhere — even on those hiding under the covers until February 15.
Whether you adore the day or dread it, you can take control of feelings and expectations to make 2011 a banner year for Valentine love.
Start with an attitude of gratitude. For the next month keep a gratitude journal and jot down a thank you for little things that occur in your life that lift your spirits. Researches tell us that if we act as if we are grateful, we will eventually begin to experience feelings of gratitude and happiness.
If you are married, begin today to make a plan with your husband. Decide what you would really like to do together and look forward to the event (even if it means the back seat of the car to escape the children). Share clues with one another rather than have him wait until the last moment to overpay for flowers or bring you a box of chocolate-coated calories.
If you hate the man you married, buy a copy of “Project Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage When the Fairy Tale Falters” by Alisa Bowman. She hated her husband so much that she actually planned his funeral. But a friend suggested she give one more try to the marriage. Today she is sharing her joy story. Take her advice and spend the next month falling in love again.
What if you think your man is cheating on you? Use gratitude to defy infidelity. Write out all his positive qualities. Think of the reasons you married him. Express gratitude. Then begin speaking and acting as if he is the most wonderful man in the world. Leading therapists tells us that marriages can be saved even after infidelity.
And if you have no one who will be sending you a Valentine, start a new tradition. Begin collecting some of the funniest cards you can find for your single women friends. Send them with a note that reads, “A Valentine laugh from someone who appreciates you.” Then invite them to join you for a champagne and strawberries party.
Focus your thinking today on Valentine love and by the time February 14 rolls around you will be embracing the day, sharing laughter, and feeling an overall sense of joy.
(Reprinted in its entirety from the Providence Journal, January 16, 2011)
Rita Watson, one of our Relationship columnists and a regular op-ed page contributor, is an author, mother and incurable romantic. You can reach her at www.ritawatson.com.