Forget spending a hundred bucks on roses. A relationships expert says you don’t need to fork out a bundle of cash to give an expressive, loving gift for Valentine’s Day.
Susan Schiltz-Day, a licensed mental health counselor in Urbandale, says put some thought into what your loved one says he or she really wants and go that route, even if it’s something simple like your attention, holding hands or a hug.
Schiltz-Day says: “There’s a lot of things right now that are very commercialized in terms of Valentine’s Day. It’s a nice way to nudge ourselves that this is something we need to look at, reminding ourselves how important those relationships are.”
She says when married couples get too wrapped up in their jobs or the children, it shows in the divorce rate of between 40 and 50-percent. She says the emphasis needs to be on building and maintaining a satisfying relationship.
Diamond earrings aren’t worth much if there’s no love behind the gift. Schiltz-Day says, “I don’t think the money is probably nearly as important in terms of where your heart is at.” She says couples need to take time, focus on each other and how to grow the relationship.
One avenue is to introduce new activities the couple can do together. That might include: concerts, plays, skiing, hiking, dancing, vacationing in a new city, or taking a class. She says there are two important keys in a successful long-term commitment.
Schiltz-Day says, “Knowing how to resolve conflict and knowing how to refuel the relationship and deal with inherent boredom that comes from particularly ongoing relationships.” She says another key to a successful relationship is to be sure you have more positive moments than negative moments. Research suggests couples need at least a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions or feelings — stable marriages have a significantly higher ratio of positive moments to negative ones.