For some, Valentine’s Day is just another day of the week.  For others, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to reset or reconnect.

This year, in the pandemic, Valentine’s Day may look different to everyone.  Favorite date spots have closed, or there are health concerns to consider.

Weary and drained, you don’t have mental space to figure out how to show your spouse how special they are to you.

This Atlanta Couples Therapist has some tips that can help.

1. Be Present

This is huge and can be powerful. It can also be difficult. But if you’ve had trouble being present with your spouse in the past and you make the effort to try, they’re going to notice.

Being present might feel like a big, abstract concept, but it doesn’t have to be! It can be as simple as pausing the television or putting down the phone when your spouse says something to you. You turn toward them and give them your attention. 

Being present can also mean providing empathy. When you can be with your spouse instead of trying to solve a problem, they feel understood and safe.  Dr. Brene Brown offers a 3 minute video on empathy and how it helps people feel connected.

2. Be Curious

You and your spouse have likely changed in some way since you got married, or even since the pandemic began.  You may not have the same dreams, desires, or interests.

You might not have had time to even think about your dreams, desires, and interests.

When you’re curious about your spouse’s inner world, they can feel seen by and important to you.  If you’re unsure how to start “being curious,” you are not alone and this Atlanta Couples Therapist can give you direction.

Pick up this free app for couples to better know one another. Relationship experts John and Julie Gottman put together questions to ask your partner.  These prompts help you ask about likes/dislikes, sex, and needs you each have.  The app can also help you express appreciation and improve your listening skills.

3. Be Playful

How can you be playful when you don’t want to play your favorite games for the 575th time since the pandemic started? 

That’s a fair question.

Here are some ideas:

· Take a cooking class together. Want to recreate that great Osso Bucco you had on your anniversary? Would it be nice to learn to make the takeout that’s burning a hole in your bank account? A Google search for “Online Cooking Classes for Couples” will produce several options.

· Play a fill-in-the-blank word game like Mad Libs and laugh your head off with the silliness that ensues.

· Ask some “Would-You-Rather” questions.  Does your spouse prefer Juicy Fruit or Fruit Stripe Gum?  Does it matter in the long run?  Probably not.  Could it be fun to find out?  Definitely.

· Create your own masterpiece with a paint-by-number kit

· Try Geocaching or have an outdoor scavenger hunt- you can find many ideas for the latter on Pinterest

· Borrow your kid’s coloring book and color with your non-dominant hands

Finding connection with your spouse doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Connecting doesn’t have to feel heavy, or saved for one specific day of the year. It might only need intentional time and effort.

You might be thinking your marriage needs more help than these tips can provide. The average couple waits 6-7 years to get help after a problem begins. 

If this is you, know that you can reach out and schedule an appointment.

We will link you with a skilled Atlanta Couples Therapist to help you heal and find each other again.