During this time of Valentine’s Day cheer, I reflect on questions that so many marriages suffer from. What if the passion and fire from this Valentine’s Day does not equal the ones of years past? Why do we need one day a year to show that we care and love one another, and ignore every other day? Can I really live with that ratio? These and many more questions offer an excellent opportunity for truly healthy competition to transform a slow decay into loving relationships.
For those couples who are stuck in a pattern of arguments, what would it be like to transform the competition into one centering on love? There are tons of chances to do this in a fun and caring way. Instead of trading commercialized gifts or cards on Valentine’s Day, what would it be like to compete with a loved one on who can show the other more signs of affection for one day? One week? Who can best demonstrate to the other the depths of their initial feelings of why they got together? These questions can completely transform a relationship, and accomplish what they holiday is supposed to stand for – remembering the love of the relationship. The less money spent on chocolates and flowers is merely a bonus. And, the competitive emotional aspect changes an approach to the day as something to look forward to, rather than to be simply endured.
There is a considerable amount of research that indicates that successful marriages continue to incorporate a sense of emotional intensity throughout the life cycles, and that the passion that typically occurs toward the beginning “honeymoon” stages must find a way to be continued and morphed as the relationship changes from dating to marriage. However, most other theories are not able to account for healthy ways to do this in long-lasting relationships. Competition allows for all of the rules and guidelines that exist within a couple to be considered and in fact, employed in new ways. It is not the essence of one person losing and the other winning. Quite the opposite – when both members of a couple show each other love, devotion, and attention to the other’s desires, it is precisely why we couple with another person in monogamous relationships to begin with. It’s to feel special.