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Incorporating Intentionality into Your Relationship this Valentine’s Day

Updated: Feb 15

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to incorporate intentionality into your relationship through some advice from The Gottman Institute. The Gottman Institute conducts research regarding love and longevity, and we’ve used their findings to relay these three tips on displaying effort to better your relationship. Although mainly geared towards romantic relationships, these tips can be used for your friends, family, or any other individual you’d like to improve your connection with. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to begin intentionally exploring these three strategies!


#1: Intentionally show interest through open-ended questions


Take the time to check-in with your partner throughout the day. Whether it be asking, “How was your morning?”, or “Tell me about something you feel proud of today,” your question is expressing a genuine interest to hear from your partner and possibly learn more about them, no matter how long you’ve been in each other’s lives. Some topics can include work, children, home, family, friends, goals, dreams, finances, and fulfillment.


On Valentine’s Day, invite your partner to sit with you in conversation and explore some of the following questions, developed by The Gottman Institute:

  • How do you see your work changing in the future?

  • How do you feel about (y)our physical home? Any architectural changes you’d like to make?

  • How do you feel about your family right now? Have these feelings changed lately?

  • What do you find exciting in life right now?

  • How do you think we could have more fun in our life?


#2: Intentionally approach conflict gently


When expressing opinions in conflict, it’s important to use “I” statements about how you feel about the situation rather than using “you” statements to place blame on your partner. This can look like saying, “I feel stressed when the dishes stay in the sink for a week,” rather than saying, “You always leave the dishes in the sink for too long.”


An extension of mentality is intentionally remaining gentle and positive in conflict. Listening to your partner, remaining positive, and working together towards a resolution rather than against each other to win are key components of gentle conflict.


If a conflict arises this Valentine’s Day, invite your partner to explore a gentle resolution together. This can begin with something like, “I would love to work this out together and enjoy our Valentine’s Day. Will you sit with me so we can try to find a solution?”. Take the time to listen to each other, be intentional with your words and employ “I” statements, and focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Remember that you two are on one team working towards a solution, rather than two teams fighting with each other to be correct.


#3: Intentionally rebuild and repair after negativity


Even when both partners are intentionally approaching conflict, there may be some negative interactions that leave one another hurt. The Gottman Institute says that repair is essential in these circumstances and that well-navigated conflict can increase intimacy in couples. 


Repair can begin immediately when you recognize the need for one. You can say, “I’m feeling like we’re spiraling a bit. I love you, and I care about you, and I’d like to work on this together.” This can be followed by a request for whatever mode of connection feels appropriate for you - holding hands, a hug, sitting down, or taking five minutes to yourselves before reconnecting. 


You and your partner can then explore the conflict again, but this time, intentionally taking the care to shift your language from fault and blame to what needs aren’t being met and how you’re feeling about the situation. Remind each other that you’re a team, and that you care about one another. Recognize how you may have hurt each other and apologize. Express reassurance and dedication to gentle conflict.


Whether it be this Valentine’s Day or any other day, employing intentionality can better your relationship and bring you closer to your partner. Intentionality doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. Simple displays of effort can be welcome signals of affection that concretely show your partner that you love, appreciate, and want to connect with them. These simple displays can greatly deepen your daily connection, improving the longevity and health of your relationship and your individual happiness.



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