Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 3, 2017

Slower pace can create a great Valentine’s date

Deborah Lancaster

While the commitment to carving out time together is important and worthwhile in and of itself, a little intentionality, thoughtfulness and preparation can greatly increase a date’s value.

If you consider something of great worth, you invest in it. That means you learn about it, spend time on it, nurture it and attend to it. Showing your date that you’ve made the effort to think about them and to prepare for your time together is essential and goes a LONG way toward creating romance.

Taking steps to be prepared shows your significant other that they’re a priority. In the case of Valentine’s Day, that might mean arranging for a babysitter and providing a meal for the kids ahead of time, thinking about, researching and choosing an appropriate restaurant, making reservations and ensuring you know where you’re going.

l Build anticipation by sending texts that lets your date know you’re exited about your upcoming time together, tend to your appearance, dress and grooming, wear their favorite perfume or cologne. Arrange transportation ahead of time if necessary.

l Ultimately, romance is about the investment in enjoying one another. Utilizing the five senses to create an appealing and sensuous experience is a great way to ensure a successful date – whether it’s through making space for a quiet, beautiful environment where one can savor delicious food and connect through conversation or engaging in something more diverse or exotic that challenges you to connect with your sense of adventure and playfulness.

l Regardless, for most couples, romance means having the space to slow things down and focus on one another without the distractions of normal life. That means putting away your phone and being a good conversationalist who asks interesting questions and listens to the answers, investing in talking about topics that are beyond the duties of work and managing a home and delving into the other person’s heart, dreams and interests.

l Don’t talk about the kids, your schedules or work. Ask questions that stir conversation: What do you daydream about when you have a little space in your day? Do you have any secret ambitions? What’s something you’re hoping for this year? When was the last time you laughed until you cried? What’s one thing you’d love to do together this year?

Here are a few more random tips:

l Men: When giving compliments, be specific. Instead of saying, “You look nice tonight,” try, “I love the way your eyes light up when you smile,” or, “You look fabulous in that dress.” Also, instead of saying simply, “I had fun tonight,” try, “I love spending time with you. Hearing you laugh when you told me the story of ... was my favorite part.” These small gestures will go a long way.

l Women: Don’t set your man up for failure, and yourself for disappointment, by having expectations you won’t communicate. If you want flowers, let him know in a gentle, non-demanding way. Then be expressively grateful and appreciative, and let yourself enjoy it when your man shows his love by bringing them to you.

Deborah Lancaster is a marriage and family therapist living and working in Chattanooga. Reach her at (423) 438-1829.