In case you’re still recovering from the holidays and haven’t quite noticed that January has quickly slipped away from us, let me give you a heads up! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Have you found the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?
It’s on the calendar, so you’d better pay attention!
Are you struggling to come up with something?
Does it feel like your whole relationship depends on getting it right?
Are you starting to panic?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
I’m going to share with you my secret to the perfect Valentine’s Day gift; a gift that you can give year after year with only minor adjustments. And don’t worry this gift is perfect no matter your partner’s gender.
It’s going to take a bit of planning and a lot of work to pull it off, but trust me, it’s worth it.
THE PERFECT VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT
Before I reveal my secret, let me just say that I might have mislead you just a little bit when I used the word “gift.” My word choice just might have led you to believe that this gift was a thing.
The perfect Valentine’s Day gift isn’t available in any store, and you can’t order it online. It isn’t something you can buy. You can’t make it either.
The perfect Valentine’s Day gift is your TIME.The perfect Valentine’s Day gift is your TIME. Click To Tweet
It’s as simple as that.
TIME IS PRICELESS
In our society, time is a precious commodity. We’re all so over scheduled and overwhelmed with our To-Do lists that TIME has turned into something precious. We’re so time-crunched that life can feel like a constant, never-ending game of trying to buy ourselves just a little bit more TIME.
TIME to earn more. TIME to do more. TIME to learn more. TIME to get more done.
Unfortunately, the first place that we steal our TIME from seems to be our loved ones, especially if you’re married or living together in a common-law relationship. And if you have kids, well, TIME becomes even scarcer.
It seems harmless enough when we’re doing it. We can rationalize that our partner knows our TIME struggles and probably empathizes with us about it. They have their own TIME struggles after all.
So what harm is there in sacrificing a little bit of your together time to get a handle on the overwhelming array of things that demand your attention?
Your partner will understand. In fact, it’s for their benefit, you defiantly rationalize. You’re spending extra hours at work so that you can earn the money to maintain the life style you’ve set up together. You might have even convinced yourself that your partner should be grateful.
Or maybe not?
The TIME stealing gets worse when you add in kids. Of course, you have to choose your kids over your partner; they’re just kids. They need you. It’s just what parents have to do.
Or is it?
But, it isn’t just your job and kids that start to take priority over TIME spent with your partner; it’s also your hobbies. You work hard and take care of your family obligations, and therefore you deserve downtime. What’s the harm in going to the pub with your friends? Or playing some golf? Or whatever it is that you do to blow off steam? Your partner loves you, and they’ll understand.
Or will they?
We have a fixed amount of TIME available to us. If you continually rob TIME from your relationship, one day you’ll find that you don’t have a relationship anymore.
Our society is very materialistic. We’re bombarded with messages telling us that our worth is based on how much we’ve achieved – and by achieved I mean financially and social/career standing.
But I’m going to let you in on a secret. It doesn’t matter how high powered your job is, how much money you make, how big your house is or how many expensive cars you have, if you don’t invest in your relationship, that relationship doesn’t stand a chance.
If you’re a parent, the TIME pressure is even more severe. Our society insists that if you want your kids to succeed than you need to focus all of your attention on them (at least whatever’s left over from your job, plus probably a bit more – hello multi-tasking).
But guess what? It’s okay for kids to have downtime. They don’t need you to cater to them every minute of every day. In fact, it isn’t healthy for them. It’s okay for you to take TIME away from your kids to nurture your relationship with your partner, because if you don’t, you’re not going to have a relationship for long.
Hobbies and Socializing with Friends:
It’s true that we need to counter-act the stress of our jobs and lives with some downtime and play. But, you’re kidding yourself if you think that your relationship is going to still be there waiting for you, if you don’t spend some of that downtime with your partner.
HOW DO YOU GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME?
So, if your TIME is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, how do you find that TIME in your jam-packed schedule?So, if your TIME is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, how do you find that TIME in your jam-packed schedule? Click To Tweet
Especially keeping in mind that it’s not a one off thing. Because here’s the tricky part about it; you can’t just give your TIME on Valentine’s Day. You don’t get to plan an evening out on the 14th of February and call it done for the year. For it to really be the perfect gift, it has to be year-round – year after year.
But you’re already overwhelmed and struggling to fit it all in.
How do you find the TIME to give the gift of TIME?
If not exactly easy.
We all have TIME available; we just have to change our priorities.
Not an easy thing to do when we have the pressure of societal ideals pressing down on us. But here’s how to do it.
4 STEPS TO GIVING THE GIFT OF TIME
Change your priorities
Don’t let others set your priorities. Don’t let society tell you what should be important in your life.
If you value your relationship, then it’s crucial that you make it a priority.
Remember that material things don’t bring happiness. Connection, love and belonging do.
If you’re struggling to make your relationship priority one, think back to when you were dating – remember how you would sacrifice just about anything to find just a few more moments with your partner. Try to recapture that.
Treat TIME with your partner the same way as you would an important business meeting. Plan for it and actually mark it in your planner.
You write important things in your planner or put them on your calendar or however you keep track of important things; do the same for your relationship. It’s harder to “reschedule” things once you’ve formally written them down.
Writing them down sets them as a priority.
When your relationship was new, you would’ve made plans and scheduled dates. I’m going to guess that you didn’t cancel many of those plans or you wouldn’t have ended up married or living together. Act like you’re dating and schedule in TIME together.
Rituals are a great way to make spending TIME together a habit and priority. They don’t have to be complicated.
Giving the gift of your TIME doesn’t have to equate to dedicating every possible second to your partner. That wouldn’t be healthy. And the TIME spent together doesn’t have to be in large chunks. It can be little bits here and there all across the day or week.
It’s about the intention to be together, rather than the actual volume of TIME that matters.
You could have dinner together every night or breakfast together every morning. Can you commute to work together? Perhaps you could share your morning cup of coffee or tea together. Maybe Friday night could be “date night” or Sunday mornings could be “date mornings.”
Once rituals become habits, it becomes natural to repeat them. You don’t have to think about it, and you’ll become resistant to letting other things interfere with them.
If you struggle to make spending TIME with your partner a habit again, try pairing it with other already established habits. For example, your morning cup of coffee or your weekend read of the paper (does anybody actually read the paper anymore?)
Not sure what kind of rituals would work for you and your partner? Think back to when your relationship was new. You would’ve carved out TIME to do things together – moments that you shared that were almost sacred. Those early rituals can be a road map for creating new rituals that are based in the gift of TIME.
Instead of recharging your batteries with activities that take you away from your partner, find things that you both like, and then do them together.
Doing enjoyable things together will help strengthen your relationship. They don’t have to be complicated or expensive.
By making your TIME together fun, you won’t run the risk that it will start to feel like an obligation. You should want to spend TIME with the person you married, so make it FUN!
There’s a bit of a theme in each of the steps for giving the gift of TIME: recapturing the flavour of your relationship when it was shiny, new and exciting. You probably laughed and played together like high school kids (yes, some of you might have been high school kids 😉 ).
TIME spent together is important, but TIME spent laughing together is invaluable.
TIME IS THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT
Beyond all other things, giving the gift of your TIME is invaluable to ensuring that your relationship not only endures, but that it’s strong and positive.
It’s easy to rationalize that your partner will understand. After all, you’re doing it for your partner’s benefit. But, there’s a critical flaw in this type of thinking: If you don’t make TIME for your partner, then you will inevitably grow apart.
One day, you’ll come home from work, and instead of your partner, you’ll find a good-bye note.
One day, your kids will leave the home, and you’ll find yourself sitting across the table from a stranger.
One day, you’ll find yourself with all the TIME in the world, because you’ll be alone.
So, this year, on February Fourteenth, give the perfect Valentine’s Day gift: Give the gift of TIME. Make a vow to make spending time with your partner a priority – a priority that you continue to foster throughout the entire year and all future years.
Better yet, don’t wait for the day of love – start now.
Today is better than one day!
How do you carve out time with your partner?
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