I (Lori) decided to surprise hubby with a special trip for his birthday weekend!
Upon hearing the details of the trip, hubby said (with the biggest smile on his face!), “THIS MAKES ME FEEL SO SPECIAL!”.
Listen! This was music to my ears- mission accomplished!!!!!!
Some background on this: I am not typically the best at surprising or planning special occasions. In our relationship, Rashawn is the better planner- he has amazing ideas on what could be fun or romantic and he also finds the best deals (bonus!). He’s great at research and is so good at making stuff happen.
Me? Wellllllll- I like to benefit from the outcome of research- not actually do it! :/ And, I second guess myself in terms of whether it’s an idea that would be enjoyable or not. So, for me, I was stretching out of the box a bit to make this happen.
Yes!- We are therapists and we work with couples every day! However, we are not perfect (Hey, who is?!?) so we must find ways to stretch and grow in our love too. Here’s the thing- we DO work at elevating our relationship on a consistent basis- this means intentionally prioritizing LOVE. And, for me, surprising hubby was an element of expressing my love in a new and different way.
This made me think about and have compassion for those of you who are NOT the best planners for surprises (let alone anything romantic). Also, Valentine’s Day is coming up and for some, this equals pressure. Can I get an AMEN?!!
So, I want to encourage you in two different ways:
- If you are the better planner- take it away! Keep shining in all your goodness at this great skill! Keep checking out cool new things to do, book the sitter, and have fun! And, also, when your partner offers to plan/attempts to plan, say YES PLEASE or THANK YOU! Don’t criticize the effort or share what you would’ve done different. Just be in the moment and let yourself feel LOVED.
- If you are not the better planner- ALSO take it away! Get messy and fumble and do your best. Stretch yourself a bit and PLAN. Think about what your partner might like and think through the steps of making that happen. Hopefully, your other half will see your efforts and experience the FULL IMPACT of the message behind the planning which is “I love you, I value you, and I want to try my best to show you this by planning something even if it’s not what I am known for”.
Hints for planning for the non-planner:
- There’s a ton of resources online to help with this. Like good ole’ GROUPON- seriously, type in “day spa” or “events” or “restaurants” or “things to do” … you’ll get so many ideas- from salt therapy (it’s a thing) to musicals.
- Be willing to try something new- research indicates that trying new things with your partner can bring you closer together (you don’t necessarily have to LOVE the new thing- just the actual process of trying something together can be FUN).
- Be willing to be vulnerable-let your partner know that they are special and important and that you wanted to try something new to treat them- even go as far as expressing your uncertainty (“I’m not sure if this is going to be amazing or terrible but I want to experience it with you”).
- Invite humor-hey, whether you actually go to a comedy show or you become the comedy show through this new thing you plan/try- laugh your way through it. Laugh together! Approach it with lightness and softness of spirit. Be loving and silly. It’s ok!
- Be open to new ideas- from a picnic at the beach to visiting a new city an hour down the road to having dinner and dancing at home… the message is this- be intentional and plan something with the intent of demonstrating LOVE and VALUE to your person.
Need more ideas? Check these links out:
Above all- be loving to one another and have fun!
-Lori Brewster, LMFT