I hope everyone had an awesome Valentine’s Day. As we leave Valentine’s Day 2020 behind and have over 350 days until the next one, many will struggle to keep love alive. Without the obvious reminders of Feb. 14 and the seemingly obvious gifts, some will not know what to do.

But keeping love alive all year long is a lot like getting rich, losing weight, or keeping your house warm: successful people realize it doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little over time with many small, consistent actions.

In fact there’s an old quote that states you can’t fan the flames of romance on Valentine’s Day if you haven’t kept the pilot light lit all year. This reminds me to show love for my spouse year round, in many small ways, and not just in a big way on one obvious day each February.

With so many things competing for our time, remembering to take a little time for our relationship can be a challenge. Before we know it busy days lead to busy months and soon another year has gone by and we never did take the time to do the little things that we swore we would do tomorrow.

The famous quote from Music Man that says “You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays” reminds us of the dangers of letting time slip by. A lot of empty yesterdays is a sure way to kill a relationship simply by neglect and the good intentions of tomorrow.

So as we venture into the rest of 2020, be wise and think of the little ways to help keep your relationship strong. I’ve set my phone to remind me once a month to buy flowers for my wife. While it may sound silly that I need a reminder, I’ve found that if I don’t remind myself monthly time flies by and it’s been months in no time at all.

Other small ideas could include the starting of a new habit that’s important to your spouse, such as making the bed each day, remembering to empty the trash, or helping to get the kids to bed each night.

Performing a daily random act of kindness for your spouse or deciding to send them a daily text just to say hi are also ideas to help keep the pilot light lit. Since you know your spouse best, the list can become even more personal and meaningful.

As you venture into these new small traditions you’ll notice the benefits pay off over time. Just like the results of saving a little extra money each month or skipping dessert can bring great results over time, doing small things though out the year to keep love alive adds up too. There’s a lot of time left in 2020, so now’s a great time to start doing those small things to make a big difference.

If you wait until tomorrow to start these things you likely will be left instead with a lot of empty yesterdays. As times goes on this year is only going to get busier and busier. More and more things will compete for your time that is already spread thin. So be wise and don’t put off planning the small things until tomorrow.

Pull out that phone now. Program those reminders today. Generate that list of small things you want to start doing. Decide which small habits to start now.

Go do some dishes. Go rub their feet. Go find them just to say hi. Give them a peck on the cheek right now. Do a small, spontaneous act of love now and not tomorrow.

Keeping love alive can be a lot of fun. If it’s not, you’re doing something wrong. I enjoy stopping by and picking up flowers for my wife each month. I even enjoy making the bed for her.

As you start your own personalized list of ways to keep the pilot light lit all year you’ll notice the growing effects of a stronger relationship will develop. Your efforts will pay off. You’ll enjoy your relationship all year long instead of just trying to fan the flames of a neglected relationship on Valentine’s Day next year or trying to lose 50 pounds by Friday.

For more tips on keeping your relationship strong visit www.panhandlecouples.com.

Remember, couple relationships are easier than you think, but harder than you act.

Mark Anderson is a mental health therapist specializing in couples therapy. He is in private practice in Scottsbluff at Oregon Trail Mental Health. He can be reached at 635-2800 or online at www.panhandlecouples.com.

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