6 Ways to Improve Your Relationships During the Month of Love
By Bellevue Christian Counseling, Bellevue Christian Counseling
February is often best known for Valentine’s Day as the day to focus on relationships. There are often expectations about the day and what should happen. It often seems like Valentine’s Day separates the population into the “haves” and “have nots,” as in those who are in a relationship and those who are not. Some people even refer to Valentine’s Day as Single’s Awareness Day. What if Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples but for everyone to focus on improving their relationships? What if we broadened our view of Valentine’s Day and transformed February into a month of love and focused on improving our relationships? What if we took this month and focused on how we can express love for those that are in our life and around us? There are many ways to celebrate and below is a list of some ideas to celebrate this month of love.
1. Make time for self-care
One of the best ways that we can show others that we care for them is by taking care of ourselves first. This self-care time fuels us and gives us the energy we need to be with others and to help them. It’s important to know what activities are refreshing for you and to schedule time for them such as watching your favorite TV show, reading a good book, working on a project from Pinterest, going to the gym or getting a massage. Self-care can look different for each person and it is important to know what is relaxing and rejuvenating for you. As you think about this month of love, make sure that you schedule some time to take care of yourself and show love to yourself.
2. Create a list of people to connect with
Think about who you want to focus on in this month – whether it’s family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. It might be helpful to write out a list so that you can make sure that you know who are your targets for love for the month. These names will be the people that you intentionally want to show love to. Next to the person’s name it might be helpful to list ways that you will show them love. One suggestion would be to think over which of Gary Chapman’s five love languages each person would like to receive – acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and receiving gifts.
3. Write notes
When is the last time you received a card in the mail? We live in a digital age where it’s easy to send a text or an e-mail and these are both great ways of keeping in touch with the people in our lives, but what if we took the next step and handwrote a card. Think about how excited that person would be to find something other than a catalog or bill in their mailbox. Share with that person about what they mean to you and what you appreciate about them. Another idea would be to commit to writing one letter a week for the month of February.
4. Make dates
For those on your list who live near by, make time to spend with them. Schedule a date where you can spend time together doing something you enjoy. Maybe there’s an activity that you both enjoy doing but haven’t been able to do together such as taking an exercise class or trying a new recipe. It could also be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break or meeting a friend for coffee.
5. Give attention to strangers
In addition to focusing on the main relationships in your life, why not also be more aware of your interactions with acquaintances and strangers over this month? How often do you have the opportunity to have conversations with cashiers or fellow people in line at the store? Another idea is to make eye contact and smile at those who you pass by throughout the day. Other ideas include opening the door for someone, paying for the person’s coffee behind you in line, or leaving a waiter/waitress a big tip. How often are we so lost in our thoughts that we don’t notice those around us? It’s a fairly simple action to smile at another person but it requires a little effort on our part.
6. Meet with a counselor
As you reflect on your relationships during this month, you may realize that you want additional support for your relationships through meeting with a Christian counselor. In counseling sessions, you have the opportunity to reflect on your relationships, to get support in growing in your relationships or to gain insight into struggles that you are experiencing. Discussing what is happening in your relationships with a Christian counselor can be beneficial for you and for those that are in your life.
When February is over, reflect on your experience during the month of love and what you learned or noticed from your time. What can you continue from this month? How do your relationships look different? Maybe the month of love will shift into the year of love as you continue to make time for the relationships in your life and show those around you how much you care for them.