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This year BE a Valentine!

romantic give and take
romantic give and take

Remember Valentine’s Day 2010? If it was a perfect day with the love of your life and you’re anticipating another romantic Valentine's celebration in 2011, then you may want to skip this article.

But if all you received from your beloved last year was an obligatory card, not even a long-stemmed rose, let alone a box of chocolates, an expensive dinner, or the marriage proposal you thought you deserved, perhaps it’s time for review.

This year—before pointing your finger at another insensitive brute—see if you squelched his love potential in 2010. Whether you’re in the same relationship or you’ve found a new love interest, ask yourself the questions on the following list. If most of your answers are “no,” then make a few changes in your conversational etiquette to maximize your RQ (romance quotient) this Valentine's Day.

Communication Skills for Lovers Checklist:

  • Do you avoid complaining?
  • Do you refrain from continually talking about yourself?
  • Do you ask your romantic partner questions about his accomplishments, interests, and preferences?
  • Are you attentive, even impressed, when he answers your inquiries?
  • Do you let him have the spotlight without interrupting?
  • Do you listen to his responses without pronouncing judgment?
  • Do you encourage conversation with a genuine smile?
  • Do you maintain eye contact with him, nod, and make brief comments of encouragement when he talks?
  • During conversation, do you flirt in a subtle manner, such as touching his hand, instead of engaging in show-stopping moves calculated to distract him? (Use your imagination in considering this question.)
  • Do you attempt to have a working knowledge of the topics that interest him, so you can ask intelligent questions that won’t bore him? Do you follow sports or the daily news enough that you can maintain your end of the conversation?
  • Have you made it clear to him that a quiet evening of intimate conversation is more important to you than a pricey dinner date?

If you’re experiencing any cynicism after reading this list, please suspend it right now. Remember to B-E-L-I-E-V-E. Doubtfulness and romance don’t mix. And consideration is vital to love no matter how long you've been together.

This easy-to-follow checklist (perhaps without the flirting reference) works as a common sense standard for any social situation. Practice its tenets and watch the positive change occur when you interact with other men and women.

Finally, mutual respect is key to successful relationships. If you can honestly answer yes to all or most of the above questions, and the other party isn't responding in a caring manner, maybe he really IS an insensitive brute and it's time to move on.

As addressed in this article, both men and women can be insensitive, and—sometimes without conscious intent—invalidate others, even those they love. The subject as discussed above can apply to women in relationships with other women, or men with other men. It's not intended to exclude men or women of any sexual orientation who might be reading it. I've used the pronoun he, him, and his for purposes of simplification.


  • Christiane Lavanoux 4 years ago

    Hello Mary Kathryn,

    Congratulations on your article! It is such a pleasure to read you. Great point here regarding communication and its two way exchange pattern. Reviewing the way we communicate is essential and your easy-to-follow checklist is very helpful as it throws some light on repeated situations.

    It can just be so simple to express our own feelings, share our needs that haven't been fulfilled and then be clear on what we wish, at least both partners know what is important to the other person and both step out of the blaming game.

    A Happy Valentine's Day to you Mary Kathryn!

    Christiane and Mary Margaret

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