1 Focus on Your Partner. It is easy to think about all the ways we hope that our partners will treat us well on Valentine’s Day. But to make the most of the day, focus on your partner and think of February 14th as a day to show your partner how much you care. Giving to others makes us happier than spending time and money on ourselves (Dunn, Aknin,& Norton, 2008). Giving as a way to express gratitude to your partner is likely to help your partner see how great you are and want to do something nice to express gratitude in return (Gordon et al., 2012). By focusing on giving and being grateful instead of on getting, you may find that both of you get more in the end.
|Give them what they want|
3 Do Something Unexpected. Expectations are the bane of gratitude. When people expect an act of kindness, such as on Valentine’s Day, they are less grateful for it (Bar-Tal, Bar-Zohan, Greenberg, & Hermon 1977). To maximize gratitude on a day filled with high expectations, try doing something unexpected. If you never cook – make your partner breakfast (if you know that is something he likes). If you don’t like to go out, plan a weekend away. Or surprising your partner with a sweet gift or act of kindness on another day when expectations are low. But beware – when people expect an act of kindness and don’t receive it, they tend to feel resentful. So if you know Valentine’s Day is important for your partner, it is best not to neglect it completely!
|Say thanks for more than the socks|
- Dunn, E., Aknin, L., & Norton, M. (2008). Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness Science, 319 (5870), 1687-1688 DOI: 10.1126/science.1150952
- Flynn, F., & Adams, G. (2009). Money can’t buy love: Asymmetric beliefs about gift price and feelings of appreciation Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45 (2), 404-409 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.11.003
- Bar-Tal, D., Bar-Zohar, Y., Greenberg, M., & Hermon, M. (1977). Reciprocity Behavior in the Relationship Between Donor and Recipient and Between Harm-Doer and Victim Sociometry, 40 (3) DOI: 10.2307/3033537