As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be thinking about something sweet to do for your significant other. But are they planning on doing the same? Communication is key in every relationship, especially when it comes to figuring out how to set expectations within your relationship. I can guarantee that neither partner in a healthy relationship wants to let the other down. So if you have any reservations about what to expect this Valentine’s Day, you’re going to want to have a conversation and clear the air. Here is my go-to guide on how to set expectations with your significant other for Valentine’s Day.
HOW TO SET EXPECTATIONS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY
Have you heard about the five different love languages? Created by Dr. Gary Chapman, the philosophy behind love languages is fairly simple: what do you value most in a relationship? For instance, you might be someone who values quality time, whereas your partner might be someone who shows love by giving and receiving gifts. Whatever your love language is, it’s important to know what you crave from your significant other and it’s incredibly important that they know as well. Take the quiz here and educate yourself on what makes you and your partner tick.
BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED AND WHY
It’s okay if Valentine’s Day is an important day to you. It’s awesome that you want to take a minute to celebrate your relationship and your love outside of your ordinary date nights. Tell your partner this. They might not understand it initially, but with the right communication, they can get a glimpse into just how much it means to you to celebrate this international day of love. If you’re feeling like the two of you haven’t been super romantic lately either, this is the time to break into that conversation and set an easy date to make up for lost time. Having a conversation like this is an easy and low pressure way to start setting expectations with your significant other this Valentine’s Day.
TALK ABOUT SPENDING LIMITS
If you have decided to spend some money for Valentine’s Day, there are a few things you need to clarify when it comes to spending. Whether you decide to book a trip, buy a gift, go to dinner, or surprise your significant other, costs can really vary. You wouldn’t want to spend under $10 on flowers while your partner spends $100 on tickets to a show. Make sure you both feel comfortable with the number you land on and – say it with me – stick to the budget. If you think you’re being romantic by splurging past the budget, you may end up making them feel guilty that they did not do the same. This is not to say you can’t ever surprise your partner by doing something big, it’s just something to think about!
On the other hand, talk about spending money in general for Valentine’s Day. It may turn out that neither of you want to break the bank and you can rule out spending anything but time with each other for this romantic holiday.
FIND COMFORTABLE COMPROMISES
Often times in relationships you and your partner are not going to agree on everything. Expectations for a holiday like Valentine’s Day might be one of these occasions where you have different philosophies. One way to make sure no one’s Valentine’s Day is ruined is by finding compromises that make you both comfortable when it comes to gifting. This can be important for couples who are new in their relationship and for couples who have been doing this a long time. If you think that Valentine’s Day gifts should be expensive and your partner doesn’t think you should spend anything, try to find something in the middle that works for the both of you. Something that might work for your relationship is planning your Valentine’s Day celebration together. This could be a great compromise if one person is feeling the pressure more than the other.
HAVE THE CONVERSATION EARLY
If you’re hoping to have a conversation about setting expectations with your significant other this Valentine’s Day, February 13th is not a great day to do it. Make sure you have this conversation with plenty of time to spare if you’re feeling like it needs to be had. Some things, like ordering flowers or booking a restaurant, need to be taken care of early. There’s no need to add more pressure on your significant other by waiting until the last minute to set your expectations. Your icebreaker can be as simple as saying, “Did we decide what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day this year?” See? It wasn’t that hard.
BE FAIR WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS
This one is really important. You will see a lot of celebrities and affluent people on social media post online about the diamonds and dozens of roses they got. Remember when Kanye West had Kenny G serenade Kim Kardashian? Unless you have your own empire, odds are that you and your significant other cannot afford something like this. And it would be incredibly unfair to expect a grand gesture if the two of you are saving up for other big life moments. The key is to be fair about setting expectations with your significant other this Valentine’s Day. Try not to focus on what others are doing and cherish your own celebration. While it might be nice to dream, it could make things harder for you and your significant other when it comes to making each other happy on Valentine’s Day. For us this year, having a new baby, our expectations are LOW. We are lucky if we get a dinner our alone with grandparents babysitting, ha!
Setting expectations with your significant other this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be scary. If you follow these tips and have a bit of confidence, you’ll be able to get everything out on the table and relieve some pressure. No matter what you decide on doing, make sure it’s something both of you can look back on and smile about.
Do you have any tips on how to set expectations for Valentine’s Day? Let me know in a comment below!