It’s Valentine's Day...cue red hearts, roses and all the anxiety that goes with meeting your lover’s high expectations. But are these the crucial ingredients of a fulfilling relationship?
Not according to Brian Walsh a leading authority on entrepreneurship and human behaviour.
Walsh notes that before you can talk about having a healthy intimate relationship you need to live a life that is a reflection of your true values, not the ones imposed by society.
“For a relationship to thrive, you do not need to have exactly the same values, but you do need to be supportive and respectful of each other’s values”, he explains.
Trying to impose your personal values on your partner is a quick road to disaster, while respect for each other will help you over the bumpiest patches, though none of this can be achieved by buying expensive gifts one day a year, he adds.
To help couples meander their way to winning relationships Walsh's company REAL Success is hosting an event with keynote speakers Justin Cohen and Robin Banks.
A Weekly Valentine’s Day
Robin Banks, one of the speakers at the event, is also not a fan of the trappings of commercial romance, and believes that hard work is needed to keep a relationship afloat, especially after the initial love hormones have faded, which can last for anything from two months to two years.
“During this heady stage we are in love with our projection of ‘the perfect partner’”, he says.
Cohen says it is easy to dismiss the commercialised version of Valentine’s Day but anything that encourages people to take the time to write love notes and go on date nights should be applauded.
The issue is that one day a year is not nearly enough to keep love alive, though a weekly Valentine’s Day might be just the thing.
He says that in good relationships the partners continue to do the little things they did during the giddy early days of the relationship, making them into habits that make each other feel valued and supported.
Keep Love Alive Everyday
The one habit that can keep love alive is showing our appreciation for each other, every day. “We never get bored of being appreciated. You can never say thank you enough,” says Cohen.
You can send a daily WhatsApp telling your partner how much you appreciate them, for example, he says.
If all of this sounds like hard work, it is because that is what it takes to make love last. Banks says that an indication that you have found a good match is if you are willing to put in the hours it will take to keep the relationship warm and rewarding.
“Being conscious and aware of what is required to keep your relationship on track can help you avoid another pitfall that many relationships fall into — growing apart”, Banks says.
We all change as we get older, no-one is the same person at 40 that they were at 20, but the secret it to try to do your growing together so the relationship benefits from your shared experiences.
To find out more about how to have a warm, fulfilling relationship, join Cohen at the Winning Relationships event on February 29 and March 1 at the Bryanston Country Club. The event will also be broadcast live.