Our Secret 5-step Valentine’s Day Date

Valentines Day - Blog Cover

Every company and organization knows the importance of reflecting on the past and planning for the future. They call this Strategic Planning. What if couples did the same?

My partner and I have been using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to have a date for reflecting on our joint vision for our life together. This is our opportunity to reflect on what’s working well and what we want to prioritize as a couple, and as parents over the coming year. It doesn’t start off as a sexy date but it always ends with a deeper connection and deeper commitment to our journey together. This yearly ritual prevents us from drifting apart and helps us create re-alignment in terms of our hopes and wishes for the aspects of our lives that we share. We see our partnership as a joint venture. And every joint venture requires a strong alignment of the founders. Here’s our 5-step process:

1. We chose a special location.

In past years we went to coffee shops or restaurants that had a relaxing atmosphere, preferably with seating around a fire. This year we plan to spend a day at a spa.

2. We take some time to review last year’s vision and reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, what we followed through with, and what fell through the cracks.

It’s important to make these observations without judgment or blame. This is usually quite fun and insightful. We usually get to feel proud of all the things that worked well and be curious to understand why some things didn’t go as planned. We also take a little time to notice all the visions from all our other years together and just delight in what’s changed and what’s still important to us. Each year’s vision is in the form of a one-page mind map.

3. We then express gratitude for the things that we appreciate about our relationship.

It’s almost like a contest to see who can brainstorm the most reasons to be grateful. I know it’s cheesy and that’s why I hesitated to share this! You have to create a process that works for you. If you start with this 5-step process as your suggested road-map you will naturally make it your own over time.

4. We think of our relationship as including nine categories or areas of life.

I encourage you to create your own list of categories. These are the categories we use:

  • Parenting
  • Health and Fitness
  • Sex
  • Connection to our extended families
  • Social life (friendships and contribution to our communities) 
  • Finances
  • Adventure (this is where we plan trips, activities, and vacations)
  • Growth (what we would like to learn or how we want to grow)
  • Long term dreams (we like to play with future entrepreneurial ideas and envision our life post parenthood)

In this step, we just review whether the same categories still make sense or whether we need to swap any in/out.

5. We spend some time chatting about our visions for each category in the coming year.

We agree on keywords or short sentences that capture the essence of our hopes and wishes under each category. By agreeing on short sentences and keywords we start populating our mind map. We like to use different coloured pens or markers for each category so that the page looks bright and playful. 

That’s all! Then we put away the pens and paper and just enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the evening.

I’ve never felt the need to get married, and yet, every Valentine’s Day feels like a conscious re-commitment.

I hope this serves as inspiration to bring some conscious thought into how you choose to live your life.

Have an inspiring day, an inspiring week and an inspiring life, 

Ginny Santos MSc. CEO, Well-being advocate, and Adjunct Professor.

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© Neolé 2024

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© Neolé 2024