What are you afraid of?
Because, let’s be frank, it’s EASY to be romantic and lovey-dovey with your significant other on Valentine’s Day. There are little paper hearts everywhere, we’re all drunk on cheap chocolates and pink champagne, and even the calendar reminds you that you’re supposed to tell your partner “I love you” on the 14th.
Romance on Valentine’s Day doesn’t take much work, but loving someone on a normal day … on a non-holiday Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday… can call for some real effort.
It’s not always easy to LOVE.
Too often, we find someone we care about and we criticize them and nitpick and push them around in a vain attempt to change them. And that’s not love. That’s judgment, which doesn’t benefit anyone.
But there is a way you can combat those tendencies to judge first, love second. It’s called Radical Acceptance, and it’s the foundation for an exciting new book by Andrea Miller, the founder of YourTango.
If you want to see what a positive impact that Radical Acceptance can have on your romance, why not take us up on a little CHALLENGE?
As soon as Valentine’s season is over and done with, we CHALLENGE you to spend ONE WEEK testing out the principles of Radical Acceptance in your everyday relationship.
It doesn’t take much effort. We’re only asking you to try out ONE new thing a day. But, if you commit to full-week challenge, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you get out of it.
Are you game? Here goes…
THE ONE-WEEK POST-VALENTINE RADICAL ACCEPTANCE CHALLENGE:
DAY ONE: Are You “All In” When It Comes To Your Relationship?
You’re going to start off the week doing something really hard — you need to ask yourself if you’re actually committed to this relationship. This is a day for soul-searching. Are there major red flags you’ve been ignoring? If someone asks you if you see a future with your partner, do you shrug? Do you already have your relationship escape routes planned out?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to any or all of those questions, this challenge might not be for you. Andrea Miller has a saying — “Just love him or dump him.” If you can’t really visualize yourself being able to love your partner — ugly parts and all — then why stay together in the first place?
End it now and give each other the potential of finding honest-to-god TRUE love in the world some day.
BUT, if you do think you’re in this romance for the long-haul, a). Congratulations! and b). you’re ready to move on to Day Two…
DAY TWO: It’s Time To Pay Some Compliments
A major part of Radical Acceptance is learning to love your partner’s “unlovable” parts, but that’s much easier said than done. It will help, however, if you give yourself some practice.
Here’s what you’re going to do — every day for the rest of the week, you must give your partner THREE genuine compliments or heartfelt “thank yous'. EVERY DAY.
It might take some effort, particularly if your significant other is annoying the crap out of you that week, but this exercise is all about eliminating negativity. You are actively trying to accentuate the positive this week to allow yourself to see those positive qualities more easily for the rest of the year.
DAY THREE: Take A Positive Look At Yourself
Radical Acceptance isn’t just about learning not to judge your partner so harshly. What you’ll find is that many of your judgments about your significant other really reflect negative feelings you have about yourself.
But here’s the thing — you’re awesome.
You are. But you need to remind yourself that from time to time. So, today, we’re going to turn those compliments back toward yourself. Today, you should identify THREE qualities about yourself that you really, really like. Three qualities that you want to protect. Three qualities that you think make you attractive, admirable, unique, and strong.
Taking inventory and honestly looking at what you like about yourself will give you a better understanding of your priorities and remind you that we ALL have things we’re proud of. And that’s important to keep in mind before you criticize your partner for a quality that might be one of their favorite things about themselves.
DAY FOUR: Observe Other Couples In The Wild
How do children learn to do things? By modeling behavior. They see adults or older children doing something and they work to emulate what they’re seeing. The same methodology can work with Radical Acceptance.
If you feel like your relationship is floundering, here’s what you do — go observe a couple you know that seems to have everything together.
Try to focus on the things you admire about their relationship — when they look out for each other, when they apologize, when they cut each other slack. Pay attention to how they accept each other and try to take away some best practices.
DAY FIVE: Surprise Your Partner.
Today’s goal is simple — surprise the person you love.
It can be a gesture or a gift. You can make special plans or do something sweet, small, and unexpected.
The specifics don’t matter. What does matter is that you create a moment where, without reason or agenda, you present your partner with a spontaneous sign of your love. You show them that your passion for them isn’t merely reciprocal. You don’t need to wait until a holiday (or until they do something for you) to make an effort to show them some love and gratitude.
It’s a small gesture, but it wonderfully reinforces that love needs to come from a place free of judgment and free of any ulterior motives.
DAY SIX: Develop Your Team Pride
Today’s challenge is silly and fun, but it comes with some fairly major significance.
The goal today is — you need to play a game with your partner.
That’s it. A game. Could be a board game, a sport, a video game. You can organize a game night with friends or spend the evening playing Mario Kart with just the two of you.
BUT here’s the catch — whatever game you play, you HAVE to be on the same team.
This is not a day for competition. This is a day for collaboration. Too often, in relationships, we develop an adversarial dynamic. However, you need to remember… YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM.
You shouldn’t be trying to beat your partner. There’s no prize for “winning” in your relationship. The only goal that matters is how you play the game together. So, take today to play some games, have some fun, and remind yourself that your significant other is NOT your opponent.
DAY SEVEN: Have Sex
Not to be blunt about it, but, yeah, sex is important.
If you haven’t already had sex this week, this is the day you need to make sure you’re initiating some serious physical contact. (And, even if you’ve already had sex, why not have more?)
Stepping up (and getting down) is a vital part of keeping a romance healthy. Use Day Seven to commit to having sex AT LEAST once a week. Even if you have kids and it seems like a logistical nightmare, it will make SUCH a difference in your relationship.
That’s it! That’s our Week-Long Post-Valentine’s Day Radical Acceptance Challenge! If you commit to following those steps every day for one week, you will definitely start feeling more accepted, more engaged, and more loved by your partner. And they’ll see the difference too.
And, if you like the results of the challenge, pre-order Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love by Andrea Miller NOW.
The book is filled with more data, exercises, and anecdotes that really bring home how Radical Acceptance can not only change your relationship for the better, but it can also help change the way you interact with the world itself.
Because once you start saying “Yes” to the universe and accepting people for who they are, it’s hard to ever go back.