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A Valentine’s Day Card to My Lover

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM this week:

Want to show heart-felt love for Valentine’s Day without spending a lot of dough? Here is an idea: Inside your Valentine’s Day card, write down one reason you love your spouse for each year you have been together. If you haven’t been together for a year yet, perhaps you can write one for each month you have been dating OR write down what you hope for your lives together next year.

This year, my card is going to be public.

To Eric, my husband of 14 years:

  1. I love that you know me well enough not to have a conversation until I have had my first cup of coffee. You have amazing patience when I am not my best self, and for that I am deeply grateful.
  2. I love the way my heart still flutters when you give me “that” look. Yeah. You know the one.
  3. I love how you parent our daughter. She is growing up to be confident, articulate, witty, poised, courageous, beautiful and well-loved because of you. (I don’t think that she will ever get married because all the other guys will pale in comparison to her dad. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.)
  4. I love that you are pursuing your dreams in life. I am so excited to see you begin your post-graduate degree, continue to build your dream team at work, and fulfill the other hopes and dreams we have spent hours talking about.
  5. I love that you support me as I pursue my dreams. I would not have finished my book, had the courage to teach about sex or stuck it out in the lean years had it not been for you.
  6. I love the way you kiss. You really are a phenomenal kisser. That was one of the first things I liked about you, and it hasn’t grown stale over the years.
  7. I love the fact that you always put family above everything else in life (even as you are doing #4). You take Riley to school every morning even though you show up a bit late to work because you know that these years are too precious to squander. When I am spiraling into “task mode,” you remind me what is really important in life and help me refocus.
  8. I love the way you tell stories. Your skill set in this area has truly reached master level. If I can be as half as good as you by the time I die, I will die satisfied.
  9. I love the fact that you know when to shut up and just hold me. I had to teach you how to do this in our first year of marriage, but now you recognize when I need it faster than I do.
  10. I love that we can have our own friends and activities apart from one another, but also share so much together. You know how to walk the balance of not having too much of one or the other.
  11. I love that you cook. After all these years, after all these meals, you still love puttering around in the kitchen and demanding that we eat while the food is hot. I cannot count the number of times I have finished long before you even sat down…just the way you want it.
  12. I love the fact that there is always some guy in your life who you are mentoring. You love to pour into the people around you, especially the guys who remind you of your younger self.
  13. I love that when we are fighting, your sense of humor brings “levity” to the moment and reminds us both what is important – not to get a win, but to work together as a team.
  14. I love that we are still writing our story together. It has been a great romance, drama and adventure, and it has me hooked to find out what will come next.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lover. You are my world!

The Wifey

Bedwork 3: Thank You Note

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM this week:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so this is the time when most people feel socially obligated to have warm fuzzies about their partner. Interestingly enough, research is now telling us that what we focus on grows, so you will have more of those warm fuzzies when you are paying attention to all the things that s/he does right rather than all the things that s/he is doing wrong.

Back in 1965, researchers studied and developed a concept now known as the Pygmalion Effect.[i] According to this phenomenon, a teacher who expects a certain student to do well in her class will give that student more feedback, smile at him more often, and nonverbally reinforce the expectation that this student will succeed. Often, these students go on to meet all expectations and rise to the top of their classes. It is, in essence, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Nearly two decades later, Doctors Eden and Ravid tested the concept of the Pygmalion Effect in their Israeli Defense Forces’ experiment.[ii] Members of the Israeli military were brought into a command combat course for training. Four days before the training began, the researchers told the instructors that they had assessed each trainee and given them a “regular,” “high” or “unknown” command potential (CP). The instructors were to study all the soldiers’ files and their accompanying CP scores before classes began.

Unbeknownst to the instructors, these command potentials were not based on testing done on the soldiers, but instead randomly assigned. Roughly a third of the soldiers fell into each category of command potential. Soldiers in all three command potential groups were then evenly distributed amongst the classes and instructors.

In as little as a week, researchers noticed a difference between soldiers who had been designated with a high command potential and the others. They were at the top of their class, having rapidly excelled past the others. By the end of the training period, not only had they outperformed the other soldiers in their coursework and exercises, but they also reported they had a much more positive attitude towards future training, and evaluated their instructors much higher than the other soldiers.

This experiment showed that people rise or fall to the level of expectation around them. Whether you realize it or not, you send out nonverbal messages of anticipation to your colleagues, friends, children and even your spouse. They respond to these messages in how they behave around you.

If you are constantly expecting, perceiving and thinking of your spouse’s failure, you are going to see it. You will miss all the times your spouse does well because you will subconsciously toss out any exception to the rule and look for instances that confirm your belief of him/her. More importantly, your spouse will fail because s/he is not getting the subliminal reassurances that you expect her/him to succeed.

The great news is the Pygmalion Effect works both negatively and positively. You can change your levels of expectation with your spouse. When you begin to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship, this allows her space to change and grow. It allows him to be appreciated for his efforts. It allows her to respond warmly to you. The fact you have shifted your attention to the successful encourages him to keep up the good work.

So here’s your Bedwork for the week: Catch your spouse doing three things right this week. It might be in the way that he parents the kids, the tireless effort she puts forth to keep all the schedules organized, the fact that he takes the garbage out or her refusal to let you leave without a hug and a kiss. Look for three things that you appreciate about your spouse and then write him/her a thank you note for those things. Express your appreciation for all the little things you noticed this week. That will deepen the closeness between the two of you and get you well on your way to having a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

Want more Bedwork? Get my book The Essential Elements of Sex today.

 


[i] The original experiment was conducted in 1965, and the two researchers wrote a book on their findings in 1968 (updated in 1992). See Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1992). Pygmalion in the Classroom: Teacher Expectation and Pupils’ Intellectual Development, 2nd ed. New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc.

[ii] Eden, D. (1992). “Leadership and Expectations: Pygmalion Effects and Other Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in Organizations.” Leadership Quarterly, 3(4): 271-305.

10 Simple Steps to the Perfect Valentine’s Date

As an event planner at Amuse Consulting with over 10 years experience I’m the first person friends and colleagues call when they need to plan the perfect experience for that special someone. When Eryn-Faye called and asked for some advice on planning the perfect Valentines date I knew exactly what to say, it’s all in the planning!

Here are 10 of my quick tips for ensuring a successful date that is sure to wow your loved one.

The restaurant date:

  1. Pick a restaurant you both have enjoyed and you know provides great food and service. Don’t try a new restaurant for the first time, you may or may not get the service you hope for.
  2. Choose your table ahead of time. When making your reservation actually go into the restaurant and request the specific table you want. Perhaps you want a bit of privacy, maybe you want to ensure you are away from the entrance and the kitchen. The trick is to ensure the table you request makes the night about the two of you and not what’s happening in the rest of the restaurant.
  3. Choose the menu ahead of time. Pick everything from the wine, the appetizers, main course desert etc… if you are not a “foodie” ask the restaurant to help you. The goal is to make your date feel pampered and also let’s them know that you’ve paid attention and really know their likes and dislikes.
  4. Order your date’s favourite flowers and have them delivered with your Valentines Day card to the restaurant. Make sure you put the name the reservation is under on the card so they know what table to put them on for when you arrive.
  5. Build anticipation… you’ve picked the restaurant, your table and the food now you start to tease your date with just enough info to make them wonder what you’ve planned. Let them know you have a date but give them nothing else, not the time, the place, anything J
  6. Valentines Day morning start off with a cute and funny Valentines Day card. Include some of the details for your upcoming date. Let them know what type of outfit to wear and what time they should expect to be ready for.
  7. Valentines Day after work it’s all about being stress free. Make sure that everything has been prepped in advance for the return home, candles are strategically placed, favourite mood music playlist has been created and is all set to go. When you arrive home it will only take two minutes for the mood to be continued.
  8. Dress for success. The adage usually applies to work and career but it applies just the same here. Make sure you look your best, smell good, and have your hair cut the day or two before.
  9. The perfect Valentines Day Gift isn’t about how much you’ve spent, its about how much thought went into it. With all the planning you’ve done on the dinner the gift should also be thoughtful and meaningful. One of my favourites costs nothing, relationship gift certificates! Create a few gift certificates that your date can redeem at a later time. Things should include experiences that your date often asks for but are not always possible due to busy lives. For example “a candle lit scented bath”, “a romantic massage”, “a home made dinner for two” are just a few of the possibilities. Be creative and make them specific to your loved one.
  10. Most importantly be authentic, real and be present! The greatest gift we can give someone is to be in the moment with them and to give them our full attention.

Hopefully these will give you some inspiration in creating your perfect date.  If you choose to cook a meal at home see how the tips would be relevant and adjust accordingly.  The principles are the same.

Marc Smith

Founder of Amuse Consulting, Marc Smith brings more than a decade of event planning experience to each event. Having worked for seven years at Capers Community Markets in Vancouver as Regional Demo and Special Event Coordinator, Marc planned a wide variety of sponsored and in-store events. He is also a graduate (and valedictorian!) of Leadership Vancouver, as well as a founding board member of the BC Ethics in Action Society

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Amuse Consulting Inc. is a full service boutique event planning company in Vancouver. We specialize in creating events for Businesses and Not-for-Profits that integrate seamlessly with the brand and identity of our clients. A strategic project management style approach infused with sustainability and community-minded initiatives ensure your event is on track for all of the triple bottom lines. Financial, Environmental and Social Impact.

Marc Smith – Guest Writer

VALENTINE’S DAY

I know that most of you are aware that Valentine’s Day is coming up, but perhaps you are too tired, too preoccupied with your New Year’s goals, or too annoyed by the occasion to pay much attention. Many people find this “holiday” to be overwhelming.  All of us, at one time or another, have harbored homicidal thoughts toward Cupid.

dead cupid

This year, however, I am going to make the planning easy for you. Next week, Marc Smith, a professional event planner and the founder of Amuse Consulting, will be sharing “10 Simple Steps to the Perfect Valentine’s Date.”

These brilliant and yet easy ideas will ensure that you create a date you’ll both remember for years. Check back with us on January 26th.