You stand in the doorway, hands on hips, staring at your husband excitedly playing some stupid game involving shooting up a bunch of aliens or colored balls or who knows what this time. “Honey!” you say, straining to be heard above the over-indulged sound effects blaring out of his computer. Nothing. You count to five, tapping your foot, and here we go again: “Honey!!” “What?” he says, eyes locked on the screen in front of him. “Could you please round up the kids and get them washed up for dinner? It’s ready.” You wait. “Please!” “Uh-huh,” he says, reluctantly shutting down his virtual existence.

You huff to yourself as you go back to the kitchen: “Why are men such children? Why can’t they just see what needs to be done and do it? Why do I spend as much time nagging him as I do the kids?” Which is pretty much the gist of your conversation with your girlfriends every week . . . what your guys do wrong, how wrong they do it, and how irritated it makes you.

Then along comes Valentine’s Day. You do love him, so you powder and primp and say sweet things, look upon him lovingly and reminisce about how much you love each other. Then it’s February 15, and back you go to the usual “Honey!-What?- Please!”

But you don’t have to. You could have a Valentine’s Day love every day of the year, if you would just stake your love claim.

Stake your love claim by looking at your man with the eyes of love, not criticism, understanding, not judgment, appreciation, not irritation. So when you see him playing at his computer, your first thought isn’t “What a waste of time, why isn’t he helping out?” but rather “I’m glad he’s taking a moment to relax, he works hard all day.” Just because you work hard all day too doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate and value the effort your man puts in.

Taking just that nano-second to love him rather than mentally beat him up changes the dynamic between the two of you. Now you can come up to him, put your hands on his shoulders and kiss the top of his head “Good game?” you may ask. “Yeah” he may say. “Wanna come join us? I could use some help with the kids for dinner,” you may ask. “OK, just a minute” he may answer. And the two of you can share a moment while he finishes, and maybe even a smile and a kiss before going off to your respective tasks.

Sound idyllic? Sound impossible? Try it! Stake your love claim here and there, every day, just a little, and watch the love between you become more present, more real, more genuinely lived with each passing day.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent book is "Your Man is Wonderful" (Free Press, 2009). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives through appreciation--at work, at home and in relationships. E-mail: nnelson@dr.noellenelson.com, website: noellenelson.com.