For Valentine’s Day, Invest in Being Better Together

Valentine’s Day is near and love is the air. For many, February 14th is the one day we set aside to celebrate love and the relationships in our lives.

A lot of us celebrate that love through our wallets. U.S. consumers are predicted to spend a total of nearly $26 billion on their significant others this Valentine’s Day, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation. More than half of people surveyed said that they plan to spend an average of $193 on candy, cards, plushies, romantic dinners and jewelry.

What you can’t put a value on is a strong and lasting relationship. In my experience (and maybe in yours) gifts and candlelight make for a special day, but for a relationship to work throughout time, it takes communication, cooperation and patience.

A lot of couples struggle to make things work. Nearly half of marriages end in divorce, and Florida’s divorce rate is higher than the national average. Relationship problems can also lead to child neglect, poor health and domestic violence. To help strengthen relationships of all kinds, UF/IFAS Extension offers the SMART Couples program. Developed by Dr. Victor Harris, associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of family, youth and community sciences, SMART Couples provides workshops, classes and online resources for people to learn positive communication skills and build stronger relationships.

On Friday, February 10 from 6 to 9:15 p.m., SMART Couples Florida will host “Better Together,” a virtual event offered live online. Relationship experts from the University of Florida will present talks about what to do if you’re planning to marry, tips for dating (and traps to avoid), dealing with stress and trauma, managing money as a couple, positive coparenting, tapping into your emotional intelligence, and using life-changing communications skills. The cost to register is $15 (less than a small heart-shaped box of chocolates) and makes a fun Friday night streaming binge. You’ll learn things to talk about with your partner and skills to help build a relationship that’s stronger, more loving and lasting.

You can learn more and register here.

If you can’t make it to the Feb. 10 event or just want to learn what it’s about, you can visit the SMART Couples website at There you can learn about classes offered in-person and online, find couples therapy in your area, and read articles in English and Spanish about communicating better and strengthening your relationship.

Candy is sweet and diamonds may be forever, but building a strong relationship with your partner is worth anything in this world.


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Posted: February 6, 2023

Category: Relationships & Family, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: SMART Couples, Valentine's Day

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