We all know Valentine’s Day is coming. Just look around the stores! Red hearts and cupids are everywhere. Cards are plentiful with romantic sayings and pretty logos. Lace and chocolate compete for space on the shelves. Every year, we are reminded that it will soon be the day to say “I love you” to one special person. It can be anyone—a family member, a friend, a pet, or of course a spouse or significant other. The only requirement is that you show adoration and make a big fuss about your feelings and how special they are.
Besides the usual way of sending Valentine wishes such as flowers, chocolate, candy, and dinner out, what can you do to show that love? How creative can you be?
Here are my desires: My spouse walks the dog in the morning so I don’t have to get out of bed. He brings me coffee in bed just the way I like it and seals the gesture with a good morning kiss. I also love it if he surprises me by taking my car to the car wash or by making a special home-cooked dinner served with candlelight. He spares me a task that I find difficult or inconvenient and invents something pleasant jaunt for me. Thoughtful gestures like these mean love to me
What shows love to you? It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Make sure your special person knows what you value. If someone sends you flowers and you have to give them away because you are allergic to them, the loving gesture is lost in the translation. Not all of us can eat chocolate. For some of us, a day spent hiking together or riding bicycles is more romantic than an evening at a fancy restaurant.
It doesn’t matter what makes your heart beat a little faster, the important thing is that you can’t assume a new friend (or even a long-term spouse) will know what you consider an expression of love. Share a short list of two or three things that would thrill you for Valentine’s Day, and ask the other person to share the same personal information with you. When you are with someone who wants to make you happy you will never be disappointed. Asking for what you want isn’t always easy, but it can be so important to maintaining a healthy relationship. If your partner is not very expressive or has fears of rejection, offer some suggestions of what he or she may like. For the guys, if you are tired of socks and aftershave, speak up. What spells love in your world? A new tire gauge? A fishing reel? A night out to watch sports at with your buddies? Getting a pass on having to paint the guest room? For the ladies, if you are on a diet and don’t want edible gifts or sweet smelling flowers speak up and offer other ideas.
I’m sure most of us would like to be given a trip to Europe or a new car for Valentine’s Day, but few of us can afford such largesse. What is the heart of romance? The fact that you have been paying attention. If toys with a squeaky device in them frighten your dog, you wouldn’t want to buy one as a special gift. If your spouse is a tea drinker, don’t bring a gift of a latte for an impromptu afternoon break. I have a friend who has saved every note or card her husband has ever sent her, because it is something he rarely does, and she treasures every heartfelt emotion that he puts into the words. Another friend kept an inexpensive balloon until it popped because someone she had started dating remembered that it made her laugh during a trip to the grocery store. Books or CDs can be a great option if you have been paying attention to what your significant other likes to read or listen to. Is she the kind of person who would appreciate a spa treatment or a massage, or would she rather get somebody else to make sure the car got an oil change?
One final thought, consider extending this gesture of love to other days throughout the year so that more than one day a year is devoted to making your partner feel special. Wouldn’t it be amazing to express or receive these gestures when we least expect it? A holiday can often seem forced or disingenuous. How special is it if somebody is just doing what the calendar tells them to do? Going out of the way to create small, thoughtful gifts that express your feelings can be so lovely if a person we care about is having a rough day or simply doesn’t expect a surprise.
How are you planning on making this valentine’s day special for your partner?