There’s certainly some truth to the idea that Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday that coerces us to spend oodles of money on special chocolates, lackluster flowers, heart-shaped pizza, and jewelry we’re not even sure we want. A quick internet search will tell you that Americans spend somewhere between $20-30 billion on Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of money to spend to show your love. And it’s not just money! The holiday brings all kinds of other pressure, too. Pressure to connect, feel close, and be head over heels in love with your partner.
Between that pressure and the money you’ll spend, it’s easy to say to your spouse, “Hey, this year, let’s just skip the whole ‘Valentine’s’ thing. We know we love each other, so let’s save the money and avoid the hoopla.”
But should you? Should you skip out on the chance and opportunity to celebrate your relationship and love for one another? We don’t think so. This post is not about urging you to skip Valentine’s Day. Quite the opposite. We’re encouraging you to make Valentine’s Day a bigger deal this year. It absolutely does not have to be expensive, but it should feel meaningful.
Here are three ways to embrace Valentine’s Day differently this year:
Think about Valentine’s Day as a pre-scheduled date night.
You know that you should keep dating your partner throughout your relationship – but as you can probably attest, it’s hard to get that on the schedule. Oftentimes, that’s literally the hardest part: picking a date/time and prepping the stuff you have to do to make that date happen. In this case, treat Valentine’s Day as a date night you don’t even have to think twice about. It’s just a given that it’s happening. And as always with dates, it doesn’t have to be fancy meal at a trendy restaurant; do what works for your relationship in the season you’re in.
Throw the cheesy gift idea out the window.
If you know your spouse’s love language, gift with that in mind instead. Whether it’s acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, time together, or material gifts, keep this insight front and center when selecting a gift to show your love. You can take a cheesy moment and make it into something meaningful that ultimately brings you closer to each other.
Model expressing love for your kids.
Love isn’t just for adults. Kids learn about love from a very young age watching their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family, and friends interact. They see it on TV, hear about it in the books you read to them, and as they get older they’ll learn about it in school. Be intentional this year in how you express love to your spouse when your kids are present. Talk about it. Share with your kids why you love your spouse, and while you’re at it, share why you love each of them, too. There’s a caveat to this one – keep in mind what’s age-appropriate for your kids, and if you don’t have kids at home, consider this for any little ones you interact with (nieces, nephews, grandkids, etc.)
No matter how you choose to celebrate, the reason why you should is simple. Your relationship is built on love, and love deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed. If we don’t take the time to do the things that feel cheesy or live into a day that could be just another day in February, it’s a slippery slope to no longer putting in the effort. Your relationship deserves the effort.