This is Romantic??
Valentine’s Day probably originated in ancient Rome. It began as a fertility festival involving goat’s blood and leather whips (Eek!), but was eventually recast as a Christian feast day to honor St. Valentine. Just who was this saintly hero? It remains a mystery. There are three guys named Valentine; all supposedly were martyred on February 14. Just how any of this is romantic, I’m not quite sure.
Chaucer and Shakespeare began to link Valentine’s Day with romance in their poetry centuries later. Exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day became a trendy way to break the icy formalities of Victorian England. Catching on across the pond, enterprising Americans created Hallmark Cards, and launched the greeting card mega-industry we know today.
Recapture the Romance on Valentine’s Day
We’ve come a long way from handcrafted verses on lacy doilies. Musical cards, chocolate candy, singing stuffed animals, boxer shorts––if you can print a heart on it, you can buy it for Valentine’s Day. But, where’s the romance in that?
If you’re a crafty-cookie, the options are as endless as the pins on Pinterest. From heart-shaped pizzas, to love altars lit with luminaries, ideas are only a few keystrokes away. But, sometimes a thousand points of light are more blinding than inspiring. I don’t know about you, but Pinterest gives me a headache.
When you really want to make a love-connection, you have to use the computer between your ears. Romance begins with forethought and kindness. At any age or stage of your relationship, the bottom line is, everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated. Figure out what makes your sweetie tick. If you make the extra effort to show you’ve noticed, it is a rejuvenating gift that keeps on giving. Your loved one will automatically want to reciprocate.
“How Do I Love Thee?” Words Go A Long Way
Most of us today rely on Hallmark to say all the right words. Not everyone is a poet––that’s how the greeting card industry stays in business. But, a personally written sentiment, however clunky, can be uniquely meaningful to you both. Only you can put that on paper.
Take some time alone and just marinate in the things you notice and appreciate about your partner. It doesn’t have to me a poem. Just a paragraph of what you love about your Valentine speaks volumes more than a store-bought card never could. If you’re a person of few words., pull out the thesaurus. Plunge in with both feet and give your best effort. It is a risk, but one that conveys true, genuine feeling.
Love for the Long-Haul
Even if you’re in a happy long-term relationship, you will never outgrow the desire to be appreciated and loved. Making original efforts to show affection are especially important for the long-term couple. Giving candy and flowers over and over again each year can grow stale. Show you are still emotionally engaged and keep your relationship vibrant.
No one knows better than you what floats your Valentine’s boat. Is it food? Then plan a gourmet meal in an intimate setting. Is it a favorite show or event? Get tickets. The key to a perfect Valentine’s Day is love, personal attention, and thoughtfulness.
Invest time, thought, and ingenuity into creative altar building. Snippets of your life together tell the story of your relationship. Make an arrangement of personal milestones you have experienced together. Paint them on smooth stones, or represent them with personal objects. You have lots of memories to draw upon––use them. You will end up feeling more romantic yourself just by putting it together.
Tips for Women
Men appreciate it when women turn the tables. The lion’s share of Valentine’s Day planning is usually left to the men, but when a woman makes the plans and does the wooing, it keeps her man on his toes and makes the day exciting.
Take time to look your best. Sparks will fly when you feel confident and your partner feels appreciated. Plan a special surprise, but really go the whole nine yards. Dress up. Get your hair done, and a get a manicure. An up-do, or a special style makes a statement. The build-up will begin when you walk through the door looking like a million bucks. Be playful, and spontaneous, say, “I love you” without words––do something to make him blush! It will be an evening he’ll never forget.
Tips for Men
If you’re a man, hear this! Valentine’s Day is not the day for practical gifts. Don’t whisk her away to get her tires rotated, or present her with some useful kitchen appliance wrapped up in a bow. Unless, of course, she’s just that kind of woman, and you know it will put her on cloud nine. Frankly, I’ve never met any of these women. Valentine’s Day is a time for investing in the trifles. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to impress, but get her something extravagant that she won’t be likely to splurge on for herself.
Has your partner been running ragged? Refueling and recharging are oftentimes a great way to inject the romance back into a relationship. It’s hard to be romantic when you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. The gift of a day of pampering at the salon will make her feel loved and cared for, and she will leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and confident.
Alone, But Not Lonely
All by yourself on V-Day? Love is in the air, but on Valentine’s Day, some are just reminded of their loneliness. It’s a special day to celebrate love, but it doesn’t have to be romantic love. Look around to see if someone in your life could use a boost. Thinking about ways to bring sunshine to someone in need is a great way to celebrate the day.
What if you’re the one who needs the boost? Give yourself a day of beauty, and celebrate you. It’s easier to brave Valentine’s Day alone when you feel at your best. Treat yourself to a new hairstyle, cut or color. Make Valentine’s Day your own personal “Self-Appreciation Day.” You will be glad you did!
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net