Valentine's Day is about exchanging tokens of love with our significant others. Originating in the fifth century to celebrate the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, I'm unsure when, how, or why it morphed into a holiday meant to express romantic love. One could find out with the help of Google, but in the interest of time and subject matter, I didn't enter that rabbit hole.
How do you express love?
When was the last time you asked your hunny what their ultimate expression of love was? That" thing" that, if you said or did, would give them all the security and belief that yours was a love for the ages. If you've been together a while, it may no longer be a box of pharmacy chocolates picked up on the fly or an outrageously expensive bouquet of long-stemmed roses to spotlight two traditional choices. I was curious about what others found desirable and asked for input. The biggest surprise was how the ideas paralleled Gary Chapman's book The 5 Love Languages without prompting.
On with the countdown
1. A Love Letter
Jenna described her ultimate Valentine's Day gift as a love letter to show appreciation. Feel free to lay it on thick. Pick out their best qualities and write them down. You don't have to be William Shakespeare. Just be honest. Nothing says "I love you" like I love you. Or "You're the most incredible person" like You're the most incredible person. And if you write your heart song on a homemade card adorned with original drawings, sketches, glitter, stickers, or the like, you'll be the champion Valentine's Day gift giver.
2. A Day Off
Katie, a stay-at-home mom of an adorable and energetic toddler, shared how she yearns for a day for herself.
Picture this. You wake up one day and realize you've slept the night through. The sun shines behind the curtains, and the tinkling sound of birdsong is all you hear. A mental scan of your body lets you know that every muscle, joint, and fiber aches, but in that rested way. When you stretch, everything will align, and you'll feel ten years younger. So you do, and it's as sumptuous as you imagined. The feeling motivates you to rise. As your feet hit the floor, the smell of freshly brewed coffee greets you. Like magic, your significant other arrives at the door and hands you a mug of coffee prepared to your specifications. As the sun teases your shoulders, you drink the warm beverage on the patio—the dog naps by your feet while your toddler and his daddy play tag across the lawn. Giggles fill the air and your heart.
Today is your day. A plate filled with comfort foods appears when you're hungry. When you're thirsty, a refreshing drink arrives. You can nap, watch TV, or read Kathleen Pendoley's latest romance novel or novella, available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
Your best friend takes care of the incidentals while you enjoy a worry-free day.
3. Art and jewels
Christine needs to see it to believe it, and her eye for beauty has her thirsty for riches. No posy or box of chocolates can compare to a man who listens to what she says about the world around her and watches as she reacts to things that catch her eye. He takes note and waits for the big day only once. Waiting on tradition becomes unnecessary as time passes. Every day with his lady holds meaning. On any given Wednesday, she might be handed a velvet box with bling she believed she only coveted. But when presented by the one she loves, it becomes apparent it's what she needs to remind her how valued she is by this esteemed person.
4. A weekend away
Jason wants to be alone to connect without distraction - to chat, touch, and engage like in the early days when you couldn't get enough of each other. When reading the newspaper could take all morning long, and getting crumbs in bed wasn't a capital offense. You roll over and pull your beloved with you. Her hair falls loose to frame the two of you, blurring the world beyond. You whisper words you both forget were ever uttered, the ones that made her melt. You kiss her sternum as she presses closer to... Okay. You fill in the rest.
5. Recreate your first date
Did you go to a romantic Italian restaurant with lots of candlelight and few tables? Did you take her sailing? Did you meet him on a hiking trail and share a picnic lunch so relaxing that it tops your most revisited memories list years later? There is something to be said about firsts, not with words but with feelings. Something deep within is triggered, like hearing a song that takes you back to a moment when you recreate a memorable day.
And what's more memorable than the date that convinced you to agree to another? You didn't know each other well enough to know if this was real, but you felt enough to recognize it was worth pursuing and going deeper. You may be too far away to return to the exact location, but with some thought, you can plan something so close that it conjures the vibe, rekindles the curiosity, and reignites the flame.
Nothing above is out of reach. These ideas can be used year-round. Valentine's Day reminds us to appreciate those we love, but don't think you're boxed into one day of the other 364 available. Ideas exist all around. Bring home love as often as you can. Now, even.