You don’t have to wait till Valentine’s Day to make someone feel special. This feeling is just too good to have only one day a year. But speaking of V-Day, if you are in a quandary about what to do, a few simple principles will make it as easy as apple pie. Okay, easier.
First, there is no “Valentine's Formula” that works for everyone. The trick is to know what makes your sweetie feel honored.
What could you do that would make them realize, or remember, that they are special to you? Is there a gift or action you could take that makes them feel special? It is really not how much you spend, it is how personally meaningful the gift is. One rose that is unexpected is worth all the tea in China. One breakfast in bed for a tired mom is priceless. One sunset walk on the beach, or anywhere, where all your attention is on your beloved, can heal many a soul.
If there is someone important in your life, you really need to know what makes him or her feel this warm and fuzzy feeling inside. For some people it really is a gift. They just are very moved that you made the effort, that you really thought about it, and chose something and bought it. And there’s nothing “corny” about flowers and chocolate, especially if it is delivered in a unique and heart-felt manner.
Remember, don’t just hand it over the way you would pass the butter at a dinner table. How you present the valentines gift is half the pleasure.
Let’s say you decide to give something traditional like flowers or chocolates. Put a bit of extra thought into how to deliver it. One of my clients had his wife awaken to a trail of rose petals from her pillow to a prepared breakfast, to a hand painted card that listed all the things he loved and appreciated about her. She still talks about that morning eleven years later.
Another client hid seven dark chocolate truffles (symbols of the seven things he loved about her) with a treasure map with clues that led to the goodies. She felt entirely acknowledged and later admitted that was the moment she decided she wanted to marry him.
And don’t forget men need valentines too! They also need signs and demonstrations of how important they are in our lives. Tanya, one of my clients in a relatively new relationship, wanted to do something special for her honey. She gave him a coupon for a car wash. Not just any car wash. She was going to wash his car, wearing lingerie! It was wet, wild and wonderful, and just what he wanted.
Remember, different people have different ways that make them feel special. Some people have a “visual love style.” They want to have love demonstrated for them in some way they can see. Something tangible such as a gift or an action works for these types.
Others with an “auditory love style” want to hear how much you care about them. One friend I know took a song that was his sweetheart’s favorite, and rewrote the words just for her. The lyrics had her name and details about her. He took her out to a dinner and had the piano player sing it to her. All this extra effort really melted her.
Some people have a “touch-taste-sensory love style.” They want to feel in physical terms how much you care. They want your time, your proximity, your cuddles and attention. One gentleman with a partner with a sensory love style took her camping for two days, and I hear they barely left the tent. It worked perfectly for her!
It is your job to know what makes your partner feel special. If you don’t know, believe it or not, you can ask! How is that for a concept? Just say something like this: “If I wanted to make you feel totally loved and appreciated, what would I do?” Try it. This question even breathes new life into long-term relationships.
So, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s not about how much you spend. What matters is that it is something that makes your partner feel special. Too often we take people in our lives for granted and forget to do those little things that make them feel appreciated. Valentine’s Day is a great way to acknowledge all the special people in your life.
And Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers and romantic partners. It’s also a great day to acknowledge people you care about, people who are valuable in your world.
This Valentine’s Day, also think about how you can acknowledge your co-workers, friends, family. When was the last time you made cookies and gave one to the mailman? I mean, what would we do without the people who take care of our needs every day? Have fun with this.
No partner? Treat everyone around you kindly. Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to make the world a happier place!
If all of this sounds hard, you’re not the only person who feels that way. I have a saying: “If love was easy, everyone would do it!” We love to love, and yet we hate the troubles Cupid brings us.
Maybe there are some clues to the challenges of love hidden in the history -- and the “herstory” of the Holiday of Lovers, Valentine’s Day. Just how did Valentine’s Day begin?
There are different versions of the origin of Valentine’s Day, but some facts seem to remain the same. In the year 270, Claudius II, a.k.a. “Claudius the Cruel” was Emperor of Rome. He was responsible for many bloody and unpopular battles that his citizens had no desire to fight in. Claudius had so much trouble getting soldiers to fight his wars that he decided he had to do something drastic. He assumed that the reason men were not dying to die for his causes was that they were too attached to sweethearts and families, and didn’t want to leave home to die in distant lands.
In the spirit of the dictator, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements! No one in Rome was allowed to marry!
A Christian priest named Valentine decided to defy the Emperor, and to defend love in the empire. He performed hundreds of secret marriages between young lovers. When Claudius was informed of these ceremonies, Valentine was whisked off to prison. Valentine was beheaded on February 14, in the year 270.
Lovers have been “losing their heads” ever since. In the year 496, to attempt to replace a pagan fertility holiday called Lupercalia, which occurred at this time, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day.
Geoffrey Chaucer, the 14th-century poet, makes mention that February 14th is the date when birds choose their mates. By the next century, the day was celebrated thus: young unmarried women would stand by their windows, waiting for the first man to pass. They believed that they would be married to him (or someone who looked like him) within a year.
Following the British obliteration of the French army on the field of Agincourt in 1415, a French duke named Charles was imprisoned in the Tower of London. On February 14th, he sent his wife a rhymed love letter, reportedly signed “From your Valentine.” And lovers have been saying these words ever since.
Cupid was the Roman god of love, and his image remains associated with Valentine’s Day. When the English arrived in America, they brought the customs of this lover’s day with them. Much of the historic symbolism remains in our Valentine gifts. Red hearts have denoted love since ancient times. When the knights went off to war, the ladies would give them ribbons to keep near their hearts. Roses and violets have traditionally symbolized love. The word lace comes from a Latin word meaning “to catch.” Lace was supposed to catch the heart of the loved one.
It is ironic that in this era when women are supposed to be thinner than a bamboo pole, we give them chocolate as a sign of love. But at least the ingredients in chocolate mimic the brain chemistry of love! Giving chocolate is one of the rituals of love, and it harks back to a time when people literally lost their heads for love.
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