Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Do you wish Valentine’s Day never existed?

100_0323aEvery year I hear from people who find the pressure of Valentine’s Day can make it a negative holiday. Others choose to ignore it because it’s a “Hallmark holiday.” Whether you go all out with dinner reservations and chocolate, or stay at home and don’t even share cards, there is no correct way for couples to celebrate.

I’ll give you an example. A friend of mine was robbed in her home on Valentine’s Day many years ago. Her husband knows that she detests any mention of the holiday and wants no gifts or celebration of any kind. It is simply a reminder of the worst kind. Her husband is welcome to choose another day to bring her flowers, but this is not the right day.

Others I know would find it offensive if their spouse did not make at least an effort to be romantic or buy a gift. They may or may not spell out their expectations, but they are there nonetheless. (Please don’t expect your spouse to read your mind.)

Frequently, wives seem to act as if Valentine’s Day is a day for them—they should be showered with spa days, chocolate and flowers, and an ornate card, perhaps with dinner waiting for them. Yet these women aren’t making the same effort for their husbands, perhaps because he doesn’t care about the day. It should be a day for both partners to enjoy.

If you are wondering what to do, think about your spouse’s true preferences. Would he or she rather have dinner at home, or choose a different day to celebrate? Would she rather have you write a love letter or poem instead of getting a gift? Would he rather go to the movies than have a complicated dress-up date? If your wishes are different from your spouse’s, consider celebrating the way your spouse wants to celebrate this week and then pick another day to celebrate the way you wish.

The most important aspect of celebrating is that neither is doing it out of obligation. If there is negativity or a sense of obligation, it’s not a benefit to your relationship. Just look at it as a reminder to look at each other the way you did when you first fell in love and to keep those fires burning.

For more, read Tried-and-true Valentine’s Gift Ideas, or How to have a special Valentine’s Day.

It’s also National Marriage Week, so please give your marriage some extra love and attention, and help support married couples around you.

Movie ticket Giveaway!
Fandango Movie Crush contacted me and offered to give a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Leave a comment if you want to qualify for the drawing, which I will hold on Feb. 13th. This may help you plan the perfect Valentine’s movie night. As an added bonus, you’ll get a pair of love songs from Amazon MP3 with Fandango tickets purchased between January 28 – February 18 – talk about feeling the love! For more information on the latest movies, along with the latest trailers and ticketing options nationwide, please visit Fandango’s “Movie Crush” at http://www.fandango.com/moviecrush.

Relationships & Personality Study
Dr. Amani Elalayli, a social psychology professor at Eastern Washington University is conducting research on the factors associated with more satisfying relationships. They are looking for adults currently in a committed relationship. At the end of the study, he will tell you some of the results of our studies thus far so that you can learn something new about the psychology of relationships! This online survey should only take roughly 15 minutes. If you are willing to do our anonymous survey, please click on this study link. By clicking the link, you are confirming that you are at least 18 years old. Please be sure you have some privacy when completing the study, and that your relationship partner is not present. https://qtrial.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1NCYgul2jANExeJ

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Do You Have the Valentine’s Day Blues?

This morning, I got up early to trek down to my local NBC station (WTHR) and do a live interview on avoiding the Valentine’s Day blues. Here are the main points that I hope will help you make the most of what can be a great holiday, but which many of us have avoided or complained about for years.  I’ve expanded here, since TV clearly has tighter time constraints.

Q 1: Sometimes holidays like Valentine’s Day result in unmet expectations or disappointment. Why does a holiday that is intended to enhance love cause conflict with many couples?

We all have different visions of what Valentine’s Day should be, and we often have very different memories of the holiday growing up. If your parents made a big deal about Valentine’s Day, and your spouse ignores the holiday, you may feel disappointed. There’s a wide variety of expectations. Some people hope to be pampered, others will be thrilled with a card. Communicate about your expectations and what your partner’s expectations are. 

Because the media in movies and advertising portrays Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers, there is pressure to get it right to show how special our love is. The pressure is often on men, which may cause them to want to avoid the day entirely. Talk about the pressure you feel ahead of time.

If you find your expectations are far out of line (i.e. she wants a new car or a diamond ring, and you budgeted for a box of chocolates) share with her your perceptions that gift giving isn’t a true indicator of your love for her. You might find a healthy dose of romance will win her over and you explain to her any gift would pale in comparison to her beauty!  But seriously, we should aim to be satisfied and happy in our current circumstances and to appreciate the love we have in our lives. More than that is just gravy.

Q2: Many people consider this a “Hallmark holiday” created to fuel consumerism. Should couples just opt out?

The holiday has been popular since the 17th century and its roots go back much further. It was not made up by modern corporations, but today all holidays are used as a way to generate business. For certain people who have had very negative experiences on Valentine’s Day, it may be better to celebrate your relationship on a different day. (I have a friend who was robbed at gunpoint on Valentine’s Day many years ago; she wants no mention of the day.) For most of us, though, I would encourage you to embrace the holiday as providing another reason to tell your spouse or partner how much you love them. My husband and I have come around on this and instead of avoiding the Hallmark holiday try to show love to each other and to our kids.

However, you don’t have to buy into the consumerism aspect. You can write a beautiful note or bake them a homemade pie. Choose something that your partner would find meaningful and special. We may not remember to give an act of love every day, so let Valentine’s Day be a reminder to add a little romance to your life on a daily basis. Don’t make it just a one-day effort.

Q3: How can couples convey their expectations and increase the odds of having a happy Valentine’s Day and maintaining a strong bond after the big day?

Women in particular think their partner should “just know” inherently what to do to please them, but men can’t read minds. It’s not cheating if we tell them what makes us happy. Again, partners need to communicate their expectations.  You likely have very different hopes for the day than your spouse, and it’s best to get them into the open. Ask your spouse what is the one thing you could do for them to make them feel special, and try to deliver on that.

Beyond Valentine’s Day, find small ways to be generous and loving to your partner.  Bring them their favorite beverage each morning or offer to massage their aching back. Compliment them once a day. These daily habits show they are important to you and can have a much greater impact than buying a dozen roses once a year on Valentine’s Day.

You can review the attached graphic for Valentine’s Day trends. U.S. shoppers spend an average of $126 on their sweethearts and loved ones this year. See if you can push your creativity and instead of spending a lot, show through your words and actions how special your loved ones are to you.

If you have frequently ignored the holiday, let this be the year that paper hearts and hand-written notes fill your house and get tucked under pillows. Even if you’re single, tell those you love how much they mean to you.

Graphic courtesy of Online MBA.

How To Have a Special Valentine’s Day

With only one week left before Valentine’s Day, enjoy this guest post from Lisa Moore. Communicate about your desires and expectations for this holiday so it can bring you closer together, rather than bringing disappointment or conflict.

Valentine’s Day, a day reserved for love and affection, often brings out opposite emotions in lovers. The case is especially true when the two people are married. Spousal conflict has been directly linked to eating disorders, alcohol abuse, depressive symptoms and other psychological disorders. These symptoms can be compounded when Valentine’s Day and all of its expectation-raising traditions come into play. If you’re concerned about the upcoming holiday and the effect it may have on your marriage, here are a few tips.

What Does Valentine’s Day Mean to You?

The beginning of a good Valentine’s Day actually starts a few days or a week before Feb. 14. Simply taking the time to talk to your spouse about what Valentine’s Day means to them can cut down on the tension when the day arrives. If you find out that your spouse has always wanted to have the traditional romantic Valentine’s Day experience, this year might be the year to make their dreams come true. If they really express disdain for the holiday, don’t expect a day punctuated by dozens of roses, boxes of chocolates and other romantic gestures.

Write Your Spouse a Love Letter

This might seem a bit antiquated but there is nothing like having a handwritten note from your spouse that explains (perhaps in poetic terms) just how much they mean to you. If you go this route, be sure and handwrite it. This added personal touch will mean a lot to your spouse.

Make a Date “Bucket List” For the Year

Make plans for what you want to do together in the next 12 months. Go to the opera? Go to a football game? A bed and breakfast? Write down a few ideas each and make it a point to try to cross everything off the list throughout the next year. Most couples go on dates 1-2 times per month. If you’re not even close to that number, or you just feel like you could use even more time together, this might be the perfect option for you. This is a great way to extend Valentine’s Day throughout the rest of the year.

Touchy Feely

Don’t be afraid to get physical on Valentine’s Day. Sure, the bedroom is a great place for that, but physical affection can take the form of everything from a good morning kiss to a shoulder rub to a cuddle session. Physical contact releases a drug called oxytocin into the brain. This chemical has been called the “Love Hormone” and increases feelings of intimacy.

Lisa is a guest blogger who specializes in every aspect of family issues, from marital counseling to throwing your child the perfect birthday using Super Mario party supplies.

Photo courtesty of stockvault.

Tried-and-True Valentine’s Day Ideas

“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, many of you may be over-thinking what would please your sweetheart.

I could give you links to gift ideas for husbands and gift ideas for wives, but I think you know deep down what will be successful. Let me break it down for you.

For men, if it has to do with food and/or sex, you are probably onto something that will please him.

For women, if it sounds romantic, you’ll probably make her day. It doesn’t have to be the MOST original idea ever, although she will find it romantic if you remembered something she saw and liked. The vast majority of ladies out there would be thrilled if their husband used one of these tried-and-true ideas:

  • Bring home her favorite flowers with a sweet note,
  • Draw her a bubble bath and light some candles (warm a towel in the dryer),
  • Give her a massage (with some great-smelling oil/lotion), or
  • Write her a love letter (my favorite gift suggestion), or even give her a special toast over dinner or champagne.
  • Or, follow up on one of those hints she’s dropped for you.

Even though I’ve had this post scheduled for a while, I keep seeing some of these ideas on other web sites. That’s OK. Don’t feel your gift has to be the most original. She really doesn’t want a gadget no one has heard of. What’s more important is how you deliver on your gift idea and make your sweetie feel she is the most special one for you.

It’s also National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14), so even if you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, do something great this week to celebrate your marriage!

Do you have any special plans for this week?

Related Links:
Hitched Magazine makes the case for celebrating Valentine’s Day. We’ve all referred to it as “just a Hallmark holiday,” but read why it might be good for us after all.

Photo Credit ©Peter Haken/PhotoXpress.com

Announcing a New E-book: Love Everyday—Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life

Just in time for Valentine’s Day and National Marriage Week, I’m excited to share a brand new resource with you that has been in the works for a couple of months. The free e-book, called Love Everyday: Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life, represents the collective efforts of 27 talented relationship writers. I was excited to be invited to be a featured author and editor of the project. You’ll find everything from humorous insights to practical relationship tips.

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts and share this e-book freely. I will leave a link to it in my sidebar as well, so you can send people here to Life Gems to find it if you prefer. If you are new to Life Gems4Marriage, welcome!  Please check out some of the more popular posts listed below.  I invite you to sign-up for free updates via RSS or email on the right column, and I’ll send you new posts whenever they’re posted for you to read at your convenience. You can also follow me on Twitter @LoriLowe.

How To Access the E-Book

Read Love Everyday by clicking on this link.  Then share it liberally by email, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, word-of-mouth and any other way you can. You can download to your computer and read at your leisure. You can even print it if you prefer a hard copy. It’s totally free and we urge you to help us spread it around the world.

I hope it helps nurture your own Everyday Love. Following is an impressive list of authors who contributed to Love Everyday. Each is passionate about marriage. 

  1. Dr. Michelle Gannon – Marriage Prep 101
  2. Paul Byerly – The Generous Husband
  3. Lori Byerly — The Generous Wife
  4. Denee King – She Just Got Married
  5. Corey Allan – The Simple Marriage
  6. Toni & Alisa DiLorenzo – One Extraordinary Marriage
  7. Stu Gray – The Marry Blogger
  8. Dustin Riechmann – Engaged Marriage
  9. Lori Lowe – Life Gems
  10. Chelle Stein – It Might Be Love
  11. Sheri Kruger – Zen Family Habits Serene Journey
  12. Mandi Ehman – Organizing Your Way
  13. Maureen Shaw – Feeling Flirty
  14. Trudy Sargent – Love Talk
  15. Isabella Mori – Change Therapy
  16. Cindy J. Taylor – Affair Care
  17. Alisa Bowman – Project Happily Ever After
  18. J. Money – Budgets Are Sexy
  19. Dan Miller – 48 Days
  20. Damien Riley – DamienRiley.com
  21. Samantha Mellen – Mama Notes
  22. Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income Blog
  23. Kathleen Quiring – Project M
  24. Jeff Nickles – My Super-Charged Life
  25. Brad Chaffee – Enemy of Debt Logos4You.net
  26. Nate Desmond – Practical Manliness
  27. Carrie Burgan – Make Mine Happen

 Thank you for your support of this project.