This might come as a surprise, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong. I love romantic gestures and the idea of giving someone you love a gift. But, I think the holiday puts a lot of pressure on couples to buy flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day and that kind of bugs me.
Why? Listen, I absolutely love flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day–I love flowers and chocolates for any day, as a matter of fact, but in my opinion, Valentine’s Day just puts too much pressure on people. Like flowers and chocolates are expected, and if it’s not over the top, it can feel disappointing, and that is so wrong. It shouldn’t be that way.
Also, how about inequality on Valentine’s Day? Meaning, what if a couple’s relationship is relatively new--like this is their first Valentine’s Day together. What if one of them goes for flowers and chocolates and the other doesn’t do anything? Or just buys a card because they don’t want to seem too eager? This can cause feelings of disappointment, anger, sadness or even embarrassment.
So, I have some alternatives to flowers and chocolates for Valentines’s Day. What I’m saying is, forget about material gifts this year and give your Valentine something that is 100 times more valuable.
Here are some alternatives to flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day:
1. Instead of dinner in a crowded, overpriced restaurant, make him or her an unforgettable meal at home.
Cooking for someone signifies thoughtfulness and effort. By preparing food, you are showing that you care enough to take time out of your busy day to do something you think the person you love would enjoy. Being cooked for makes a person feel special, important and appreciated.
And, I want to make this clear: sauce out of a jar on boiled spaghetti noodles actually achieves the same result as roasted bronzino prepared in a white wine reduction sauce with carmelized leeks and a beet salad.
2. Instead of Hershey’s Kisses, kiss her with your lips.
Women love kissing. It makes us feel sexy and young and loved. Kissing is intimate. It draws a couple closer together. It also brings us back to the time when the relationship was fresh and new and exciting. And, kissing often leads to sex.
3. Instead of chocolates in a heart shaped box, give her/him your heart.
How do you give someone your heart? By making it very clear that you are here. Not for a day or a week or even a year, but forever, no matter what. By letting him or her know they are appreciated. That might mean saying, “Thank you for all you do for this family,” or a backrub, or doing the dinner dishes every night for a week, or saying, “I’ll babysit the kids Thursday night, you should make plans with your friends and go out.”
Giving someone your heart also means showing vulnerability, and showing the one you love that you need him or her, not just to pick up your dry cleaning or to bring home a paycheck but because you need your best friend, your life partner, and the love of your life. It means showing your spouse respect and treating them in a way that makes the person feel respected and important.
4. Couples Therapy.
If your relationship is suffering right now, flowers and chocolates will only serve as a Band-aid. If you truly want to have a better, more fulfilling relationship, try a relationship coach. Invest money and time into what could turn into happiness like you never imagined. It has been done. Trust me!
5. Instead of a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card, try a love letter.
Don’t let a greeting card company tell the person you love how you feel. Say it yourself, in your own words. Too often, couples assume their spouse is a mind reader, and that after a few years he or she doesn’t need to hear “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone,” “I feel lucky to have you as my wife,” or “You are an amazing man who has made me very happy.”
It doesn’t matter if you write it on a piece of stationary, a note pad, or even the back of a sales receipt. It just matters that it came personally from you, and that you took the time or got up the nerve to tell your Valentine how you feel about him or her.
6. Consider adopting a dog.
Giving your spouse a dog and at the same time saving a dog’s life is a beautiful gift! I know, it’s a lot of work and a life-changer, but maybe a life-changer is what you need! By adopting a pet, you are adding family and love to yours. A dog is a great way to show someone you have love in your heart. And the benefits you will get out of it, you can’t even imagine!
In closing, material gifts are great, and flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day can be nice, but do more. Be less generic and more authentic. Don’t let the commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day stop you from being romantic in your own, vulnerable and authentic way.
And lastly, remember that you can give your spouse gifts-material and non-material ANY day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!