Valentines Day can be celebrated a number of different ways and it’s meaning and purpose changes as our lives and roles evolve. This does not diminish the significance, but it does change the context, so I thought I would share a few different approaches to Valentines Day that may spark some ideas, certainly, but mainly shows how Valentines Day has morphed over time and circumstance for me.
The Single Valentines Day: This was usually an unattached girls night in–who wanted to go out when it was usually wall-to-wall couples?–with movies, wine and ice cream. Sometimes there was a set-up, but that was pretty rare. Enjoy your girls…you will be wistful for these moments later in life, trust me.
The Dating Valentines Day: This is tough–for both parties. She is going to read into everything and he knows it…whether he cares or not is a toss-up, and that will determine if this is the “real deal” or not. Planning a gift can be a crap-shoot. If you’re new to each other, check out this post on gifts for new relationships… It may help you out. And good luck.
Sex may or may not be on the docket.
The Engaged Valentines Day: Usually one of the more “produced” Valentines Day celebrations and know there are expectations attached–for her– a gorgeous bouquet sent to her during the day, an elegant and intimate dinner out. Gifts are dependent upon who is bank-rolling the wedding, but if you’re looking for suggestions see this post on the 10 Gifts Every Woman Wants From Her Mate. The trade-off, guys, is for all this planning you are totally getting lucky.
The Newly Married Valentines Day: I have a confession… I conceived during my first married (and childless) Valentines Day so that begins and ends my level of expertise in this stage but assuming you (like I was) are still childless, newlyweds are still in the honeymoon phase and don’t have the looming pressure of a wedding day to worry about. That said, the first year of marriage can be incredibly stressful–and it’s often a stress left unspoken. Here’s some unsolicited advice: enjoy this phase of your relationship, not just on Valentines Day, but all the time. Getting to know each other as spouses is really underrated. The good news is, you’re in this together.
The Parent’s Valentines Day: You have more loves of your life–your children–and the homemade gifts start to become as, if not more, meaningful than the purchased gift. Cards that are constructed of crayons, glue and paper scraps become treasured objects and the macaroni necklaces are precious gems. Things gain a different perspective and a night out can be hard to come by. “Real” gifts are wonderful, but not assumed or necessary…but when they happen they are a wonderful surprise.
The Divorced Valentines Day: It’s Friday. Ignore Facebook, email and your phone. Delete all “how are you doing?” messages and texts without any response. They will get the hint. Breathe a sigh of relief when you wake up Saturday morning.
The Dating Someone Serious Again Valentines Day: You’ve finally met someone who knows all your baggage, accepts all your craziness and still wants in…who knew?!?! This (remarkably) happened to me. I had been dating this person for almost five months. I had his keys, and had yet to make the reciprocal exchange–honestly it wasn’t yet necessary. I was going back and forth about what to get him, and had noticed his keychain was pretty basic, like a single silver ring. So I had an idea–a really nice keychain. He’s not a guy who would be into anything precious, so I knew it would have to be something sturdy, rugged–leather. I went to Coach and found the perfect keychain. Done. They wrapped it up and I went home.
That night I couldn’t stop looking at that box, it didn’t feel complete… I unwrapped it. And carefully took the spare set of keys to my apartment and added them to his new ring. I had no idea how he would react, but it felt complete.
When I gave him the gift I was visibly anxious, but he unwrapped the box, and read the card: “Welcome to my heart and our home. Happy first Valentines Day.” He loved it.
Leap and the net will appear.
The Remarried Valentines Day: Maybe it is age or experience but traditions reign in our house. The key ring man and I eventually got married and we celebrate all “special occasions” at one particular restaurant. I don’t attach any unrealistic expectations to moments like Valentines, New Years or anniversaries but look forward to them–I also love this restaurant and dressing up–and it allows us to reminisce and dream about the future. He makes sure to give me a bouquet every year and a card and I have quite a collection. I like that my daughter sees this, so she can have an expectation for her future…but a reasonable one…and my son sees this so he can see that it is important to be romantic with your partner. I also exchange cards with the other loves of my life–my children–we give and get cards from them.
“Bird And Heart Tree Design Of Love” Lead Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net