I'll be the first to admit that not long ago I would have been quick to declare that Valentine's Day is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday. You know, "It's just a reason for greeting card companies to push more product." While they certainly capitalize on the holiday, I had an epiphany that brought me on board with the celebration.
Even before the light bulb went off above my head, I still celebrated Valentine's Day and even enjoyed the holiday, although a certain piece of me felt it was contrived. Why should the calendar dictate when I show my sweetheart affection? Restaurants certainly don't make me feel warm and fuzzy, raising their prices every year for this one night of candle-lit romance.
But don't you see? That's the problem. Not the prices, but that this happens just once a year. (Okay, so the prices can be excessive sometimes.) I was talking with one of our Hitched experts a few years ago, and something in our conversation struck me. I don't remember the topic, but within our discussion it dawned on me that outside of our weddings and anniversaries, most of us don't seek out to honor our relationships. Heck, a common complaint is that men don't even remember anniversaries.
I actually think it's good that we have a system in this country that commercializes love and romance. It's nice to think of all the dollars that are spent to promote such a good cause. Can commercials and advertisements promoting love really be that damaging? Of course they're self-serving, but as we zip past our husbands and wives throughout the days, months and years, isn't it nice to know that there are forces out there working to remind us to slow down and take our spouses out for a night of romance?
A new survey by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation estimates that $15.7 billion will be spent on Valentine's Day this year. Spouses and significant others are projected to spend an average of $68.98. Research has shown that married couples who engage in new experiences with each other are likely to be happier over the long term. Of course, this doesn't mean that you need to spend money for a new experience, but the holiday is a terrific opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and reconnect.
If you still aren't convinced that Valentine's Day is a good thing, I have a few final questions for you: When was the last time you and your spouse went on a date? When was the last time you dedicated one night just to romance? When was the last time you shared something with your spouse as a token of your appreciation, love and respect? If your answer is more than 30 days for any of these, you're overdue.
Embrace this day of flowers and cupids. Put in a little extra effort to show your husband or wife that you don't take them for granted. Let them know that you're still hot for them and that you're up to the challenge to woo them -- even if they're expecting it. Be nostalgic. Be creative. Be daring. Be sexy. Be romantic. Be your spouse's valentine!