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Valentine's Day is one of those days that there is so much pressure to perform (uhhhhh in more ways than one, get your mind out of the gutter) that the tension is palpable. People receiving flowers, chocolates, and jewellery and sussing how much you spent on them to ascertain how much you are interested in them. It is a day that can easily morph into a day where you are being critical, judgmental, and ungrateful, all actions that are uncharacteristic of what Valentine's Day is really about… love.
Find Out Your Partner's Love Language
Throughout the devastation of the end of my long term relationship, I did a lot of reading. I read a ton of self help books (I love reading self help books anyways so it really was twisting my rubber arm) anyways. One book that I really liked was called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It talks about how everyone has a “love bank” and people respond to love differently. The different languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, physical touch, and quality time. For me, my love language that I most respond to are acts of service. Usually the one you like giving is the one you respond to. People give their “love language” expecting to see a huge response but they don't and they end up getting disappointed. The key to this is realizing that people respond differently from you and may not place the same value in the same thing you value.
Take the quiz here to find out which love language you and your partner respond to, and give accordingly! I did the quiz in the book, I am not sure if you have to pay for this quiz through the link, hopefully not!
So, instead of spending $500 on a dinner date to have someone play violin or guitar in the background of a candlelit restaurant with 20 other couples paying the same thing at the restaurant, why don't you find out your partner's love language and tweak your date to that?
Plan a Romantic Picnic
This would combine quality time and an act of service, I would say. I personally would much rather have a romantic picnic at the beach or at the park than have dinner at a snobby fine dining establishment where everyone else is seething with expectation (including the server, who is expecting a big generous tip). The Art of Manliness has a great post on picnic date ideas.
Write a Love Letter
A lot of guys respond well to words of affirmation (from my small sample size of guys I asked to take the quiz, for many of them, the number one love language were words of affirmation). Letters are great because you can save them and the words float off the page for years to come (if you save them of course). I love reading letters and I love writing letters or cards. Although saving letters isn't the best for keeping your home clutter free, it does provide some great memories!
Plan a Relaxing Evening
A night with a bubble bath, baby duck champagne (because expensive champagne would negate the non-breaking-the-bank for Valentine's Day theme), and massage is enough to make anyone weak in the knees. For those that respond well to physical touch as per the 5 Love Languages, this one will make your partner feel special as you get rid of the muscle tension from the work stress.
Make a Photo Frame of Your Memories
This is what I personally am planning to do. Calendars are another great idea too. Or Photobooks. PHOTOS ARE AMAZING! People are usually too lazy to frame things themselves, so if you frame it for them and develop the photo, you will be appreciated. Trust me on that one.
I think that the point is to do something for Valentine's Day to celebrate your relationship. Even if you think that Valentine's Day is a bunch of commercialization (which it is, there's no doubt about it), you don't have to spend $150 on a meal or $100 on two dozen roses, is what I am trying to say. Just acknowledge it.
Readers, what are you planning to do for Valentine's Day that won't break the bank?
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