You may experience that cumulative effect of high expectations or dread when it comes to Valentine's Day. Yet, in your heart, you truly want to share a meaningful memory with your valentine.
Holidays intended to be filled with expressions of intimate thoughts, romance and connection do not have to be full of anticipation that steals the meaning of love. You can do this without spending a lot of money, going on elaborate trips or writing your thoughts in the sky with an airplane.
As you make plans, focus more on being creatively meaningful to reveal your love.
The key word here is meaningful: significant, important, worthwhile, sincere, deep, expressive, and eloquent. The experience is what brings meaning and usually that can be done with a little forethought and time.
1. Ask your valentine for ideas.
You've probably learned by now that guessing and mind reading do not work. Just showing how delighted you are to please your valentine will encourage a genuine response. And when you hear his or her response, believe it whether it is short or long. Avoid thinking the other person is using reverse psychology. This is a good relational skill to learn together. Believe, trust and don't try to guess.
2. Plan a top-10 list together.
Each of you could prepare a list of meaningful, fun and romantic places you have been together. Then, talk about your lists and see what you have in common. Make plans to go to the top place (or some place similar) or to as many places on the list as you can during February. Don't forget to take some pictures at each location.
3. Focus on each other and less on money.
Decide to spend no more than $1 per year of marriage you have celebrated. If you've been married 37 years, you can only spend up to $37 for the evening.
Remember when you first met and the simple things meant so much? Think about some of the meaningful places you have been that didn't cost much but made great memories. Get creative. Splurge on the romance of it all.
4. Relive the memories together.
If you have collected Valentine's Day cards throughout the years, pull them out and read them to each other. Look through family photos or videos. Tell stories you remember. Laugh. Cry. Recall what you value about each other and say it aloud.
5. Re-create your first date.
Think back through some of the details of that date: where you went, what you wore, what you did. Plan together to redo the date. Or, keep your plans a secret and surprise your valentine. Then, while you're celebrating together, share the thoughts you had as you recall those first impressions and conversations. Be amazed at how God brought you together — relive falling in love.
What will it be like this year? Whatever you do, make sure you spend time together with the One who brought you together. Pray and thank God for the special times He has given you and for His faithfulness through the years.
A little thought can go a long way. So make a meaningful memory and celebrate your chance to say "I love you" to the one closest to your heart.