To create a memorable Valentine's Day this year, look back to years gone by. What did you and your sweetie enjoy doing in your earliest days of dating or marriage? Did you share a special song, love for a particular wine, meal, location or activity? Reliving the past can be a great way to surprise your Valentine and add a little sweetness to the holiday this year, whether the moments are recreated in reality, or at home, by incorporating some of the special elements that brought you together into a home-cooked meal or date night.
The rituals of the holiday season are lasting for a reason: They evoke feelings of comfort and familiarity that remind people to enjoy and appreciate both the past and present. What better way to sweeten Valentine's Day than to start a little tradition of your own? Think about the little things your partner craves but can't usually enjoy in the midst of "normal life." If your sweetie is low on down time, start an ongoing Valentine's Day tradition that will center only around him or her for the morning each year. It can be as simple as turning off alarms, powering down technology, enjoying breakfast in bed or surprising your sweetie with a favorite book or magazine he or she can catch up on while relaxing in bed or soaking in a bubble bath. Valentine's Day isn't just for couples either. You can get the whole family involved with a simple Valentine's Day tradition that you'll all enjoy -- as long as you keep it stress-free. Make a batch of Valentine's Day treats as a family, and enjoy them while cuddling together under a cozy blanket for family movie night. Creating little traditions around Valentine's Day creates a great opportunity to put aside the stress of life for a while, and celebrate the ones you love.
Anyone can pick up a card from the store -- but a handmade expression of your feelings (regardless of your artistic talent) will show you put thought and love into your Valentine this year. If you're not good at putting thoughts into words, find meaningful quotes you can print out and paste onto a card, or write down the lyrics to a favorite song that expresses the love and appreciation you have for your Valentine.
Valentine's Day often correlates with romantic cliches, but the best way to sweeten the holiday is to make romantic touch and intimacy less of an "occasion" -- and more of a routine. Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz, authors of Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage, say that couples who touch often are far more likely to build a lasting bond that goes even further than having sex. Give your partner regular "love pats" when you pass each other in the hallway, hug, hold hands and kiss each other daily. Little displays of affection lead to lasting results -- and the Valentine's Day romance adds the extra icing on the cake!
Pump up the mood music! Science proves that music can facilitate emotional bonding -- even physical interactions like dancing together, which helps to cement ties, manipulate mood and even alter human physiology more effectively than words can. "Scientific American Mind, July 2009."
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