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 Is Valentine’s Day Just a Hallmark Holiday?  

I suppose the simple answer to the question I pose above is no.  Valentine’s Day generated $18.6 billion worth of business across the country in 2011 and should generate a similar amount this year.  For holidays, that’s second only to the holiday season in December.  But is it something valuable, or just something created by corporate America to generate some business?  What about Valentine’s Day as the day for love?  I’ve got to say as a relationship coach and therapist, I’m kind of ambivalent about it.

On the one hand, the experiences people talk about creating on Valentine’s Day can build the kind of connection that keeps a relationship strong and vital over time.  On the other hand, putting all of the focus on that one day may not really be paying enough attention to what the relationship needs.  Romance and connecting experience should be something that happens more often than just once a year.

That said, it can be a great cue to do something romantic for a relationship and keep the connection hopping.  The traditional Valentine’s experience with chocolate, flowers, candles, dinner etc. can be great, but you can also think outside the box.  Other experiences that bring you together can also make the day a special one and serve the purpose of keeping the relationship strong.

There can also be a lot of competition and demand for the traditional experience.  As my wife, who is always looking for a bargain, tells me,  “Don’t buy me flowers on Valentine’s Day – they cost four times as much, Buy them for me some other time during the year.”  A nice thing about that is it creates a romantic moment at a time when it is not expected, so it may be that much more valuable.

So I encourage you to embrace Valentine’s Day.  Use it as an opportunity to express your feelings for the one you love and to create an experience the two of you will remember.  Don’t feel like you have to make a big monetary outlay, though that is fine if you are in a place to do it.  Instead, focus on creating an experience that brings you closer to the one you love and that the two of you will remember for a long time.

I haven’t had a contest in a long time, so let’s do one here.  Send me the most creative thing you have done for Valentine’s Day and we will have a contest to see which is the best.  I’ll set up something in the next newsletter so everyone can vote on it online.  I’ll think up a great prize as well.