COLOURFUL DISPLAY- Designer Marina Bengivingo works on arranging flowers for a Valentine’s Day bouquet recently at Something Country Flowers & Gifts.

COLOURFUL DISPLAY- Designer Marina Bengivingo works on arranging flowers for a Valentine’s Day bouquet recently at Something Country Flowers & Gifts.

Expressing your love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day comes every year and couples often feel the need to buy gifts or items for each other, but there are other ways to spend the time together and make the day a fun one.

Debra Macleod, with Marriage SOS, said there are many different ways in which couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day without spending a lot of money or even having to leave the house.

“Modern couples are busier and more disconnected than ever. Doing something special on Valentine’s Day is a gesture that says to your partner ‘I remember you. I love you. And even though we’re stupid busy and have these kids biting our ankles, I’m so happy we are sharing a life together,’” said Macleod.

The importance of Valentine’s Day is not to spend an inordinate amount of money, but rather to slow down for a moment, put everyone else on the backburner and focus on how important your relationship is to you.

Things that can be done at home, close to home, or without spending much money or having to make a reservation include candle lit dinners at home, dinner and a movie at home, or a walk around a favourite park or returning to a spot you shared on a first date.

“A body massage is an inexpensive way to reconnect in a romantic way. All you need is a candle and a nice bottle of massage oil or lotion. Better yet, give your partner a good foot rub,” said Macleod.

To make the experience wonderful Macleod suggests using a body scrub followed by peppermint lotion.

“Most women receive this type of pampering, but men almost never do.”

Visiting a second-hand bookstore and purchasing titles by a spouses favourite author is another way to keep costs low but shows that you put time and effort into the gift for your loved one.

The question always arises regarding children and families, or parents with children.

“Have a fancy supper with your kids. Most families ‘eat on the run’ and mealtime is rarely special or memorable. Go all out by setting the table with a red tablecloth, exchanging cards and trying something different to eat.”

Macleod said to make the event special for kids, parents can add sparkling juices to the menu and tell their children how they met.

“Older kids will roll their eyes but don’t be fooled, they’re interested in their mom and dad’s history. It gives them a sense of security and happiness to see their parents so connected and romantic.”

Unique gift giving ideas include baskets filled with new coffee blends and two new coffee cups.

“Studies show that couples who have rituals like sharing a cup of coffee in the morning before they start their day tend to have happier marriages and remain better connected throughout their days.”

Valentine’s Day is not the only day to show a spouse or partner that they are loved. If couples only ever showed these things one day a year, relationships would fail, Macleod added.

Instead, there are little things that couples can do year round that can strengthen a relationship and make every day more meaningful or special.

“Stay connected and engaged on a daily basis by sending short texts like a spontaneous heart emoticon.”

Macleod said part of the day-to-day things to strengthen relationships and show your love include learning to communicate effectively, saying something nice about your spouse’s appearance, character or accomplishments and expressing appreciation for things done.

There are also things Macleod said to consider putting a stop to. These include texting other people in your spouses company, facebooking old flames and putting your partner at the bottom of your priority list because you figure you already have them.

“Say I love you. It’s mindboggling how many couples don’t do this. You wouldn’t withhold this statement from your children so why withhold it from your spouse?”

Macleod said many people fall back to the saying “Actions speak louder than words” when trying to relay the message to their spouse that they love them.

“That is often true. However, those three words, ‘I love you’, are action words. They send a powerful message. If your spouse isn’t hearing that message, you might be spending the next Valentine’s Day alone.”