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5 Unusual Tips for Enjoying Valentine's Day

Five ways to make Valentine's Day with your husband or wife better than ever:

  1. Recognize that giving chocolates or other gifts may not feel like a loving act to your spouse. It may feel a lot more like a chore. If he or she does it anyway, it's because doing chores for you feels like a loving act. Make the chore easier. Let your mate know what delights you: fancy wrappings, high quality chocolates, anything with pecans in it, or something that won't make you ask next week, "Does this outfit make my butt look big?"

  2. Come to terms with the awful truth that it's entirely possible to adore your wife or husband and not have a clue how to show it with words, even words written by someone at Hallmark. If you are married to a wordless wonder, write your own. Open up a beautiful blank card and start listing all the good times you two have spent together, all the gifts and kind acts you've received from your beloved, and all the physical delights you've experienced since last Valentine's Day.

  3. Put your top strengths to work on your invitation to your guy or gal to be your Valentine this year. Not only will it be a great way to say I love you, but it will make you feel great, and this is the greatest way of all to say it. Love to learn? Learn something that matters to your spouse. Good leader? Organize your family or neighborhood friends to make February 14th a delight for her or him. Big time optimist? Take the time to write out every delightful detail of a future scenario that would tickle you both and take the first step toward it. Great at persevering until you get that project out the door? Tackle one for your mate, due date 2/14.

  4. If you prefer respect to romantic love, break the news to your wife or husband before the big day. All the commercial options for Valentine's Day focus on romantic love, and it's not likely to occur to your spouse that what you really want is to know you and your efforts are truly respected unless you say so. But wouldn't it be great to hear or read?

  5. If you're dining out this Valentine's Day, prepare for it. Write a poem if you're any good at it. Put on your most alluring clothes. Do whatever you need to do to feel unrushed. Prepare in advance to talk about something other than the kids and your job or what's gone wrong in your home. If you're dieting, eat gently until then, so you need not say no to anything you both enjoy on this one night. And give some advance thought to making this dinner especially playful or romantic, whichever suits the two of you.

May your Valentine's Day be the best ever. Comments, Valentine's Day reports, and more unusual tips are most welcome.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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