Few holidays create as much personal pressure as Valentine’s Day. Every February 14, couples start looking at their relationship and having doubts. The card, jewelry, and candy companies know how to hype things up to ridiculous levels. If you really loved your significant other, you’d buy them a ring that costs one-fourth of your annual salary. If you really and truly cared about them, you’d buy them the biggest box of chocolates in the state. It’s a holiday that seems to demand grand gestures, even if those gestures feel unnatural. More couples are trying to opt of the holiday entirely. If anything, they might celebrate Discount Chocolate Day on February 15, but there’s an active resistance to the type of manufactured affection you see in commercials. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore the holiday, though. That works better for some people than it does for others. If you still want to take some time to celebrate your relationship, there are ways to do it that won’t make you cringe.
No, we don’t mean that kind of physical. February is a great time to get the heart rate up and stretch yourselves. You can literally stretch yourselves by taking a yoga class together, but if you want to feel close to each other, nothing says closeness quite like signing up for couples dance classes. There are classes available for every skill level, so there’s no need to feel like you have to be a ballroom dancing expert before you walk through the door.
People don’t dance as much as they used to. If they do, it tends to be the kind of drunken dancing you find in clubs during happy hour. There’s a certain sense of romance to dancing the waltz together. Not many people know that the waltz used to be considered quite scandalous. It’s not the 1800s anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore a type of dancing that was popular back in the era of corsets and greatcoats. Get out of there
When you stay at home all the time, it’s easy to get into a rut. There’s always some sort of work to be done, and you can get so busy doing the cleaning and cooking and child-rearing that you forget to see each other as romantic partners. Before the kids came along, though, you could just spend hours talking to each other on the couch. Quality time gets harder to come by the longer you stay together, and Valentine’s Day is as good a time as any to try and break the cycle. Try making a break for it (though you should probably secure good childcare first). It doesn’t really matter where you go as long as you go there together. Avoid the overpopulated spots that every couple goes to on February 14, and find something more under the radar. If your wife’s favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, then maybe it’s time to head to Monroeville, Alabama, the town that inspired Harper Lee to write her literary classic. Does your husband love Elvis? Take him to the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee. Wherever you go, make sure to focus on each other. If you do that, you’ll be more likely to come back home more in love than ever, and that’s way better gift to each other than any drugstore greeting card.