Here’s why you should step away from the Hallmark aisle this Valentine’s Day.


Valentine’s Day, the sacred day of cards and roses.

Gag me with a box of chocolates.

The other morning, David started my car for me and cleared it of snow and ice. He did this unexpectedly, without my asking him. I hadn’t even realized that I was stressed about having to deal with it and still get our kids to school on time. His help was such a relief. I relaxed immediately. I felt loved, thought about, seen.

This meant so much more to me than roses and chocolate.

Here’s the definition of romance: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

Walking down the hall, stressed about the cold and weather and getting ready on time is everyday life. Having my love step in unexpectedly and clear a huge chunk of that made a weekday morning full of romance. Maybe I’m giving too much meaning to a simple action. What this speaks to is how I want to be loved; it’s about what’s important to me.

When you think about what to do for Valentine’s Day, think beyond traditional romance.

Don’t fall for the same ole story about what romance is supposed to be. Here’s how the story has evolved. Women need Hallmark’s version of romance. And men will get their due rewards if they do the romance right. And by the way, the sex part isn’t all that important to women.

No. No. And no.

Especially the part about sex not being important to women.

Consider your beloved’s love language. This comes from Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages.”

Here are the languages he outlines:

  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Receiving Gifts

You can diagnose yourself and your beloved at Chapman’s site. Who among us doesn’t love a good internet diagnosis? Here’s that link. Or just think about it for a minute. You can probably figure it out without a diagnostic.

Which of the 5 love languages could you live without?

Of the choices left that you’d rather not live without, which is most important to you? The top 1 or 2 is likely your love language. This isn’t completely black and white.

If gifts aren’t generally important to you, that doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate them sometimes. If you don’t generally need physical touch, you may still love to hug your partner.

But which is most important? Which one do you complain about not getting?

If you say things like “You don’t spend enough time with me,” Your primary language is likely quality time.

Do you want more affection? Your primary language is probably physical touch. If your partner’s least important language is touch, you’re going to have a big disconnect.

Now, diagnose your partner.

Do they give you back rubs or tell you how fantastic you are? Or do they buy gifts, even when it’s not that important to you? One of my clients was continually frustrated because her partner bought her expensive gifts. She liked them, but she thought they were excessive. And it just wasn’t important to her, especially because they didn’t have a ton of money. Instead of several hundred dollars spent for a present, she wanted something smaller and to spend the rest paying a chunk of their credit card bill. It’s not fancy, but the stress of spending more versus getting closer to debt free was huge to her. His language? Receiving gifts. Hers? Acts of Service.

How your partner shows their love is likely how they would like to receive it.

In short, step away from the Hallmark aisle. Step into your beloved’s shoes. Pay attention to them, not society’s expectations of how love should look.

This is all true even if you’re single.

Sasha Cagen started a great movement called Quirkyalone. International Quirkyalone day is celebrated on February 14.


Quirkyalones are people who enjoy being single (but are not opposed to being in a relationship) and prefer being single to dating for the sake of being in a relationship.

Love yourself with your love language.

Don’t settle for fake imitations of love. Real love is authentic and personal.

If you love physical touch, treat yourself to a  massage.

If you love acts of service, treat yourself to a good house cleaning.

If you love quality time, give yourself some attention. Spend an evening doing exactly what you want.

Love yourself. Celebrate your quirk.


What one thing are you going to do to express love to yourself or your partner? Share your one thing in the comments and let’s discuss.





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