Just when we thought we could finally put the anxieties (and expenses) of the holiday season behind us, Valentine’s Day arrives to bring out our inner Scrooges. From the pressure to spend money and be “romantic” to feeling self-conscious about our less-than-perfect relationships, it’s going to take a visit from the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future to shake us from our cynicism and teach us the real meaning of Valentine’s Day.
Just as the ghost of Jacob Marley was weighed down with locks and chains, so too is the spirit of Valentine’s Day Past heavily burdened — with a belly full of steak and a head spinning with champagne. Forget sex: This ghost just wants to go to bed.
But in our tour of the past come distant memories of romance and infatuation: a time when we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other, when we were actually “in love” and not just routinely saying “I love you” — when we didn’t need February 14th as an excuse to get some nooky. Once upon a time every day was Valentine’s Day. If only we could really go back there.
This brings us to the Ghost of Valentine’s Day Present. With less than a week until V-Day, the pressure’s mounting: to call the sitter and make a reservation; to figure out a gift that’s not going to break the bank; to do something “special.” The ghost of Valentine’s Day Present is harried and anxious, and in need of a Valium.
But if Old Scrooge is capable of a change of heart, surely so are we — what’s the real point of Valentine’s Day anyway?
- To prioritize our relationships. Most of the year we’re giving, giving, giving — to our jobs, our kids and families. Our relationship with our spouse falls to the wayside and Valentine’s Day prods us to put couplehood at the top of our to-do list.
- To make our spouse feel special. It doesn’t have to be expensive jewelry, or sexy lingerie that more befits a porn star than a real woman. How about something small and meaningful, like gifting an iTunes playlist of all-time greatest love songs?
- To spice things up. Whether it’s buying a sex toy, picking up a copy of the Kama Sutra, or just loosening your lips and sharing a fantasy, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to shake up your routine and add something new to your sexual repertoire. (Note to women: If you do end up getting that barely-there lingerie, take it as a compliment. You may not think you’re sexy enough to don it, but we think you are. So do us a favor. Give it a whirl. Just once. Then you can stick it at the bottom of that drawer full of old sweaters, never to be seen again.)
- To break out of that rut. People always ask me how frequently a couple should have sex, and I always say at least once a week. To some folks that doesn’t sound like much, but to those who can’t remember the last time they did it, once a week is a way to reconnect and get back into the groove. And this year there’s no excuse: Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, so schedule a Saturday night romp.
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- To be romantic. There’s a reason why chocolate, champagne and roses are romance bigwigs. Chocolate contains many of the same sex chemicals that get produced during infatuation, and a glass or two of bubbly lowers inhibitions, increases circulation and hits the bloodstream faster than wine. (And there’s research to suggest that the blanc de blancs replicate the aromas of sexual pheromones.) And speaking of aromas, when was the last time you stopped to smell the roses?
Which brings us to the ghost of Valentine’s Day Future, a hooded, creepy figure that’s pointing a long finger at a single decrepit tombstone: your sex life, long dead and buried. R.I.P.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s still time to change the future and send those ghosts packing. It’s not too late to embrace the spirit (and not the specter) of Valentine’s Day.
For more of my specific tips on how to reorganize your relationship and make every day Valentine’s Day, download this free booklet I wrote with the support of K-Y Products: www.facebook.com/kycouples.
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