Most of us feel at least a little nervous about February 14, even if we're in a relationship.
To get love advice for Valentine's Day, Family Goes Strong talked with Leil Lowndes, author of How to Create Chemistry with Anyone (and previous bestsellers such as How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You). Excerpts:
What should singles do? Throw a party for their friends who aren't in relationships?
Definitely invite some other girls over. Find man jokes on the web! My favorite man joke is, "Why did they have the first woman astronaut?" "So there's be somebody to ask directions when they got there!" They can invite their girlfriends over and tell their girlfriends they've got to bring a couple of man jokes. There's a wonderful book called Porn for Women. It shows a man vacuuming! [Photos inside show fully clothed men cleaning, cooking, listening, and saying, As long as I have two legs to walk on, you'll never take out the trash!"]
So make it a fun, festive time?
Absolutely! No bemoaning! Also, have each girl bring a story of what she likes about being single. Make it a celebration-of-singlehood party.
Should parents observe the holiday with their kids, and if so, how?
We've got to show the kids what love is. Get flowers for the house. Get some heart-shaped candies. Have them make some special Valentine's for their friends. That's a celebration of love, too. Then I think it would be fun to have a candlelit dinner including the kids. At that dinner, tell them stories about how you met. Then show affection toward each other. Studies have been done that kids who grow up in families where there's lots of touching and affection between the husband and wife have much healthier relationships when they get older. The kids would probably roll their eyes, but say, "We want to show you our wedding photos." Make it a celebration of love and the spirit of giving and making others feel loved.
You recommend making Valentine's Day about all kinds of love, not just romantic love.
What should couples do to reduce stress over February 14?
Because men dread going out on Valentine's Day night, when the restaurants are full, choose another night that week. Then it's more special for you.
What else can men and women do for each other?
It would be nice to dress up. Men love to see their wives dressed up. They're so visual. [Another idea is to] agree ahead of time on the best date you remember when you were going out together. Recreate that day.
What if you each remember different dates as the best?
Make it two nights if you'd like. "What's my favorite thing to do?" And do it one evening. "What's his favorite thing to do?" And do that another evening. It can be Valentine's Week!
What about couples who worry about costs?
It's a wonderful idea to set a limit on the amount you're going to spend. [Last year the average man spent $168.74, and the average woman spent $85.76, according to the National Retail Federation.] It's so important to not make him feel guilty for not giving you candies and flowers and all these other things. The man's brain is different. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you.
So don't take offense if it's a flower-less day?
Not at all. Men just don't get what Valentine's Day is all about. "I love you every day, dear." I saw a cartoon that said, "I loved you on the day we were married, and if anything changes, I'll let you know!"
What are you and your husband planning?
On previous Valentine's Days, we did talk about our courting days a lot. I was just talking with Giorgio, and he said, "Why don't I make you 'Queen for a Day?' on Valentine's Day. I'll do everything – cook your favorite dinner, clean up, and do whatever else you'd like." What a pleasant surprise! And of course, I responded, "And the next you'll be 'King for a Day,' and I'll do whatever you want." I'm really looking forward to our two-day celebration!"
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