Embrace the day, hearts and all.
That's the message from therapist Tami Robinette, who says doing something for your sweetie -- beyond saying "I love you" -- is important on Valentine's Day.
Gifts are a message, too, and add "a little oomph" to the words that are spoken, says the licensed clinical social worker at Weber State University's Counseling and Psychological Services Center. Whether you buy funny presents or go to a movie, it's about making an extra effort to tell this person he or she is special to you, she says.
Here are some tips from Robinette and other Top of Utah relationship experts on getting it right this Valentine's Day.
* Talk it over. Instead of hoping your partner will magically know what would make Valentine's Day special, talk in advance about what is important to you, says Ryan Calder, an Ogden marriage and family therapist. Does your wife really want to get red roses, for instance, or would something else be more meaningful?
"I wouldn't have that discussion on Valentine's Day, of course," quips Calder, but, ideally, partners should chat regularly with each other about things they are interested in or enjoy.
Talking about expectations, be it giving gifts or going out to dinner, cuts down on any confusion or disappointment about the holiday, adds Lanae Kimber, a professional counselor with Ogden's Family Counseling Services.
* Be clear. Clues and hints about what you would like usually don't cut it, says Robinette.
Saying "I heard that movie is good," does not necessarily translate to your spouse as, "I would like to go see that movie," she explains. Or making a comment like, "There's a new restaurant opening in Layton" may only be heard as a simple observation, rather than a desire to actually go to the eatery.
"How is my husband supposed to know the difference?" says Robinette, who advocates being more direct when stating your wishes.
* Try togetherness. Instead of buying each other more stuffed teddy bears or chocolates, decide on something to do together, like going to a Jazz game or getting away for a weekend in Wendover, Robinette says. Planning the activity together takes the pressure off of each partner to come up with a "perfect" gift.
Also, Kimber recommends choosing things that celebrate your union.
"Focus on building the relationship, focus on building intimacy, on growing the emotional bond between the two of you," she says. "Valentine's Day is all about the couple and bringing you closer together."
* Set aside stereotypes. Marketers of flowers, candies and jewelry are good at manipulating our emotions, Robinette says, so don't listen to them to figure out the most appropriate gift for your loved one.
"(Marketers) really don't care about your relationship, they're just selling their product -- so you are getting played," she says. What's important is knowing who you are buying for and "what touches their heart."
* Make it matter. A last-minute present, picked up at a convenience store on the way home from work, is sending the message that, "I don't want to go out of my way for you" and "I hardly think of you at all," Robinette says.
If Valentine's Day is busy, or you have to work late, plan accordingly and celebrate the day before or after, she says. But make sure you remember the holiday and do something that says, "You are important to me -- and I would walk a hundred miles for you."