Expressing love doesn't require large sums of money -- just a little planning. Do you need some ideas to make this Valentine's Day one to remember? Here are a few affordable ideas:

  • Create a photo postcard of the two of you. On the back, write a thank you for that special memory and an invitation out to another romantic activity
  • Recreate your first date. If they still fit, wear the same clothes. If not, at least go to the same places.
  • Check a book out of the library or buy a book of love poems. Sit in each other's arms in front of the fireplace and take turns reading poems to each other.
  • Create a mail box for love notes: place it in your bathroom, on the kitchen table, etc and exchange love mail. A traditional mailbox is nice because it has a red flag you can put up to signal, "You've go mail!"
  • Use everyday items to send a unique set of messages - like the title of a candy bar with a note that says, "You are a 'Big Hunk' of Burning Love." See if you can work in all kinds of items: shaving cream, deodorant, perfume, cereal (You are my "Life, etc.) Or place romantic cards throughout the house. One year, Bill woke up to signs that read, "You are my CUP of tea"; "I love to STAIR at you!"  "You've opened the DOOR to my heart."
  • Use a magazine cover like TIME's "Person of the Year" and scan in your spouse's picture. Or use other magazines with catchy headlines like Glamour or GQ but replace the model with a picture of your mate.
  • "Kidnap" your spouse from work or other responsibility — like in the middle of mowing the lawn — blind fold them and take him/her to a romantic rendezvous. (You might clear this with the boss or show up at the end of the work day — just don't get your spouse fired — that would definitely ruin the mood).
  • Have dinner someplace different in your home: in front of the fireplace, on the rooftop, on the patio or balcony out back, in the attic, under the tree in the back yard, etc.
  • Leave love notes (or an invitation to a night out on the town) between pages of a book or magazine your mate is reading.
  • Make a public statement of your love. Rent a billboard, hang a sheet or banner over the freeway overpass, make a banner for the garage door, write in chalk on the driveway, or paint on a wall that you are going to be repainting anyway.
  • Use inexpensive dime store Valentine's to create a trail of clues that lead to a romantic destination. You can also tape the Valentine's around town, around the mall or to your friend's front doors.
  • Look at your wedding album and talk about what first attracted you to your mate.
  • Kiss every time you see something specific (at green lights, when you spot a fire hydrant, anytime you see your favorite flower or hear your favorite song). Marriage specialists David and Claudia Arp kiss whenever they see a body of water. We kiss and dance on every elevator we find ourselves alone in.
  • How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Write all the reasons you love your spouse on a set of index cards; make a paper chain of her or his best qualities; bring your sweetheart a flower for each positive trait you want to recount.   
  • Opposites attract: For one day, flip roles. If he usually drives, then let her. If she usually cooks, let him.
  • Dedicate February 14th to learning something your mate loves (how to toss a  football; how to golf; fly fishing; how to find a great antique or quilt).

Each couple expresses love a little differently, so get creative. What works for one spouse might not resonate with another. That's okay. Your goal is to convince your mate you remember him or her on this special day and remind him or her why you first fell in love. God can help your creative juices flow. "We love because he {God} first loved us." 1 John 4:19.

January 28, 2010

Article adapted from Pam and Bill Farrel's book Red Hot Monogamy.

Bill and Pam Farrel are international speakers and best selling authors of over 30 books including bestselling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make and their newest, The Marriage Code. If you need a few more ideas, go to www.billandpam.org for a list of over 20 free ways to say I love you.