How to be a Good Valentine

Follow Some Romantic Guidelines to Show Your Love

Valentine red roses
Tom Merton / Getty Images

Most of us think about being a good Valentine on February 14, but why not do it everyday? Even if you have been married half or more of your life, a few extra gestures and gifts can bring smiles and happiness in a relationship.

Go ahead and splurge on candy and sparkling jewelry, even if the person you love is on a diet or watching a budget. It doesn't have to be expensive or fattening. A small piece of premium chocolate and a single rose presented in a lovingly creative way can make the person you love smile.

Fear of the Unknown

Celebrating Valentine’s Day is fun, but it can also be rather tricky if you aren’t sure about your relationship. There are so many factors to consider before you make plans or plunk down your hard-earned money for a gift. If you have any doubts at all about a celebration idea or gift, talk to the other person first. There is no point in embarrassing yourself or assuming that the other person feels the same way you do.

Once you decide to move forward with your plans, have some fun and be creative. Remember that love has many facets. It can be serious, lighthearted, and even funny. Let your personality shine through.

New Relationship

If you have just started seeing the person you want to celebrate with, try not to scare him or her away. Giving an extravagant gift with an inscription with the words “To the love of my life” might be the very thing that sends the person running, screaming in the other direction.

If you don’t want to have a restraining order against you, hold back a little. Remember that there will be more Valentine’s Days and opportunities throughout the year to celebrate.

Don’t assume the other person will pay for both of you to go out. Be prepared to cover your expenses, or you may find yourself in an awkward situation.

Any time you are in a new relationship, you should have your own money or credit card.

Ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a new relationship:

  • Send a mixed floral bouquet.
  • Give a box of chocolates or other favorite treat.
  • Go out to dinner at a nice restaurant.
  • End the evening with a kiss at the door and the promise of another date.

Long-Term Relationship

A long-term relationship that has been defined the same by both people presents a combination of the comfort of knowing how to celebrate and the risk of being too predictable. The key to having a memorable Valentine’s Day with someone you’ve been seeing for a while is to be creative and respectful. For example, if you know the person’s favorite food is Italian, make reservations at an Italian restaurant – or if you are a good cook, stay home and prepare a dish of homemade lasagna.

More ideas for couples in a long-term relationship:

  • Send a flower for every year (or month) you’ve been together.
  • Give a more personal gift that should only come from someone special.
  • Give specialty candy with the person’s name on it.
  • Cook a romantic dinner and eat by candlelight.
  • Have a picnic by the fireplace.

Married Couples

If you are married to the person you want to celebrate with, come up with something that takes you out of your daily routine.

Instead of having dinner at the kitchen table, make the occasion even more special by eating in the dining room with formal place settings. Add candlelight and soft music to add to the romantic ambience.

More ideas for married couples to celebrate their love:

  • Write a poem for the other person and read it aloud.
  • Prepare the other person’s favorite dessert and share it. Take the romance factor to another level by feeding each other.
  • Go someplace special and out of the ordinary. Dress up for the occasion.
  • Exchange romantic intimate apparel and wear it.

All Couples

Regardless of the time you’ve been together or how you define your relationship, there are certain etiquette rules you should follow. Good manners can make the difference between having a wonderful Valentine’s Day or making you want to forget the day ever happened.

Relax and let Cupid’s arrow land where it may. You never know what surprises are in store for you.

Etiquette tips for everyone on Valentine’s Day:

  • Give your date your undivided attention.
  • Put your cell phone on silent, or even better turn it off.
  • Thank the other person for whatever gift he or she offers. If you are disappointed, try not to let it show.
  • Practice good table manners. You want the other person to think romantic thoughts, not be repulsed.
  • Never break up on Valentine’s Day or other important day in the person's life. Even if you never want to see the other person again, there’s no point in ruining his or her future romantic adventures.
  • Don't give someone anything that could possibly be insulting. This is not the time for a gag gift.