How to Show Love Today - and Every Day

How many diamond ads have you seen in the last few weeks?  How about perfume ads?  Flowers?  Chocolate?  Ads for special couples' deals at restaurants and boutique hotels?

'Tis yet another season for showing our love by giving a gift.

Valentine's Day is the third largest shopping occasion of the year.  This amounts to nearly $20 billion in spending for the holiday, including gifts for pets, which account for almost $700 million.  Valentine's Day is too huge for marketers to ignore -- it's like Black Friday for florists, chocolatiers, and jewelers.

There's more than one way to show you care.

Valentine's Day is meant to be a time to connect with family and friends in a way that shows love and commitment.  Never mind that we should really be trying to show our loved ones that they are loved every day of the year.  Our culture has made Valentine's Day the heavy hitter, the one day we dare not fail to impress.

I am not saying we shouldn't give gifts to our loved ones.  A thoughtfully chosen gift is one way to show you care about someone.  But it's only one possible way to express love.  If we subscribe to the theory that there are five Love Languages, then we might consider that a focus on gift-giving causes us to undervalue the other four.  

In fact, maybe we shop more and amass too much stuff because we're trying (unsuccessfully) to fill that gap.

Actions speak louder than gifts.

This Valentine's Day, why don't we spend some time and energy on the other possibilities for showing love?

1.  Acts of service 

This involves being extra helpful and kind, noticing a need and meeting it without being asked, dropping a grudge and making the first move toward resolving a dispute, etc.  You could make her favorite food, or do his least favorite chore.

2.  Words of affirmation 

This includes sincere compliments, saying "I love you" and "Thank you," giving encouragement, speaking positively instead of complaining, etc.  Why not make the effort to write a love letter or poem?  Or you could sing a love song (it can be serious or silly).  Don't worry if you're not Pavarotti.

3.  Quality time 

This means focused and uninterrupted attention, eye contact, listening without planning what you want to say, etc.  Quality time generally requires you to ignore your phone.

Spend time reminiscing about how you met and your early days together.  Look at old photos.  Or make plans to do a fun activity together, especially if it's something your loved one likes that isn't your special interest.   Learn about it and look for ways to enjoy it.

4.  Physical touch 

Naturally this includes hugs, kisses, hand holding, pats, fist bumps, neck rubs, foot massages, and more!

Love in action.

I enjoy receiving a few chocolate hearts, a beautiful greeting card, or one perfect rose.  But I adore having my husband's undivided attention or some help with household chores, some acupressure from my massage therapist son, a long phone call from my daughter, and smiles and hugs from my grandson.  Those are gifts for any day, not just a specially designated holiday.

May you love and be loved, today and every day.


  1. What a beautiful message! I'm not a fan of this "holiday". Hopefully your message will make it more of a true connection vs someone just going through the motions because it says to on the calendar.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! "...just going through the motions because it says to on the calendar..." is something I want to avoid. Yet there's a lot of pressure to not just ignore this "holiday." I compromised by writing love notes to my husband, parents-in-law, and kids, and sending my grandson a chocolate heart (one will be special for him, because he doesn't get many sweets) and some stickers of trucks, tractors, bulldozers (he's 3). Just to let them know I'm thinking of them! I treated my husband to a special breakfast, too.

  2. I totally agree. Showing how we care: actions speak louder than words. In New Zealand, Valentines Day is more for couples, and it's not as important as other celebrations. However, I do like your 'little touches' for your loved ones on Valentines Day

    1. Thank you, ratnamurti. Actions speak louder than words, and they often speak louder than gifts, too!


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