Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, Give Extravagant Love

What makes the real difference on Valentine's Day and in your marriage? It's extravagant love, which comes first from God.

If you’d known me in high school or college, you could have heard my rant about how Valentine’s Day was a ploy used by greeting card companies, florists, and candy makers to guilt people into purchasing things they didn’t need, all to express the love they could have been expressing 364 other days of the year. I gave versions of this same rant my first several years of marriage as well.

And then I became a marriage and sex blogger.

Valentine’s Day is huuuuge in this world. So many couples celebrate this day and want fresh or practical suggestions on how to commemorate their special love. It’s a great time to speak about how to romance and honor your spouse, because people are listening.

Not to mention that sales of marriage and sex books, affiliate-linked products, and more increase this time of year. That’s just a fact. And on that note…hey, look, a great place to buy lingerie! (And they’re offering 25% off on lingerie and boxers through Valentine’s Day with the code LOVE25.)

Honoring Intimates Logo

Anyway, over the years, I’ve dug myself out of my cynicism, written many posts about Valentine’s Day, and learned to appreciate it as a holiday with origins in a lovely tale about a priest who continued to perform wedding ceremonies despite a ban by the king—because he believed in marriage. Here are those (many) past posts:

Here’s some simple advice.

But today, just a few days before Valentine’s Day, I want to offer simple advice about how to treat this holiday. Actually, it’s not even my advice. It’s ancient advice, with great wisdom. Here it is:

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans, chapter 12, verse 10

That’s from the New Living Translation, and here are some other translations of that same verse:

  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (NIV).
  • Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor” (CSB).
  • Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other” (ISV).

What is extravagant love?

People often talk about unconditional love, but I prefer the phrase extravagant love. To me that connotes going above and beyond, the same prescription here translated in words like “take delight” and “outdo” and “above yourselves” and “excel.”

On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it’s a good time to take stock and ask how we’re doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? Love that goes above and beyond what we’ve done before, what we think we’re capable or, what we believe they even deserve.

On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it's a good time to take stock and ask how we're doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? via @hotholyhumorous #Valentines #marriage Click To Tweet

But here’s the real core of the matter: You can’t do extravagant love on your own.

You can do extravagant gestures, extravagant gifts, extravagant romance. But day-in, day-out, through-all-life’s-challenges, trying to show extravagant love to your spouse in your power can wear you out.

If you want a really great Valentine’s Day, and marriage, ask yourself what it means to show genuine affection to your spouse and to take delight in honoring them. What would extravagant love look like? And then ask God to pour His love into you so that you can pour it back out to your beloved.

I don’t think I can give better advice than that. Happy Valentine’s to you all!

Intimacy Revealed Ad
Only $2.99 for the ebook!

5 FREE Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse

It’s Saturday, meaning another high-five! That is, five resources or tips you can use to nurture your marriage and your marriage bed.

Valentine’s Day is coming up! If you and/or your spouse enjoy commemorating this day, you need to decide on what you’ll do to celebrate. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to spend?

No worries! Here are five FREE Valentine’s gifts you can give your spouse.

Blog post title + two drawn hearts joined like puzzle pieces

1. Full-body massage

Our bodies love touch, and there’s something so wonderful about your spouse soothing your tight muscles with their hands.

Now, if you want to make this a real Valentine’s treat for all involved, remember: The higher drive spouse wants it to lead to sex; the lower drive spouse just wants a massage.

I’m not saying the lower-drive spouse won’t be responsive to the idea of sex on Valentine’s, but if they feel the whole time like you’re only giving the massage to get sex, it won’t be enjoyable. So focus on the massage for the time being, and make your sexual advances separate from that experience.

If you want to present a gift certificate for the massage, Canva has a bunch of templates you can use; although mostly tailored to businesses, they can easily be adapted to a massage for your spouse.

2. Clean house

I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but if you listened to our Christmas episode from the Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, you heard Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. say that one year the only gift she really wanted was a clean house. And I guarantee a large number of wives were nodding their heads, fully understanding that desire.

But it’s not just wives. In some couples, the husband is more of a neatnik.

If your spouse is  stressed by the mess, it’s a relief and a gift for them to have a clean house. Take a day or more off and focus on decluttering, deep cleaning, and/or decorating your home. Make it a space that feels welcoming and peaceful. And be sure to attend to the bedroom, creating a place conducive to lovemaking.

3. Love letter

Words are powerful. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Your words could be sweet to your spouse’s soul and healing to their bones. Why not put your words in a love letter, to be kept and cherished?

If you don’t know how to write a love letter, I have a section in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, simply titled: “How to Write a Love Letter.” Yep, I walk you through the components of a good love letter and give examples. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write something your spouse will treasure for years. Just learn these tips, and you can write a letter your spouse will love getting for Valentine’s Day.

4. Homemade meal

If you don’t usually cook, be the one to prepare dinner. If you’re not much of a cook, choose something you can’t screw up, or find a simple recipe and follow it to the letter. Videos with a cooking demonstration can be particularly helpful.

If cooking is a shared activity or you typically get meals ready, how about breakfast in bed? Make sure you have a tray on which to serve the food so it’s easy for your spouse to eat. (Unless you’re planning to eat off each other…)

And consider presentation! When you go through Taco Bell, they shove your paper-wrapped burrito into a sack and hold it out the window to you. But when you go to a fancy restaurant, the chef displays the meal on a gleaming white plate with everything arranged perfectly and a garnish on the side. Give your spouse the fancy treatment, as much as you can (search “plating” on YouTube for ideas).

5. Sex

C’mon, you knew I had to say it. Sex is a shared activity that provides fun and pleasure, expresses love, and is free! It’s the gift God gave marriage that we re-gift to each other again and again.

But then how do you make this sexual experience feel special, worthy of qualifying as a Valentine’s Day gift? Try one or more of these:

  • Create a romantic atmosphere, using tools like candles, flower petals, aromas, etc.
  • Try something different or new. Again, my book has a lot of tips!
  • Play a bedroom game, like Ultimate Intimacy or Sexy Truth or Dare.
  • Have sex their way, putting the focus on your spouse’s enjoyment.
  • Lengthen the time you’ll make love, drawing out pleasure with exploration and foreplay.

There you go. Five freebies for your Valentine’s Day.

For other gift ideas, check out:

13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

And remember, you can always gift one of my not-free-but-really-inexpensive books! On sale only through Valentine’s Day.

Ad for Ebooks: Hot, Holy, and Humorous & Intimacy Revealed

Do You Have to Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

In two weeks, it’s St. Valentine’s Day — a holiday celebrating romantic love. Given what I write about, this should be my wheelhouse. I should be excitedly touting the beauty of romantic gestures, sex-themed gifts, and marital bliss. And I have. You can find those posts here:

What to Get Your Husband for V-Day

13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store

7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make

“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse

8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby

8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

Marriage Not Going Great? Go Ahead and Celebrate Valentine’s

7 Things You Should Say to Your Spouse on Valentine’s Day

But I’ve also written about my own view of Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Day for the Rest of Us

What I really want:

What I Really Want for Valentine’s Day (Maybe You Do Too)

What men want:

Does He Just Want Sex for Valentine’s Day?

And my belief that we can make this holiday carry more weight than it should:

Is Valentine’s Day Too Much Pressure?

Some of you are like me: You have a billion things going on in your life, and the thought of stopping all that for something extra-special for a holiday designated by other people seems like another to-do you don’t need on your list. Besides, you frankly couldn’t tell anyone just who St. Valentine was anyway or what that cupid baby has to do with anything. (Seriously, little arrow-toting dude, put on some clothes.)

So here’s a question: Do you have to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it in the marriage contract somewhere? Does the fact that you are a couple mean you that must do something for this event? Would you be remiss if you breezed through February 14 not giving flowers or candy to your beloved and not even wearing the color red?

Do You Have to Celebrate Valentine's Day with finger puppet man and woman

It depends.

On your spouse.

If this day is important to him or her, reconfigure that to-do list and make Valentine’s Day a priority.

But don’t assume. Because in an interesting conversation with some wives lately, I discovered that most of us didn’t care for a big to-do for Valentine’s Day. We wanted subtler gestures of romance — a quiet evening at home, a single flower, a greeting card, an extended time of physical intimacy, a whispered, “I love you. Happy Valentine’s.”

My husband and I tend to trade greeting cards and a long kiss … and that’s it — what constitutes the entire Valentine’s celebration in my marriage. Which both of us are happy with. We personally prefer to go out for a date on a night on which the restaurants aren’t so crowded or to exchange gifts on a day personally significant to us, like our anniversary.

But if I were a flowers, candy, or jewelry person, my husband should oblige, considering and cherishing the wife he married. Likewise, if my husband considered a proper Valentine’s celebration involved extra-sexy sex, I should oblige, considering and honoring the man I married. It’s simply biblical love to seek the other’s good and to show kindness.

I could write another post about what you can do for Valentine’s Day, but I’ve already written a bunch and it’s all a waste anyway if you don’t know what your own spouse desires and enjoys. So have a conversation and see what they think about this holiday.

While you’re at it, maybe talk about other holidays too. My husband and I evaluated our Christmas experience and decided to make some changes next year, and we’ll be talking soon about how to spend our anniversary, making sure our expectations are reasonably met.

If your spouse does want a bigger to-do, I have all of those resources up there you can consult for gift and activity ideas. Plenty of other marriage websites have ideas as well. And I’m sure your local retailer would love to walk you through some possibilities.

But you might be surprised to find out that you don’t have to do quite as much. Many couples are content to take it easy on this holiday of love and find small ways to celebrate.

That said, never ignore an opportunity in your marriage, whatever the day, to express love to your mate. Make that an ongoing goal.

Reminder: Valentine’s Day is special in that we are launching our podcast that day. Click on the banner below to head to our website and learn more. And mark your calendar to listen that week!

What I Really Want for Valentine’s Day (Maybe You Do Too)

I’ve mentioned more than once on my blog that I’m not super-big on Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was ruined for me the year a high school boyfriend gave me a dozen roses in a thick glass vase, and two weeks later they all died on the same day. It was such a letdown, especially when I found out how much they cost and that I could have had a long-lasting outfit or a great pair of shoes for that kind of money.

Call me too practical.

But I don’t think I’m unromantic. I enjoy romance! It just doesn’t always look like what other people’s romance looks like. Which makes me think we should extend our definition of romance in our marriages and for Valentine’s.

So what do I really want for Valentine’s Day? And are any of my ideas what you might want from your spouse?

What I Really Want for Valentine's Day (Maybe You Do Too)

A lingering kiss. I’m talking about that long, soft-lipped kiss that says your spouse’s lips are the only ones you ever want to touch. The type of kiss that feels sweet and passionate all at once. The sort of kiss a fairy tale prince or warrior would plant on his beloved when they finally escape certain peril and find one another.

A hand-picked bunch of flowers. Here in Texas, you’d better make sure you don’t pick any bluebonnets, because picking the state flower on public land is a crime. But there are plenty of places where you could likely yank a few naturally growing flowers from the ground or clip some from a bush and bring them home to your honey. Me? I have a weakness for daisies, which always strike me as a cheerful flower.

A slow dance in our bedroom. I love being held in my husband’s arms and swaying in tandem. We don’t need great dance moves or perfect rhythm or even music playing. Sometimes he just takes me in his arms and sings (off-key) while we dance and I swoon.

A sexy greeting card. There are some very clever greeting cards out there for spouses to exchange, and quite a few of them are flirty, suggestive, or even seductive. I like the idea of my husband picking out the perfect card to say “I want you always…starting right here and now.”

A sightseeing excursion. We’ve done dinner and/or a movie plenty. But my best memories with my husband are when we’ve traveled or gone to museums or visited local attractions. We walk hand-in-hand, see interesting sights, and enjoy great discussions. We spend quality time together. And we don’t do it often enough.

A handwritten letter or poem. My favorite gift ever from my husband is a poem he wrote for my birthday one year. Poetically speaking, it’s bad. But in terms of my intimacy with him, it’s beautiful and unforgettable. He stepped way out of his comfort zone to write something for me he knew I’d like. And if he wants to do something like that every decade or so, that would be just fine with me.

A day in bed. Yes, an entire day that we spend in bed together. We could hole ourselves up in our bedroom and do everything from the cushy, cozy spot of our mattress: Watch TV or movies, eat snacks and meals, read books, have conversations, take an afternoon nap, and — oh yeah — get physically intimate. Maybe more than once.

Are any of these are your wish list? What other ideas would you love for your spouse to gift you with this Valentine’s Day?

And here are some other ideas from previous posts:

What to Get Your Husband for V-Day
13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife
Valentine’s Day for the Rest of Us

Is Valentine’s Day Too Much Pressure?

I write about marriage and sexual intimacy, which means that when Valentine’s Day rolls around, I should be encouraging all that lovey-dovey stuff, right? Yet my marriage is in the camp of those who really don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, except for maybe a greeting card and an extra kiss.

Truth is, I’m not very excited about any of the holidays that involve gifting. Maybe that’s because gift-giving is #5 on my list of the 5 Love Languages. But in my case, that’s okay — because it’s #5 on my husband’s list too.

For many of you, that is not the case.

Is Valentine's Day Too Much Pressure?

Sometimes both spouses are right there on the same page about holidays and gift-giving, but oftentimes we’re not. You may not care about this holiday and yet be married to someone who believes that Valentine’s should be properly hailed with professions of undying love, greeting cards and flowers, gifts the size of ring boxes, and a romantic dinner for two.

It’s a big deal to some people. Valentine’s Day spending is predicted to reach a record $18.9 billion — that’s right, billion — this year. And the average amount spent for a significant other is $128.90 for men buying and $62.47 for women buying. Yes, this means we ladies clean up compared to you guys, but isn’t your wife worth the extra $60? (Say yes.) By the way, that doesn’t count the dining bill.

Isn’t that a lot of money? A lot of pressure?

What if you spend that $62 or $128 and your spouse isn’t thrilled with the day? Do you expect major points for effort? Do you at least think you should get sex on Valentine’s Day?

Let’s back up here and talk about how to take some of the pressure off this actually-very-sweet holiday. After all, who isn’t in favor of flowers, chocolate, and love?

Mutual understanding. You should talk with your husband or wife and find out how they view this holiday. Is it a big deal to them? Would they rather avoid it? Communicate about your desires and look for areas of agreement.

Although this is one area in which if it’s no big deal to you but really matters to your spouse, make an effort anyway. Gift-giving might be #1 on their Love Language list, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to shower your spouse with the love and affection they long for. You would appreciate if they did the same for you in an area you care about.

Realistic Expectations. If you’re not a millionaire, you cannot purchase dozens of roses, hire the limousine, go out to a five-star restaurant, exchange fine jewelry, and stay overnight at a luxury hotel. And you shouldn’t expect that from your spouse. Likewise, if your husband is not an emotional millionaire, he will not suddenly become Romeo and Cyrano de Bergerac molded into one and sweep you off your feet with a romantic adventure worthy of the history books. He may not even remember which chocolates you like.

Remember this is a day about expressing love. Not reaching some unattainable romantic goal. You chose this person with all of their blessed quirks, and you love each other. Set your expectations according to the couple you are. If she isn’t a domestic diva, don’t expect the perfect candlelight dinner. If he isn’t a brilliant poet, don’t expect him to cite a sonnet. If she isn’t… Well, you get the point.

Line up your expectations according to your strengths. Don’t simply celebrate love on Valentine’s — celebrate each other.

Don't simply celebrate love on Valentine's — celebrate each other. Click To Tweet

Don’t keep score. Here are three ways we keep score on Valentine’s Day:

  1. We compare how we did to how our spouse did.
  2. We compare how our spouse did compared to prior Valentine’s Days.
  3. We compare how our spouse did to what we hear other spouses did.

And all of those comparisons are likely to lead to disappointment and resentment. Valentine’s Day performance shouldn’t be reviewed like you’re a love critic.

You’ll always find someone who did better, even your own spouse in a previous year. I could search YouTube right now and find Valentine’s Day videos that would make you wish your husband was as thoughtful as that guy or as sensuous as that woman. So what? You don’t know their whole story.

Besides, marriage isn’t about keeping score. Not on Valentine’s or any other day. Instead, adopt an attitude of gratitude for the spouse you have and the covenant you share. You want to keep score? Count how many generous things you can do for your spouse today. And then do it again tomorrow. That’s a more winning approach.

Take the long-term view. It’s a day. One day. Whether you nail it or blow it, your marriage is not comprised of a single day. It’s a blessing we long-married couples have — with all these days spent together, very few stand out alone. Rather, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That is, our marriage exists as an entire thing, not judged by any one day but by our perseverance, selflessness, and love in action.

We build our relationship day by day, but a single bad day — even Valentine’s — won’t kill it. And a single fabulous day — even Valentine’s — won’t rescue a failing marriage. We must take the long-term view and foster intimacy each and every day. Forgiving each other for the days that don’t go well, celebrating the ones that do, and praying God will infuse us with His love to spill over to our spouse.

Is Valentine’s Day too much pressure in your marriage? Maybe. But with some intentionality, you can ease some of that pressure and enjoy February 14 . . . and every other day in your blessed marriage.

Sources: U.S. News – Valentine’s Day Spending to Approach $19 Billion; Forbes – Valentine’s Day Spending Predictions That Might Surprise You