Once again the most romantic holiday of the year is soon to be upon us. Whether you look forward to Valentine’s Day each year or chalk it up to nothing more than a Hallmark holiday, there’s no denying that extra love is in the air on February 14. And if it’s your very first Valentine’s Day spent as a couple, there’s simply no excuse—it’s time to celebrate!
“Valentine’s Day is a big deal when it’s your first one together,” says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, author of Dating from the Inside Out. “It’s a day of love, and an opportunity to show someone just how special they are in your life.” Did you know that Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day to get engaged (next to Christmas)? While you and your partner might not be quite ready for the altar during your very first Valentine’s Day, you should still consider celebrating your love to the fullest and doing something meaningful this February 14.
Here are some uniquely special ways to ring in your first Valentine’s Day as a couple.
Discuss expectations ahead of time.
As Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, points out, Valentine's Day can cause stress and anxiety, since you or your partner might be trying to figure out how much is too much, or not enough at all. “Having a first Valentine's Day together is a great opportunity to talk about whether special days are important, what your idea of a ‘great Valentine's Day’ looks like, how much money you want to spend, etc.,” she says. “You want the day to be fun, not one that makes you feel pressure.”
See it as an opportunity.
Even though you probably show your partner affection most days of the year, consider taking the opportunity on February 14 to be as open and honest with your feelings as you can. You might be surprised how appreciated and special it makes your partner feel! “These special celebrations can punctuate the day-to-day routine,” says Chlipala. “It can be as simple as ‘10 Things I Really Like About You So Far’ if you're not at the stage of exchanging the ‘L’ word yet.”
It doesn't have to be romantic.
You certainly don’t have to roll out the red carpet just because it’s your first Valentine’s Day together, but you should do something in celebration of your partnership. It can be as simple as having beers at your favorite dive bar, going to an arcade, watch action movies or comedies on Netflix, working out together, volunteering for a cause you both believe in, etc., suggests Chlipala. “Do what you want to do, not what you think you ‘should’ do.
To inspire you this February 14, here are some great ways to ring in the big day:
Go on a weekend getaway (or staycation).
Even if you’re shacking up at a hotel in a city 20 minutes away from where you live, getting out of your familiar surroundings is sexy in itself. “Many couples enjoy better communication and playing together while vacationing because they’re not distracted by people, family, work, and electronic interruptions,” explains Fran Walfish, Psy.D., Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent. “Somehow, being away from the stresses and strains of everyday life frees them to enjoy more frequent and improved quality of sex as well as better fantasy life.”
Hit the spa.
There’s something romantic about relaxing to your fullest with the one you love. You can do this at your local spa! Treat yourself! “Get massages, swim in the pools, soak in the hot tub, etc.,” suggests Sherman. “Relaxing together will be a great bonding activity that you will remember.”
Give a gift that’s a guaranteed “like”.
Giving a Valentine’s Day gift is a true test to see if you know your partner. If you want a lower impact gift and you haven’t been together long, Dr. Sherman suggests simple candies and flowers or some small piece of jewelry. Or, buy a bouquet of their favorite flowers! “You can observe the kind of jewelry they like or pick something heart-related like a locket or bracelet that will make them think of you,” she says.
If they’re the sentimental type, consider making them a gift. “It could be a photo album, a poem, a mixed playlist of songs that remind you of them, a drawing or a scavenger hunt,” suggests Dr. Sherman. “This takes more effort than just ordering a gift and really shows how much you care.”