“Have a day full of your favorite things.”

Breakfast

Long-term married couple Shel Horowitz and his wife D. Dina Friedman have been an unstoppable twosome since 1984, celebrating more than 33 years together. As a way to keep that lusted-after spark alive, Horowitz says it’s important to let Valentine’s Day be a day when you begin and end your day with kindness, affection, and love toward one another. Their favorite Valentine’s Day begins with breakfast in bed, followed by an adventure that takes them outside—even if it’s freezing outside in mid-February. “The cold air is actually energizing once you get going, as long as you’re dressed for it,” he adds. To top off the day, Horowitz suggests dark chocolate, a dinner reservation at your favorite restaurant, and, if you can swing it, live music to encourage those romantic vibes. Here’s the best marriage advice from happy couples.

“Whatever you do, just make sure you spend time together.”

Happy-couple

For Renee and Michael Jones, who have been hitched since 1995, it’s less about the what they do on Valentine’s Day, and more about pausing their busy, overworked lives and focusing on one another. As Renee shares, the romantic way to spend this holiday is to focus on one another, meeting the needs of their heart, body, and mind. That’s why after too much stress of booking restaurant reservations, they’ve switched up their tradition. “What we do depends on the weather, but we live in Texas, so there is a better than average chance that we can do something outdoors. The main priority is to spend time together, making meal preparation as easy as possible, and enjoy the company of this man I adore and married almost 23 years ago,” Renee shares. “One year, he took me to a proper British tea at a local hotel, and then we had a lovely wander around the very safe and intriguing city square. We may sit on the patio of a gourmet grocery store after choosing our food from their deli and wine from the store. It’s not about what we do, you see. It’s about connecting our hearts—regularly and not simply on Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.”

“Surprise them with a thoughtful, meaningful gift.”

Valentines-card

For Kim and Mark Melton—who will ring in 25 years of marriage in July, the secret to a memorable Valentine’s Day is tied to a unique, meaningful gift. Since they have five children, going the extra mile to surprise one another with a thoughtful token of appreciation speaks volumes about their commitment to one another. “When you have been married a long time, holidays like Valentine’s Day help to keep the romance alive by reminding you to do something special for your spouse. It doesn’t have to be big and expensive, just a small surprise that your spouse wasn’t expecting to make them feel special,” she shares. “My husband has written me a letter telling me the things he appreciates about me, and I do the same for him. And because we are busy with children, we make a point to set time aside to go to a favorite restaurant, no phones allowed, and have a nice dinner together.” We love these winter date night ideas that will keep you warm and toasty.

“Steal quiet time away.”

Couple-walking-through-park

Dr. Elizabeth Trattner and her husband of 30 years, Steve, lead hectic, busy schedules, that sometimes make it difficult to steal away romantic time together. Even so, Dr. Trattner says her partner goes above and beyond to make her feel special, even making sure she has fresh flowers each week, without fail. When February 14 comes around, this successful, dynamic twosome lean toward a quieter celebration instead of one that requires fanfare and hoopla. “We always go to a place outdoors that is quiet and serene like the beach or a Japanese garden. By being in nature, we actually calm our bodies down and help increase focus, and we don’t have distractions like phones, computers, or throngs of people,” Dr. Trattner explains. “The gift of time and focus is the greatest gift to me and to my husband so when we both have time off, we reconnect for the day in nature where we feel revitalized and can enjoy each other’s company where we solely focus on each other.” Love nature? You’ll love these ideas for outdoor dates.

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