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So Valentine’s Day is Thursday (tomorrow eek!). Don’t panic.

valentines2I meet many people who think that Valentine’s Day is an over rated commercial Hallmark holiday. I think Valentine’s Day can be magic. Maybe I’m a little wide eyed and that I still believe in romance (despite my daily mediation with struggling couples). Valentine’s day is the day of the year when you stop and say “I picked you. You are special. And I would do it all over again. February 14th can be a reminder to stop and attend to your relationship. I see so many couples who have forgotten to make their relationships a priority. Given the craziness of daily life, too many couples push their relationships to the bottom of the pile. By the time I see them in my office, the intimacy they have always counted on has fallen off the rails simply to lack of attention. Relationships take mindfulness and work.

I love this list of ideas about ways to be mindful about your relationship for no money. There are little reminders to give you that necessary push, even if its not mid February.

1. Create a Game Night
Avoid yet another evening spent on the couch and host a game night this Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a mellow game of Scrabble or a high-intensity round of Texas Hold ‘Em, you’ll enjoy a little friendly competition with your date.
2. Head to the Playground
Skip the pricey restaurant and head to the playground for some kid-like fun. Compete on the swingset or see who can hold out the longest on the merry-go-round.
3. Volunteer Together
Valentine’s Day seems to be all about what you’re doing for your special someone. Why not collaborate and do something for others instead? Soup kitchens and nursery homes are always looking for a few good volunteers, so spend your Feb. 14 brightening someone else’s day.
4. Make S’Mores
Forget chocolate-covered strawberries; s’mores are where it’s at this Valentine’s Day! Roast marshmallows over your kitchen stove, expertly melt chocolate in the microwave and create a multi-layered, gooey treat for your lover.
5. Bring the Spa Home
Spas and salons will be brimming with lovey-dovey couples this Valentine’s Day, but you can skip the crowds and create a better experience at home. Gather your candles, towels and favorite CDs and prepare a steamy bath. Complete the experience with a couples massage.
6. Get Touristy
Despite how long you’ve lived in your current city, there are likely several hidden gems you haven’t yet experienced. Stop by the local visitor’s center with your date and inquire about free things to do in your community, then hit the road toward discovery.
7. Host a Movie Night
Host a movie night and ask friends to bring their favorite snack to share. Peruse your DVD collection for a funny or thought-provoking flick and leave the tear-jerkers for just the two of you.
8. Relive Storytime
Open a bottle of wine or pop the top on your favorite brew and settle in for an evening of storytelling. Share passages from your favorite books or pick up your favorite childhood classics from the local library.
9. Cook Dinner Together
Cooking a meal for your loved one has long been a Valentine’s Day tradition, but why not prepare something together? Challenge each other to create a tasty meal out of items you already have in your pantry and toast to your resourcefulness.
10. Host a Wine Tasting
Tasting flights will cost you a pretty penny at fancy restaurants, but you can bring the experience home for less. Ask friends to bring a bottle of wine and their favorite snack pairing and enjoy an intellectual discussion about tannins and undercurrents.