19 Valentine’s Day Ideas Long-Time Couples Swear By

Write each other an annual letter

Lovely old letters from 1945 dated February 14, Valentines Day bgwalker/Getty Images

In the past 10 years of being married, Sarah and Zack Klutz have developed many traditions to celebrate Valentine’s Day. From staying home and cooking a steak dinner to visiting a local hot springs for some R&R, they’ve had plenty of time to perfect what they prefer. Sarah’s favorite, though, is writing an annual letter to each other as a way to express gratitude for their relationship. Now that they have two kids, the letters may not be as long as they once were, but they’re still equally meaningful. And that’s not the only way they maintain their marriage. They don’t just prioritize date night once a year in February, says Sarah—they make sure to go out at least once a month to keep the spark strong. They’ve got the right idea: Regular date nights are statistically proven to keep a relationship healthy.

Include your kiddos in the celebration

Valentines Day Baking heart shaped sugar cookies with her childrenLPETTET/Getty Images

If you live in Portland, Oregon, you’ve probably heard of Nick Steele and Kristen Flowers since they host a radio show together. They’ve been married for 10 years, and these days, they look at Valentine’s Day not just as a celebration for a party of two but as a moment of love for the whole family. Usually, they make a special meal or a fun dessert. “We always get a special Valentine’s Day card for our daughter to show her that she is loved,” Kristen says. “It’s a day for love, and for us, that includes children.”

Nick also goes the extra mile to make his wife feel adored, like last year, when he asked her to run out and grab coffee for them. While she was gone, he decorated the whole space with V-Day decor. “It made me feel special and surrounded me with love the whole day,” Kristen says. If you’re thinking of giving flowers, first make sure you know the real meanings behind different rose colors.

Work up a sweat together

Young black couple jogging in Brooklyn street, close upmonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Truth be told, author and certified health coach Christine Egan and her husband, Frank, aren’t the biggest fans of Valentine’s Day. As Christine puts it, it can be too disappointing and present unrealistic expectations that no one can meet. They’ve been in a happy relationship for 24 years, and they use the holiday as a chance to work up a sweat together. And no, not like that—in the gym! “My husband and I shared a fitness goal of participating in a 36-hour endurance event. We trained for over six months together. We would climb stairs, run at night, exercise for over eight hours in a day,” Christine explains. “All those activities put us out of our comfort zone, but it created a deeper connection in our relationship with each other.” Plus, this won’t put a massive dent in your bank account. Here are some more ideas for the best Valentine’s Day on a budget.

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