What’s the Big Deal about Valentine’s Day?

Here we are, and another February 14th has rolled around the calendar. This time last year, I’d been contentedly single for 12 years, raising my two kids, and growing my business.

A few short months later, my world turned upside down when “I met someone.” Ah, the drama of those words… I can still recall how sweet it was the first time I called Frank “my boyfriend,” and how giddy and silly I felt using that phrase again at my age. It was so totally unexpected, yet something I yearned for deeply, to have that connection with someone that was more than just a superficial sharing of lives.

While I’d been alone for 12 years, he’d been on his own for 10. Both of us spent that time reflecting on what was important to us in relationships, what we needed out of them, what had gone wrong in past relationships, and the priorities future relationships had to have in order to succeed.

Each, on our own, had come to the conclusion that our faith needed to be the primary focal point of a solid relationship. As I’d put it, as two people draw nearer to Christ, they’re automatically drawn closer to each other as well. This concept had been shared with me years earlier as “the triangle theory,” where Christ and two people represent the three points of the triangle. It sounded good in theory, at least.

When I met Frank, I had the chance to test that theory, and found that it was 100% accurate. The first time we prayed together, and I heard his voice thanking God for bringing me into his life, is something that I will never forget. Talk about the power of a praying partner! There is no greater sense of being loved when your loved one tells God what a blessing you are to them, and how deeply and truly thankful they are for you.

Due to our habit of prayer and the openness of our conversation with each other, I never doubted Frank’s love for me. I read a tweet this morning that said “If we truly love someone, every day should be Valentine’s Day.” That’s the way it was with us; not with the candy, cards and flowers, but with the openness of our feelings for one another.

When Frank died unexpectedly in October, the one solace I had was that I had always told him how I felt about him. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t know he was loved. And I still have the poems and e-mails he wrote to me, as well as many of the voicemail messages he left that reflect his heart and his humor.

So, what’s the big deal about Valentine’s Day? For those of you who have forgotten, it’s a day that reminds us to tell those we love how we feel. But if you want to live a life with no regrets for the past, don’t let Valentine’s Day end at midnight tonight. We never know how long we’ll have on this Earth.

Be sure to tell those you love most how you feel every day, and find new and different ways to communicate those feelings each time you share them. That’s better than any box of candy you can buy!

Little things count, like a special e-mail message, a single flower, a note in a lunchbox or briefcase, or a phone call to see if there’s anything you can pick up on the way home; anything that says “I’m thinking of you.”

So don’t fear that you have to come up with a big, grand gesture every time, or that it has to be costly to do. The best ways to show you love someone aren’t paid for with cash. They’re paid for with time, thought and energy.

Who do you love, and how are you going to show them you care? Share your ideas and inspire each other in the comments below.


  1. Susan Mazza says

    What a beautiful tribute to Frank and to love Tara. I enjoyed your post and all the great comments that followed. Your story is a wonderful reminder of the gift love is. You have inspired me so much in how you have expressed your love both before and after Frank’s passing. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  2. Jesse Stoner says

    Tara, I was deeply moved and touched when I read your post. One of my mentors often says “keep your ‘I love you’s’ up to date.” Thank you for the reminder of how important that is. And thank you also for sharing your personal story, a celebration of love, which I celebrate with you, and I add my support to the tremendous support that holds you.

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks for sharing that, Jesse! I love it. “Keep your ‘I love you’s’ up to date.” I think I may have to share that every once in awhile. 🙂

      Thanks too for your support. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

  3. Great reminder Tara. We take both the time we’re given and the love we’re given for granted. Thanks. Mike…

    • Tara Alemany says

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Mike! So often, we allow holidays to change our hearts and minds. We feel more gratitude at Thanksgiving, more generous at Christmas, more loving on Valentine’s Day… But the real richness of life comes when we carry these thoughts and feelings into every day of our lives.

      I have a picture in my office that says “Rich is not how much you have or where you are going or even who you are. Rich is who you have beside you.” May you be truly rich today and always, my friend.

  4. Erin Schreyer says

    Such a beautiful post, Tara. The legacy of your love lives on in you and now, after reading this, in all of us too. Thank you for this poignant lesson and reminder of true love and what it should look like!

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks, Erin! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I hope you and your family had a wonderful time celebrating together today.

  5. Tara,

    First of all, my arms reach out to you to give you a big hug. The incessant media coverage of this day must be very hard for you. I saw something that said that the typical man in America will spend an average of $169 today on the woman he loves. I think that’s sad. As if spending money really proves one’s love for another.

    I agree with you that *every* day should be Valentine’s for the ones we love.

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks for the hug, Jennifer. It’s always welcome! I did expect today to be hard, and was pretty much ignoring it until I saw that tweet this morning. It just touched something inside me.

      I had the incredible experience of an insightful friend baking a cake for Frank’s birthday on December 19th. We never actually got to celebrate his together, even though we’d celebrated mine. And I really didn’t know what to think when I opened the door and found her standing there with a cake. Yet, being able to celebrate him and our love was a good thing, not a sad thing. When I saw that tweet, the same feeling came over me. This was our way of being able to celebrate the day together.

      Oh! And by the way, that same friend showed up last night with a dozen, white, long-stemmed roses for me. And shortly after I published this post, another friend showed up with a box of chocolates and a card. She told me that when she was in prayer this morning, she clearly heard Frank tell her “to take care of my girl today…”

      So, I’m feeling totally and completely loved, even in the midst of desperately missing him.

  6. Thank you for writing from your heart. Thank you for sharing your soul. This message is an important message. One I will circle back often.

    Thank you for being such a beautiful soul.
    YOU ARE LOVED today, yesterday and tomorrow.


    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks, Lolly! I’m glad that you found merit in it. There’s nothing more important or more personal than love. Know that you are loved as well. You have touched so many hearts with your #LeadfromWithin cause, and I regularly see the passion and love that shines through you as you share that message. You are a beautiful lady, inside and out, and I’m glad to know you.

  7. It’s easy to take anything for granted, especially relationships, but days such as Valentine’s should serve as a reminder not to take anything or anyone for granted. It’s a wonderful blog, Tara, and thank you for sharing as intimately as you have done. Every day we should take a moment to look around and be grateful for what we have in our lives. As I grow older, (can’t bring myself to say wiser, yet), I try to make more of an effort to take a deep breath and feel the moment. Here’s to deep breathing for you, me and everyone around us.

    • Tara Alemany says

      It’s funny that you should mention taking a deep breath, Nery. There have been times during this grieving process where something as simple as breathing was something I had to remind myself to do, much less doing so deeply. And yet, you’re right. Stopping, taking time to feel the moment and be *in* it, are huge.

      When I first became a parent, it was very important to me to be intentional about it, and not just to let time slip past us. I wanted my successes and mistakes to be the results of choices I made, not things I let passively happen. Loving someone takes active involvement. My friend, Mike Henry, wrote a blog post on the Lead Change site this morning where he said that “love” is a verb, not a noun. And he’s right. Love doesn’t just exist. It causes. It creates. It motivates.

  8. Tara,

    You continue to amaze me! Thank you for modeling vulnerability and courage and for gently reminding us to never take those we love for granted!

    Consider Yourself Hugged!


    • Tara Alemany says

      Something good has to come out of all this, right, Chery? 🙂 Thanks for loving me so well. Hugs back!

  9. Deb Costello says

    You are so right Tara… it is vital that people know how we feel every day. I think most of us are trying to live this way.

    I happen to love Valentine’s Day in large part because I don’t think there’s ever too much love in this world… a little extra nudge reminds us to reach out to each other, just as you have done here…

    So happy VD today, tomorrow, and always… ;^)

    • Tara Alemany says

      I can’t speak for other people, but I know that I have to *think* about making sure people know how I feel. It’s easy to assume that they should know, and, therefore, not to say anything. So for me, it’s a conscious choice I have to regularly make. Otherwise, I fall into the trap of laziness and forget to say anything. I think that’s how relationships go stale. We take each other for granted, and forget to remind each other we’re special.

      I agree with you though that there can never never be too much love or kindness in this world! Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well, today, tomorrow and always. 🙂

  10. Susan Steinbrecher says

    I whole-heartedly agree with you. While a “special day” can be a fun thing to look forward to, I also believe that love should be shared and expressed everyday – it’s often the seemingly small gestures that are the grandest.

    It’s also important to love yourself. Why should we strive for a solid foundation of self-awareness and self-acceptance? Because authenticity of self is the currency of meaningful relationships, and self-reflection can be a springboard for positive change in our lives.

    Cheers to you Tara; It is beautiful that you and Frank were able to open your hearts to give and receive love – if only for a spec of time – love is eternal.

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks, Susan. I do enjoy the small gestures; those seemingly inconsequential things that make an ordinary day special. Love can be expressed in so many ways, to those we know and even to complete strangers; letting someone pull into traffic on a busy street, paying the toll for the car behind you, etc. It’s when we love ourselves that we’re truly able to show unconditional love to others, and that’s where the self-awareness and self-acceptance become so important.

      Thanks for your encouragement!

  11. Tara, You have shared a personal story with a powerful reminder. How generous of you. It’s through appreciating others and valuing the little things that we find happiness.

    Many find that out too late.

    Meanwhile, your awareness of that seems to have given you tremendous strength in such a sudden loss.

    I wish you blessings and peace whether it comes from connecting with another wonderful mate in the future or your own sense of giving in this world.

    Warmest wishes,

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thank you for your kind words, Kate. The grieving process is a long and difficult journey, and one that I’m still on. But all relationships are so important, whether with a mate, a child, a friend, a business partner… True connection can never be made unless open communication takes place, and that’s true in both business and personal life.

      So, what’s the big deal about Valentine’s Day? It’s a great reminder to be open to each other, truly connecting. But even more so, it can be a springboard launching each of us into real and authentic connection each and every day. While I miss Frank dearly, and always will, there are still others in my life that I love who need to know it too, my family, especially. It’s amazing how being connected with others can soften some of the sting of grief over time.

  12. A wonderful Valentine’s Day post Tara! I love the thought, as mentioned in the email you saw, “If we truly love someone everyday should be Valentines Day.” How true this is. Thank you for a precious reminder to love and cherish those we care deeply about. Life is simply too short not to.

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks, Angela! Yes, that tweet really caught my attention as well and, while I retweeted it, I realized there was so much more to be said. Hence, this post. 🙂

      I hadn’t been planning on writing a Valentine’s post today. But, being open about our feelings, and expressing our appreciation and love for others, is a huge part of living a life without regrets.

      For parents, it’s part of creating a stable and loving home. For spouses, it’s part of building one another up. For leaders, it’s part of being connected with your followers. For teachers, it’s part of opening up new realms of possibilities.

      If you love someone, it’s not about letting them go. It’s about letting them know.

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