I love a holiday that celebrates love.

Since I’m a history nut, I have to divert for a moment: The origin of Valentine’s Day, according to one legend, began with a Roman priest. This young priest conducted wedding ceremonies in the capital, against the decree of Emperor Claudius in 270 AD. Emperor Claudius claimed that married men made poor soldiers and had all marriages of younger citizens outlawed. Bishop Valentine, however, believed in marriage. He continued to conduct marriages in secret between young people.

Bishop Valentine was jailed and ultimately executed, but not before he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. On the evening of his execution the bishop passed her a note which read ‘from your Valentine’. This story established the tradition of Valentine’s Day.

However it began, I love an opportunity to receive chocolate and flowers. I know this sounds cliché, but I love rich chocolate on special occasions and I have a real affinity for flowers. Years ago my parents hung pictures of their nine children lined up horizontally along the wall of the family room. Next to each frame was an empty frame where our spouse’s picture would go one day. In the empty frame was placed a list of qualities we’d like. My list included “is good with children,”  “loves to laugh,” you know, the usual. Then, on the bottom was written, “Will send me flowers.” One evening after a date, when I had left the room, my date went over and read the list in my extra frame. The very next day—you guessed it—flowers arrived. They were the first I’d ever received. No wonder I married him.

Thirty years later, he is still full of romantic gestures. He recently learned my favorite love song (that he’d never even heard of), sat me down, took my hand, and then sang it to me (accompanied by recorded music and back up singers).

I think of Valentines as a wonderful opportunity for couples to celebrate their time together. A couple of my favorite links include:

Love to Romance. This site offers ideas about the four A’s of a good relationship: attention, appreciation, admiration, and (physical) affection.

Husband & Wife : Always a good way to keep marriage exciting.

Hope you all enjoy your favorite things today.