Seven simple ideas for a romantic Valentine's Day

Blurb: Valentine's Day is for everyone. Keep the spark alive in your relationship with these tips.

Contrary to popular belief, the gift-card industry didn't invent Valentine's Day. The holiday's roots go back to Roman pagan rituals, which were held to save flocks of sheep from wolves. It's not the most romantic of beginnings, but times have changed for Valentine's Day.

"However Valentine's Day came about, one thing is certain," says Liya Lev Oertel, author of "Couple Care: The Best Advice from Happy Couples" (Meadowbrook Press). "It's the only day of the year designated for intimacy. And with the hectic pace of our lives these days, is that such a bad thing?"

Valentine's Day serves as a yearly wake-up call to couples: "Don't forget you are lovers." This is a call that Oertel has heeded.

"The day-by-day, minute-by-minute demands of work and home life all too easily undermine the intimacy we share with our partners," Oertel says. "The only difference between the sex lives of 20-year-olds and 35-year-olds is time. The 20-year-olds have nothing but time, and 35-year-olds have everything but time. The older we get, the more we need to make intimacy something to cultivate rather than rely upon."

The little things go a long way in stoking the embers of intimacy. Oertel shares seven ideas from "Couple Care: The Best Advice from Happy Couples."

Turn Off the TV

Keep yourselves from automatically reaching for the remote control. It might encourage you to reach for each other instead.

Take a Good Look

Make eye contact with your mate at least three times a day. See eye to eye with the person you share your life with.

Make a Date

Go on dates with each other regularly. Do this even if you've been together for years -- especially if you've been together for years.

Hello and Goodbye

Acknowledge the arrival and departure of the most important person in your life. You don't necessarily have to drop everything and rush to each other's side, but simply show that you notice.

Close the Bathroom Door

Not everything has to be shared. Leave a little mystery in your relationship.

Keep Flirting

Flirt, no matter how long you have been together or how many children you have.

Just a Touch

Touch each other lovingly, just to make contact with the one you love.

"Valentine's Day is a yearly reminder that you and your partner are lovers, but don't forget the other 364 days," Oertel says.

For more information about Oertel or her books, visit

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