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  The Importance of Valentine’s Day
Lynn Toler of TV's "Divorce Court" has seen her fair share of relationship squabbles. Here, she gives a Valentine’s Day pep-talk.

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Don't ignore the opportunity to unapologetically express your love on Valentine's Day.


Do something that your spouse loves, but you can’t stand. I intend to sit down next to my husband with cigars and a beer to watch an entire college basketball game.”
I have been accused of being a quart low on estrogen. I am unromantic, exceedingly practical and pragmatic in the extreme. Neither a believer of soul mates nor fairy tales, when asked for advice on marriage I invariably discuss the logistics of love. I talk about the mechanics of a constructive argument. I teach people how to listen intelligently. I promote financial literacy. I get all animated about making a budget.

That’s just the way I think. I am all about process and procedure. I have always believed that the love will take care of itself if the details are okay. As a result, I have never thought much of Valentines Day. In fact, I used to believe it was a silly thing, a holiday heralded by Hallmark solely to sell cards. But I am 25 years into a marriage that has survived its share of ugly, and I am now convinced that some unrestrained sentimentality (even if corporately inspired) might be just the thing.

Whether or not you are romantically challenged like me I think a fresh look at Valentine’s Day might be worthwhile. It can become routine for any one of us. If not ignored, we often meet it with a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a card and some flowers.

I think this may just be the year to work Valentine’s Day like a job. Valentines Day is an opportunity to celebrate the soft side of the whole thing, to rekindle that first-year passionate stuff that you don’t think of doing anymore. Instead of just giving it a passing nod this year with some candy or a card, you can use it as a launching pad for a more passionate and expressive marital year.

Think back to a time when you did the most outrageously romantic things. Revisit one or two of them or re-invent them in some way. Exert some time and a little effort. Think outside the box a bit. Engage in a targeted Valentine’s Day gift. Get into your significant other’s head and look for specific wants and needs. Then get busy getting them done.

Valentine’s Day is the greatest excuse in the world to be floridly corny and unabashedly romantic. It is an opportunity to work on the joy of marriage as hard as you work on the rest of it. Who knows? You get the right thing going and some of it might stick. Skip the card and get naked in the afternoon. Clean the house if it normally is not your job then put a ribbon on the front door. Do something that your spouse loves, but you can’t stand. I intend to sit down next to my husband with cigars and a beer to watch an entire college basketball game. Romantic, no, not immediately anyway, but hopefully we’ll think of something else to do later on.

Judge Lynn Toler is host of the longest running television court program, "Divorce Court" and author of two books including "My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius" and "Making Marriage Work: New Rules for an Old Institution." For more information, visit Judge Toler's website, www.judgelynn.com.



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