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Valentine's Day

Article by Amy Birdsong Golden

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Couples counselor Dr. Gary Chapman developed the concept of love languages which reveals how someone prefers to give and receive love. How does your partner, friend or family member interpret affection? Here is a starter to help you become fluent and gift based on how your Valentine feels the most loved.  

Receiving Gifts (small tokens, gestures, and thoughtful presents)

This doesn’t mean grand gestures and throwing money around. It means “I was thinking about you when I saw this.” Or - “It looks just like you.”  And - “Aren’t these your favorite?” Does your boyfriend often talk about his mother’s cast iron skillet? Germantown Hardware (germantownhardware.com) carries the Tennessee-made, Lodge Cast Iron. They also have the largest collection of independent sodas, including Cheerwine – perfect for your spouse who grew up in North Carolina. Surprise your sweet tooth who talks about his Sicilian grandmother’s cookies. The Ginger’s Bread & Co. (thegingersbread.com) makes Italian cookies and your Valentine’s favorite bread in town.  

Does your galentine have kids at home? Art Project Memphis (@artprojectmemphis) makes themed playdough jars – perfect for sensory play and a great indoor activity.  Pick up some Valentine's flair at RSVP Stationers (@rsvpstationers) for your friend who is always on theme. They also carry packaged cocktail or mocktail kits that can easily fit into a greeting card.  

Physical Touch (affirmative touch, hugs, kisses, cuddles)

A theragun counts as cuddling too, but why not book a body treatment for your Valentine. Midtown Massage and Bodywork (@midtownmassagememphis) has some of the best therapists in town and a variety of services. Try a Table Thai massage with a therapeutic massage plus stretching and joint mobilization.

Quality Time (spending meaningful time and undivided attention)

Grivet Outdoors (@grivetoutdoors) has the mini Solo stove, perfect for a tabletop and backyard date. Add some goodr sunglasses with a note about a hike or an outing that you have planned. 

For last-minute cupids, plan a date and buy tickets for comedy shows, the symphony, theatre, or musical acts coming to town. You can book a sitter once a month for Saturday brunch for just you and your spouse. A call to your travel agent works as well. 

Words of Affirmation (thank you, I love you, compliments, why you mean so much to me)

Does a greeting card give you agita? How will you ever fill the white space? We like starting a card with an excerpt of poetry or a movie quote. Or take inspiration from a gift – and use it as a prompt for your sentiments. Visit an antique or design shop like Lee Pruitt Interior Design (@leepruittinteriordesign). We found darling decorative tape measurers. Start your prose with ways to measure the past year with your Valentine. Or this thinking man sculpture - perfect for decorating a shelf. He looks stumped, but what could he say about your wife if he knew how much she did to support the family. Get the idea? Now your gift has a story to go with your kind words.

Acts of Service (helpful actions)

Is your valentine always doing for others and never scoffing at a chore or favor? Make sure you don't mess up the kitchen when bringing breakfast in bed. Enter Brinkley's Good Flippin' Pancakes (brinkleysfoods.com), a family-owned food company based in Memphis. Made with organic ingredients and gluten-free, you simply give a quick toast and they are ready to plate (and wildly good!). 

Take a chore off your Valentine's to-do list. Surprise them with car detailing, print photos from their iPhone and frame for their office or plant some cool-weather crops in your garden. 

Chapman’s theory proves the adage that it really is “the thought that counts.” And all of that pairs really well with flowers. 

5 Love Languages 

Receiving Gifts 

Physical Touch 

Quality Time 

Words of Affirmation 

Acts of Service 

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