5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Apart


It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day – the day every female (whether she wants to admit it or not) expects their significant other to do something special to show their love, and every male inevitably forgets – is swiftly approaching.

Deployments or TDYs can make marking the occasion especially tricky. But newsflash! Living in a combat zone or holding down the homefront solo probably isn’t going to get you out of this one.

Lucky for you we have come up with a few ways for servicememebers and spouses alike to give Valentine’s Day its due from a world apart (and even one way not to, if you insist):

1. Open Care Packages via Skype (or Phone)

Most servicemembers today are probably stationed in places with reliable internet connections, and even those who aren’t can likely access a phone line for a few minutes. If you are able, servicemembers, wait until you buzz your spouse or girlfriend to open any carepackages she may have sent. Spouses: wait until he calls to open any gifts.

If at all possible, do all of this face to face via Skype or another video chat service. Saying “I love you” means so much more if you can see the other person’s face.

Don’t know how to use Skype? Check out this fantastic Skype tutorial.

2. Downrange: It’s Not Too Late to Send Flowers

Did you see the title of this post and think “Oh crap. I totally forgot about Valentine’s Day?” Well, don’t worry. It won’t really be too late to order flower delivery until Feb. 14 Afghanistan time (although companies will not necessarily 100 percent guarantee Valentine’s Day delivery if you wait that long). My advice: order them now.

You can still order most other gifts, too, until Feb. 10 if you are willing to pay extra for speedy shipping. I’ve yet to meet a girl who will say “no” to jewlery or something from Victoria’s Secret.

Check out Military.com’s deals page for some great gifts ideas as well as a discount on flower delivery.

3. Home Front: Host a Valentine’s Day Party for Your Girlfriends

Chances are you’re not the only spouse feeling the lonely sting of deployment this Valentine’s Day. Why not host a chick-flick movie night with calorie-laden snacks or organize a lady’s night out on the town for decedent desserts? Swap “how I met my servicemember” stories with your spouse friends or share the top five things you love about your spouse.

And, please, pass those chocolates this way.

Here are some more ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day while your spouse is deployed.

4. Downrange: Celebrate Valentine’s Day the Afghan Way

No, I don’t mean by blowing something up – note I wrote “Afghan Way,” not “Terrorist’s Way,” after all. According to this 2011 story, many Afghans last year took Valentine’s Day to Facebook where they sent messages to loved ones or debated whether or not Muslims should celebrate Valentine’s Day at all.

You can consider this your chance to discuss whether Valentine’s Day is just a lame “greeting card” holiday or something worth celebrating.

5. Ignore it Completely

This is my preferred method of  “celebration” … if by “celebration” you mean “doing your best to pretend it doesn’t exist.” Call me crazy, but in my opinion there’s something to be said for treating every day like Valentine’s Day.  (I do admit, however, to having a special love for Valentine’s Day candy).

Having trouble convincing your spouse to get on board with the “just ignore it” plan? For the fellas, now is probably not the time to bring it up. For the ladies – if he’s home how about distracting him with video games? (No, really). If he’s downrange? Try pretending the day simply doesn’t exist. The man is in a combat zone – if you don’t bring it up, he probably won’t either. But take this article’s advice:

Tell yourself it’s just another day – because it is. Obviously it is. Valentine’s Day is ridiculous, and most people are in on the joke. You don’t have to play if you don’t want to, but going out of your way to be sour about it is just … it’s tired. And people will secretly roll their eyes behind your back.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

4 Comments on "5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Apart"

  1. Great article, I can definitely relate. My husband and I were married on Valentine's Day and he has probably missed about 7 out of 15 years. However, he has always managed to send me a bouquet of flowers. Knowing that he had to order them in advance for me to receive them on that very day always made it special.

  2. We've decided to start a new "tradition" this year since my husband will be in BCT during Valentine's Day. My sons have invited me out on a "date" for Valentine's Day. My boys are 10, 8, and 2, and they'll be taking me out to a nice dinner and then home for a movie on Netflix. This year, it'll keep me from being lonely on Valentine's Day! And in the future, I hope it'll make a special tradition for me & my sons!

  3. jacey_eckhart | February 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |

    You are so smart Holly. Start those boys on a holiday tradition they can continue forever. I can hear them now, "Yeah, we ALWAYS take Mom to dinner on Valentines day!"

  4. Kristen Savage | January 16, 2013 at 7:46 am |

    That is so sweet of your children. Sending flowers from far away also touches your heart. But such things by kids really touch since they felt our lonliness. And how much wives miss our men…right?

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