Celebrating Valentine’s Day Across the Miles #OperationInTouch


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My husband and I began our relationship long distance. We were more than 300 miles away from each other. It was too far for him to visit without a leave pass, but we made it work and our love grew with each passing day and visit we managed to put together.

For a year, I would hop on a bus to travel the distance nearly every other week and for national holidays, he would put in a leave pass to visit me or take a special trip somewhere. We became experts on nurturing our relationship across the miles.

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that the military (let alone the federal government) does not recognize. No four day would be issued nor would it warrant a leave pass. The general population doesn’t even get a day off from it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge the day for what it’s worth.

But, what if you can’t even see each other?

I hear ya. That’s when we exercise the opportunities given to us. My husband and I have only spent one Valentine’s Day together out of four. I realize that there are lots more military couples that have yet to even spend a single Valentine’s Day in the same time zone. This year, we are pretty pumped to be able to be together again (that’s 2 for 5!).

Being apart for the first 3 years of our relationship has taught us to appreciate every minute we spent together and celebrate special days like Valentine’s Day in our own way.

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day During a Deployment

Here are 4 romantic ways to make the distance work for you and your beloved on Valentine’s Day.

Reschedule Valentine’s Day. I love rain checks. It’s a way for my husband and I to still celebrate any important day that we couldn’t actually spend together. If you know your partner will be away, put together your own Valentine’s Day on any day that works for both of you. If they have been away for a little while now, plan something special for when they return. It can be that one restaurant you have been wanting to try or a trip to a nearby place that you both enjoy. Or, just stay home and enjoy the time together lounging around comfortably and eating something sweet. My husband and I LOVE chocolate lava cake. YUM. Use your rain check day, whenever it may be to celebrate Valentine’s Day and your love for one another.

Write a meaningful letter…by hand. In this day and age, the Internet makes it so easy (and awesome!) that we can SEE our loved ones on a video screen on any given chance. There is still something to be said about seeing thoughtful words on paper. My husband and I would see each other pretty regularly online when he was overseas, but when I would get a letter from him in the mail, it was like he was mailing a piece of him to me. Make it more than a note back, arrange a theme for each correspondence. Maybe one letter could reflect the first time you met? And another can be about your wedding day?

Goes without saying…plan a real time Skype/FaceTime date. It gets a little tricky when you’re in way different time zones, but it’s easy enough to make it work. When I was getting ready for bed, my husband would be starting his day in Korea. I would have a small bowl of Breyers ice cream and he would have his morning tea in hand. For Valentine’s Day, we were able to greet each other for the day and that was enough for me.

Create something unique for your partner. This is a fun one where you have full creative rein and highlight any special talents you have. My husband likes to draw as a hobby. Mostly abstract figures and shapes, but when he was in Korea, he decided to draw one of our engagement photos free handed. It remains to be one of the most special things my husband has ever given to me and it was just drawn with pencil on a piece of lined paper.

I, on the other hand, do not have any artistic ability, but I am the one that seems to collect keepsakes from our journeys (glorified hoarder). Instead of throwing away brochures or itineraries from the places we’ve been, I would display them all in a way that would feature the things we’ve done together. It doesn’t have to even be something tangible, it would be an action too. Maybe you can recreate a day that was both special to you or revisit a place that means a lot to you and share it with him via Skype?

Valentine’s Day is just one day. Remember the bigger picture and be sure you celebrate your relationship in any way that is special to you. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and loving Valentine’s Day!

Operation In Touch provides tips and resources for members of the military community. Check them out on Facebook or Pinterest.


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