Military Life

Here’s how to celebrate Valentine’s Day away from your military member

military valentine's day
Larry Buchanan, a supply technician with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, holds a picture of himself and his girlfriend horseback riding at his office at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jarred Woods, 1st Theater Sustainment Command)

Any seasoned spouse has spent an important holiday or two away from their service member. In fact, you’ve likely done it several times over, this is just a part of the gig. (Either being a military member or their significant other.) Everyone takes this fact differently, creating their own traditions and spin-offs to make up for lost time. And more often than not, families find that celebrating a specific date isn’t so important as celebrating the time you do get. No matter your opinion on spending Valentine’s Day apart, however, take a list of these ways to celebrate, even when your spouse isn’t there to be with you.

First things first, determine how your family chooses to celebrate the day of hearts. Do you exchange gifts? Go out to eat? Watch a movie? Eat a specific treat? Everyone has their own traditions, and you can simply adjust yours to meet the status quo.

military valentine's day card
Valentine’s Day card. (Wikimedia Commons)

For instance, getting a meal to-go and eating it via FaceTime. You can even play some music or set a filter in order to give the date ambiance. Light a candle in the background for good measure. Or, you can put on a movie and talk to your S/O while it plays. 

A candy-filled care package is another good way to celebrate from a distance. Be sure to add in their favorite goodies, whether they’re Valentine’s themed or not. 

military valentine's day candy
Conversation Hearts, a common Valentine’s candy. (Wikimedia Commons)

Then again, you may simply want to celebrate once your loved one has returned from their military duties. Whether they’re deployed or TDY can play into this. (In other words, how long they will be gone.) 

Valentine’s Day can be one of those tricky holidays to celebrate apart for a few reasons. One, everyone celebrates differently. For some, it’s a big deal and should be celebrated near and far. For others, it’s just another day. An added difficulty comes with the fact that it’s a day for couples. When your other half isn’t there, well it can be a day full of reminders that you’re dealing with a long-term distance. 

military valentine's day movie
Purple Hearts, a love-themed military movie that was released on Netflix last year. (Wikimedia Commons)

However, it’s just one more day on the calendar. If you can’t celebrate with your loved one – or don’t have a loved one to celebrate with, it’s nothing to fret. Tomorrow is another day, and another obscure holiday to remember. 

There are also families who choose to forego the holiday altogether. Simply making up for lost time once their member is stateside once more

Of course, there is no right or wrong way to spend Valentine’s Day, so long as you use it to remember those you love most. 

Tell us below how you plan to celebrate the day, whether in person or far from your service member.