updated 2/17/2005 5:37:37 PM ET 2005-02-17T22:37:37

Our first Valentine's Day as a couple was disastrous.  My husband did not believe that he needed an annual "special" day to show me he loved me and I (of course!) was upset.  I wanted to celebrate our love and Valentine's Day is all about celebrating love. I felt his idea about not wanting to "commercialize" his sentiments for me was a cop-out.

What he did, instead, was write me a long letter about his reasons for not celebrating Valentine's Day.  A letter! I didn't want to accept it. Instead I turned up my nose at it and he ripped it up.  My curiosity about the letter stemmed my tears and as soon I could I fished out all the tiny pieces of "my letter" from the trash and pieced them together.  As I read it I found that it was the most beautiful love letter (and the only one since!) I had ever received. I realized he was right.  As my husband wrote, "We don't need a special day to prove the words "I Love You" to each other. We prove it everyday in the things we do for each other, celebrate it in our laughter and treasure it in moments that a Valentine's Day card or gift can never fully represent."  —Laura Garcia

This Valentine's has been the best one yet, at least for me.  My boyfriend left to Marine boot camp one month ago.  I was so disappointed that I wouldn't get to spend our first Valentine's Day with him, but I made no big deal of it.  Valentine's day morning was like any other day.  I got out of bed to get ready for classes.  After class, there was a whole bouquet of flowers waiting for me in my living room.  He had planned it out before he left, but it was still a great reminder that he loves me and wanted to make this Valentine's wonderful.  —Krystal Norman, Houston, TX

I think the worst Valentine’s Day I had was this year, 2005.  I am "engaged" to an awesome guy whom I love with all my heart.  We have been struggling financially and he told me that he was sorry that he couldn’t buy me anything. I kept telling him that I didn’t want him to buy me anything, and that he could make me something, which I would like it a lot more.  Or, just do something to show me he loves me.

He never got my hints.  I have never gotten flowers, got a card, never anything, even before I was with him.  Guess I am just not special enough.  —Anonymous

My husband and I will be celebrating our fifth anniversary this July. We met in San Francisco on January 27th, 2000, and immediately fell head over heels for each other.  I was a 21 year old student from Sydney, Australia, who had been traveling the States with friends for over two months and was due to go home on February 5th.  He told me on the night that I was due to fly home that he was in love with me and wanted to spend his life with me.  I was so confused as I felt everything was happening so quickly (we had only known each other for a week and I might never see him again).  On Valentines Day in Sydney, more than a week after I left him at the airport in San Francisco, the door bell rang.  I opened the door to find him standing there with a dozen red roses.  We married 5 months later and 6 months after that I joined him in San Francisco.  —Vil Fulgencio, San Mateo, Calif.

Feb. 14, 2003 my husband took me on a surprise weekend to Niagra Falls, New York. I had an idea what he was doing, but that night, after dinner, we walked down to the falls. It was so cold (-14). He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said "yes" of course. I started crying and the tears just froze to my face. That was the weekend we had a blizzard and it took us 14 hours to drive home. I will never forget that moment.  —Jennifer, Hagerstown

In college, we were having a fall festival and they were "auctioning off" the single guys.  I thought, "Why not?" and bought Ron for the day.  We had a great time and I thought something was there.  For the next couple of months anyway, we would say hi and go on our way.  I was disappointed.  Then on January 14, I was standing outside my dorm, and he came by and asked me to dinner.  We had a wonderfully nervous time.  He didn't even hold my hand the entire night!  The next day he kissed me a peck on the cheek (you see, he was very shy).  We hung out together and studied, then on Valentine's Day (1974) we were walking and he stopped me, kissed me, and told me that he loved me for the first time.  I was already sure I was in love with him.  Four days later, he proposed to me and we've been together ever since.  We married June 14, 1975 and are coming up on our 30th anniversary.  He never ceases to surprise me and we've kept a lot of humor in our marriage, along with God. —Kim Brown, Bradenton, Fla.

The toughest Valentine's Day I've ever had is this year, 2005.  I'm spending it deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I desperately miss my lovely wife, Maureen, and three beautiful daughters, Krystina, Kimberly and Brittany.  I wasn't sure if we'd have Valentine's Day cards available here, so I ordered some from Hallmark a month ago.  I mailed them home, and Kim was heartbroken that she never received hers.  I felt so bad for my little angel that I sent her an e-card, but I know it's not the same. —LTC Wayne A. Wolverton, North Caldwell, NJ/Camp Slayer, Iraq

I am an emergency room nurse and I work 12 hour shifts ending at around midnight.  Last Saturday, two days before Valentine's Day, I came home after the second of two busy shifts.  I kissed my husband who was up watching a movie, spent a few minutes with him and then walked upstairs to put my bag in our bedroom.  There was a beautiful bouquet of red roses on the table in the hallway and a card taped on our bedroom door with a safety pin on it.  The card said "I love you more than I can show".  Well, I was so touched— but wondered what the safety pin was for.  I found out as soon as I opened the bedroom door.  The room was filled with 500 red balloons.  They covered everything.  I screamed with laughter, then ran down and kissed him. We had a blast playing in the balloons— and then later using the safety pin to pop all of them. What an great surprise and what an incredible guy.  After 20 years, he just gets better and better. —Sue Kilgore, Lenexa, Ky.

My favorite Valentine's Day was the year I received flowers at work the week before Valentine's Day with this note "I couldn't wait until Valentine's Day to say I Love You."  It was more of a surprise to get them early and such a great way of telling me he loved me.  We just celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and I wouldn't trade him for anything!  —Patty, Green Bay, Wis.

Last year, my wife and I wanted a simple Valentine's day.  We Nothing out of the oridinary is what we had agreed to.  After all, it was only days before when we were told that our mortgage for our very first house was acccepted and a closing day was set.  Being under "orders" not to buy anything, I still managed to get flowers and chocolate for my wife and 3 yr. old daughter.  My wife surprised me by filling up the gas tank in the minvan, which is something she never does...honestly.  She bought me five Lottery scratch tickets.  Well, one of those tickets turned out to be  $20,000 winner!  I was definitely blessed that day with a winning lottery ticket, our very first house to soon live in, and a wife and daughter that were there to enjoy it all with.   —Al Scarfo, East Hampton, Conn.

It feels like yesterday, the memory so fresh in my mind. You whispered to me to come lie down and cuddle with you as we had done so many times before. As I lay in your arms I felt that safe, warm feeling and comfort.  Our bodies were entwined as one and the rhythmic beat of your heart helped me drift to sleep. A sudden clap of thunder woke me and I turned slightly towards the window. The flashes of lightning that normally frightens me instead mesmerized me. I listened as the wind howled and rain tapped upon the window. Suddenly there was silence and the suns rays came through the slats of the blinds. I whispered what a strange storm as I turned towards you. I looked up at your face and saw you sleeping peacefully. I lay my head upon your chest but the rhythmic beating of your heart was silent. I softly called your name and begged you not to leave me. The days following are a blur; nature's way of protecting me from the shock is what they tell me. I remember all the wonderful moments in our lives especially our last Valentine's dinner. We came together as a family, our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren. A Kodak moment is what you called it. You were most courageous smiling and laughing through all of your pain. It is your courage that helps me continue on with my life. I write this tribute to you, my best friend, my soul mate, father of my children and most of all my pillar of strength. We shared a remarkable life and I learned so much from you in our years together. Our meeting one another was not by chance but by fate. Together we raised our children with values and a sense of family. I am blessed to have known you. You are always in my heart and in my mind. I will always love you. Happy Valentine's Day.—Angel, Boca-Raton, Fla.

In 1957 I was a young Marine stationed at El Toro MCAS in Southern California. I had grown up in Burbank and would go home on weekends. I was head over heels in love with the most beautiful girl in the San Fernando Valley. However duty called and I was sent overseas. Due to difference in our religions, out mothers opposed our romance. Sadly we lost contact. I never forgot lovely Winona. 47 years later thanks to the internet Winona found me again. She showed me a picture of me she had kept all these years. On the back she had written "This is the man I should have married." Now this Valentine's Day we will celebrate our first anniversary. That lovely Valley Girl is my wife at last.—Paul Anton, Tacoma, Wash.

One of my worst Valentine's Day turned into my most memorable. My husband & I were homeless & broke. We were driving to a new job in Dallas,Tx. Nerves on edge we had fought all day long. It had gotten so bad neither of us were speaking anymore. The sun went down & after a remarkably beautiful sunset there was a full moon. Instead of enjoying it, it just made me feel more alone. Suddenly George Jones came on the radio with "He Stopped Loving Her Today". As the tears welled up in my eyes I turned towards the window so he couldn't see me cry. Then out of nowhere Doug said; "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you now. I'm so sorry.I love you." All the little romantic gifts I've long forgotten. But I'll never forget that & after 20 yrs. whenever things get bad I still draw on the love I felt at that moment. For the first time in my life I knew love could survive even the worse of times. .—Sylvia McClelland-Morrison, Ashland, Ky.

We were to have our first date on Valentine's day. I was so excited and had even bought a new outfit.  At the last minute my sitter had to cancel and I was devestated.  When I called my date to report that I couldn't go, he told me it was no problem and he'd still come over to my home.  He showed up a short while later.  He had five red roses for me... one to symbolize each of my four children and one to symbolize his child.  He also brought steaks to grill for all of us that night.  I knew that since he recognized the importance of our children within our relationship that he was a real keeper.  It wasn't too long after that when we finally managed a first 'real' date.  We were married a few months later.  That was over ten years ago now.  It was the most special Valentine's Day that I can ever imagine and my heart still fills with joy each time I recall it. .—Cecilia Miller, Emmetsburg, IA

He was born on Valentine's day, 1964, she was born exactly one month later, March 14th. She was the first girl he ever fought for-in the 2nd grade, when a 4th grader pinched her. They were heartbroken when his parents moved him away, and they lost touch. He managed to call once, when he was 17, but missed her. Then, fate stepped in. During grad night, 1982, they were less than 10 feet apart, but never knew it. Later, he was the security supervisor at the Madera Speedway-the only guard wearing matched .45's-and she walked by, thinking "could it be?" but never having the courage to ask, while he thought "what a cute little kid", as she pushed her daughter by in a stroller. Time went by, he went into the Army, she moved to Castro Valley, CA. Then, as she was beginning her divorce, she happened to look up his name in classmates.com-there were 19 names matching his, but she tried-and found that, just as she was in the process of divorce, he was correcting his own mistake- 7 years of misery. It was the most exciting time in their lives since they had separated, and as they spoke, they
discovered that fate, though fickle, had been trying for years to get them back together. Today they have a beautiful baby girl, Devon Leigh. — David Gentile, Sgt, USA (Ret), Disabled Veteran

I just received my Valentine from my 7 year old daughter.  It is a pin (broach), she made of a puzzle piece painted in all pink, with specks of glitter and it has a crystal heart in the center.  It is the BEST Valentine I have ever received in my 36 years..—Kim, Rancho-Cordova, Calif.

Last year on Valentine's Day, my husband took me to lunch at a local area restaurant. As I was looked over the menu, a woman came over and asked if I was Robin, I said "yes" and she gave me a chocolate heart with my husband's name on it. A few minutes later, three women came over and started to serenade me. My husband (Dick) had hired this group, to sing to me for Valentine's Day. Our local  newspaper heard about this and came with a reporter and photographer and took our pictures. The whole restaurant was watching, the wives were crying and the husbands were wondering why they didn't do something like that.  We have been married for 28 years and he can still surprise me. —Robin Austin, North Port, Fla.

I had only been home from the hospital for four days with my first baby. My husband had gone back to work, and I was home with my new baby, her 10-year-old stepsister and her friend. It was a long and tiring, day and to make matters worse unexpected company stopped by that evening to see the new baby. I had no idea it was even Valentine's Day. When the company finally left, I told my husband I was starving, all we had in the house was eggs and I hadn't eaten all day. He immediately went out for a pizza and to my surprise came home with two pizzas. When I opened the top pizza box it was filled with red roses and a card. I have never forgotten that pizza. —Gayle, St. Louis, Mo.

The best Valentine's Present I ever gave: My (now) husband and I had only been dating a short time and I was short on cash so I thought of a romantic idea for Valentines. I snuck into his place and lined Hershey's Kisses from the door to the bathtub and put flowers in the tub. Just above the shower handle was a note that said "Now that I have kissed the ground you walk on & showered you with flowers, will you be my Valentine?" He loved it!  —Letha Miller, Birmingham, Ala.

My husband, who is not very romantic, last year took our wedding picture and had it engraved onto a sterling silver heart at the jewelers and gave it to me on a beautiful silver chain.  He surprised me so much that he actually had to think about this and follow though with such a thoughtful gift. —Jeanne-Wolcott, Conn.

I've never been that fond of V-Day because it's the day after my birthday.  Growing up, all I ever wanted was a cake that didn't have little sugared hearts all over it, and decorations in any color other than pink and red.  That being said, one of my most memorable Valentine's days was with a close friend of mine when we were both boyfriend-less.  We went to see "Breakfast At Tiffany's" on the big screen and chatted in a coffee shop until they shooed us out at closing. —Anonymous, Dallas, Tex.

The best Valentine I ever received didn't come from a boyfriend or my husband, it was from my Grandmother. Grammy and I had been very close my whole life and I was due to marry a few days after Valentine's Day in 1984.  For Valentine's Day she sent me a gift, which was unusual because we had never given each other gifts for Valentine's. Upon opening the box I found a beautiful gold necklace with two gold hearts, one positioned inside the other.  She had placed a hand-written note inside the box that read, "The big heart is mine and the little heart is yours, as long as you wear this I will always be with you."  I immediately placed the necklace around my neck and it has been there ever since. The necklace is even more precious now because my dear Grammy died 10 years ago on Feb. 16th.  I hope someday to pass her gift of love on to my own granddaughter, along with the story of how I came to possess such a special piece of jewelry.  —Tammy, Indianapolis, Ind.

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I gave my now husband a diamond ring and told him that when he was ready to commit to a real relationship to put it on.  He still wears it today.  Sometimes role reversal can be quite romantic. —Anonymous

I've had several beautiful Valentine's Days. The best valentine I've ever received was made for me by my 8-year-old son Jimmy, I had a broken foot and was in a cast and on crutches. Jimmy and his older brother Van were doing their best to help me out at home. Jim's hand-made valentine had a drawing of a big brother, a little brother, and a mom with a cast on her foot, with a big heart drawn around them.  The caption said, "Happy Valentine's Day!  You are speshall to Van and me! I love you and Van (sometimes)."  Well, he was honest about loving his big brother! That valentine is pinned to the wall of my office.  I look at it every day and smile. —Liz Palmer, Folsom, Calif.

My husband tells everyone he first kissed me on Valentine's Day. We had met through a mutual friend and had only been introduced a week before. He had told our mutual friend that he was going to marry me. His friends thought he was crazy because we had never had a chance to talk. The night before Valentine's Day, we were both invited to a party by our mutual friend. We re-introduced ourselves again and this time talked the whole night. It was after midnight when I said I was going to go home. He asked if he could walk me to my car so we could continue our conversation. When we arrived at my car he gave me a kiss on my cheek. I was surprised and he said it was my Valentine's Day gift. He tells his friends it took him eight months to convince me to marry him. It was eight months after that kiss he asked me to marry him. We have been married for  years and he still reminds me every Valentine's Day that this was the day he first kissed me. —Jen Reith, South Bend

My Cinderella story came true the day I meet Ozzie.  He swept me off my feet just when I had lost all hope.  We got engaged over one year ago.  I can happily say that for this February 14,2005 Valentine’s Day, we are getting Married.  —Sandy, Palm Springs, Calif.

The best Valentine’s Day was when my soon-to-be husband finally made it into the country.  He's from London and we planned to get married in January.  The INS gave us incorrect information and his initial visa to enter the U.S. was denied.  After several agonizing months of paperwork, he finally landed in the country on Valentine's Day.  I'll never forget waiting in the international arrivals hall at Newark Airport and seeing him come down the ramp.  It was the best gift ever.  We were married in April after postponing the wedding three times.
Anonymous, Maplewood, N.J.

I vividly remember our first kiss in January 1965 as my (now) wife and I returned from our first official date— an early Valentine dinner. We were walking through a park in the city center which was covered in snow and still replete with Christmas decorations, when overcome by an urge, I attempted a peck on her cheek. (This was 1965 after all!)

She turned to me and said "if we are going to do this we are going to do it right" and flung her arms around my neck and planted a smooch on me I can sill feel.

I remember my heart racing, being buried in the fur collar of her winter coat, and the smell of her perfume — something called "Cassac" which has been off the market for years.

We must have done something right, because in the Fall of that year we became engaged and this summer will mark out 38th wedding anniversary.  —Small Town Romeo, Chatham, Ontario, Canada

"Romantic" to me was a cheap ($0.98) box of candy and a few flowers I might plucked off of sombodys lawn. At 39, I met a lady and something in me changed. At 40, on "V" day I dixed up my place with balloons stuck to the ceiling, with "I love you" and "Be mine" on them. I fashioned a bow out of a small sapling and a long workshoe lace, and an arrow out of a toilet [plunger.  With a big fluffy blonde wig, cardboard wings, and a G-string (I' m a 6'3" 250lb truckdriver) I waited for her to enter. She did. I rattled off a goofy poem I made up ending with "be mine" and shot her in the rear with the plunger. That was on February 14 in 1992. Today, we are happily married with two beautiful children.  I thank the Lord every day for the happiness she's given me. —Steve Gaichin, Newburgh N.Y.

My wife and I have been married for 26 years, and I used to buy her diamonds, candy, and flowers like everyone else. She always complained about them.  Finally, I told her I wasn't buying anymore gifts because I didn't know what she liked or wanted.  This is true of most men. We're not clairvoyant, and women's hints are too vague and easily misinterpreted. 

So how do you tell someone you love them more than anything in the world?  I found a way by mistake and for 15 years, it's made her happy and told her that I love her.

We live were snow and ice is common during the winter, and since we both work, she has to drive in these conditions.  I decided one night when we had a terrible freezing rain, followed by snow, to go where she worked and warm the car and clean the windshields before she had finished her shift.  I then followed her home to be sure she was safe.  She had such a smile on her face when she came out I couldn't help but decide I would continue to do this on these occasions. So for 15 years this is what I do to make her happy, when it snows or we have freezing rain, I get to show the lady I love how much I really do. —Anonymous,Grand Island, Neb.

I think my favorite Valentine so far has got to be one from my nephew Mason, who was probably 4 or 5 at the time.  The artwork features a fairly recognizable primate holding something yellow that might certainly be bananas.  The tagline simply says "Hey Monkey, I love you so much as the sky." There you go! Brevity and infinity in one sentence.  Try topping that at your local Hallmark store.  Only kindergarteners can do it. —George, Oxford, Miss.

This is the second Valentine's day my husband has been serving in Iraq. Valentine's Day consists of a few care packages filled with my husband's favorite candy (dark chocolate), a letter from me, and the always required baby wipes. Here, it feels just like another day— hoping for phone call, an e-mail, or even a letter in the mail from my husband. My story is not unique, it's how alot of us military spouses "celebrate" Valentine's Day. —Jeanine Ward-Morris, Hinesville, Ga.

My Valentine story begins with my boyfriend's mom's birthday party at a restaurant.  We were sitting in a booth with the rest of his family when the pastor of their church walked in for dinner.  My boyfriend pulled out a treasure chest from his coat and said "The pastor walked in for a reason today... you will always hold the key to my heart." He gave me the chest and once I unlocked it with the key, my engagement ring was inside. He said, "Will you marry me?" Everyone cried.  It was the perfect moment. —Karen King, New Castle

One Valentine's Day, I went to see "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray and bought myself two dozen half priced roses after the movie.  That was a great way to spend the holday, in my opinion. —Anonymous, Colo.

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