You may already be familiar with the theories author Gary Chapman outlined in his 1992 book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

Chapman identifies the five general ways he believes romantic partners express and experience love, which he calls “love languages.” They are acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation.

Here are a few love-ly thoughts from two locals on how they express their feelings for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

Not surprisingly, gift-giving (including food!) came in on top as one of the most popular expressions of love on Feb. 14.

Tricia Nameth-Rich and her husband, Matthew, have been together since they were juniors in high school. Above, they repeat their 1993 pose (left) for a 2017 photo. Credit: Tricia Nameth-Rich

Tricia Nameth-Rich and her husband Matthew Rich celebrate Valentine’s with a dinner out.

“This year I am excited to eat mussels and drink beer at Hopleaf with my love,” Nameth-Rich said via email. 

“Matthew and I have been together since we were juniors in high school – I think it is going on 31 years now! I think at this stage in our relationship, we are starting to plan to be empty nesters. As our kids are getting more independent, we are trying to develop some new hobbies together.

“We joined a running club and recently learned how to play Pickleball and cross-country ski (not at the same time though)!” 

Meg Evans has long treated Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to share love with everyone she loves and cares about, whether or not she was dating (or now, married to) someone.  

“When I was single, I always got excited to decorate my apartment with hearts and old-fashioned Victorian valentines that I’d purchased with my mom at an antique shop a long time ago,” Evans recalled in an email.

Meg Evans likes to make heart-shaped desserts for Valentine’s Day for friends, co-workers and her son. The day “should be for everyone, not just lovers,” she says. Credit: Meg Evans

”I’ve traditionally made heart-shaped brownies, cookies or cakes and shared them with friends and co-workers, and I *always* buy a little box of candy conversation hearts to crunch on.” 

As a single mom, Evans says she always made a special dinner for herself and her son – with heart-shaped dessert – and to this day, she still sends him a Valentine’s Day card every year.

“I have a box of Valentine’s decorations that I’ve made and bought over the years, which I tuck around the house to remind us that it’s February, it’s Valentine’s Day, and we’re getting closer and closer to spring (even in frigid temps with snow on the ground!). 

“So, my two cents about Valentine’s Day is that it should be for everyone, not just lovers.”

V-Day gift giving

As they say, “love don’t come cheap.” The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics predict customers will spend an average of $192.80 for Valentine’s Day in 2023.

That means consumers overall are expected to spend $25.9 billion (that’s billion, with a “B”) on Valentine’s Day this year, up from $23.9 billion in 2022, which was one of the highest spending years on record. 

And of course, Evanston retailers have come up with some fun ideas to help you spend some of that money on your favorite people.

  • The Main/Dempster Mile has created a one-stop site for all things Valentine’s including Botanica CBD, which is offering 20% off edibles and drinks with red and pink packaging through Feb. 14 and 20% off all chocolates. 
  • Our Evanston has teamed up with Blackbird Goods and is offering a sweetheart candle with notes of champagne, oak and white musk for $26 each. (E-mail to order for free delivery to your Evanston address.)
  • The Crowded Closet will host the YWCA Crowded Closet Valentine’s Day Jewelry Event on Saturday, Feb. 11 with cookies, chocolates and a new jewelry showcase.
  • Stumble & Relish is selling “love from your town” greeting cards featuring Evanston, Skevanston, Skokie and Rogers Park. 
  • Beth’s Little Bake Shop is taking orders for Valentine’s-themed treats for Friday, Feb. 10; Saturday, Feb. 11; and Tuesday Feb. 14, including a valentine macaron assortment, passionfruit pavlova and red velvet heart cake.
  • And finally, The Alchemist’s Wife offers a variety of rose-infused skin care products, including a rosewater cream and an organic rosewater face toner. 

If you know of other local Valentine’s deals, feel free to mention those in the comments below and share the love.

Belinda Lichty Clarke

Belinda Lichty Clarke works as the alumni engagement director at Medill at Northwestern and is a freelance writer. After graduating with a master’s from Medill in 1994, Belinda worked in public relations,...

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