By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

With another year of Valentine’s Day here, I am thrilled to know that I will be showered with a little extra love while also getting to celebrate the birthday of my significant other, Nathaniel. With these in mind, others can only imagine the extra planning that had to go into previous Valentine’s Day dates, but we found a solution.

Having been in a relationship with my boyfriend Nathaniel for the past six years, our Valentine’s Day plans throughout the years have just gotten simpler. After realizing that we can still celebrate this special occasion without having to go overboard, here is a list of ideas that other long-term couples can adopt to make this day different from their very first Valentine’s Day.

Go for burgers
Eating out at a fancy restaurant with dim lighting to enhance the romantic mood while talking over overly priced meals has probably happened a few times already, so why do it again? Change up the date plans, put your foot down, and tell your significant other, “Let’s do lunch and get burgers.”

Going to Teddy’s Bigger Burgers for our burger fix is, hands down, our favorite place. Getting to eat a messy, customized burger with your significant other while listening to the best hits of the 70s and 80s blare over the speakers is an ideal lunch date for Valentine’s Day. To top it off, dessert is easily available since Teddy’s sells shakes.

Have dinner at a restaurant but treat each other
Since throwing out the idea of doing dinner somewhere nice may be an uncomfortable change, it is still fine to continue with this tradition. But, instead of expecting that you or your significant other will have to pick up the entire bill, split the check in half or pick up the tab as a way to treat the meal.

This is a trick my boyfriend and I have been doing for years now just because having one person take care of the whole check can be quite a financial burden at times. By treating each other to dinner, there is a different level of appreciation that we feel, knowing that putting down some money on the table was all it took to make sure that both our bodies were nourished.

Roses and chocolates are still a must … but downsize
I think back to my first Valentine’s Day that I celebrated and remember the excitement and happiness I felt after receiving my first bouquet of a dozen roses and heart-shaped chocolate box that was the size of my head. Of course, I expected and hoped that I would get them again the following year, but after some time I made it clear to Nathaniel that he could just keep it simple.

He did so, presenting me with a small box of chocolates and a single rose; I absolutely adored it. In my eyes, all it takes is just one rose to be reminded of the love that he still has for me. Even if 10 years from now he decided to still do this, the simplicity in just receiving that rose would mean the world to me.

Stay indoors and reminisce
Whether you both just returned home after a filling lunch date or are waiting for the time to get closer for dinner, a great time killer would just be to relax, open up your gallery on your phone or laptop and look back on all the joyous times and memories that were created. It would only seem natural for long-term couples to have a bunch of photos and videos saved up, so take a trip down memory lane to browse through them together.

Since I have taken every opportunity to capture moments of us, I have a ton of pictures and videos saved on my laptop. Any of those pictures can start up a conversation instantly, such as looking at the first photo we took when we went on a double date in Waikīkī in 2012, a time when I was still new to the outdoors and ate a cup of frozen yogurt from Yogurtland for the first time. Looking through pictures of the past together can reignite that joy and even remind those of the reason they got together.

Simply spend time together
It’s incredibly important to make at least some time for your significant other on Valentine’s Day. Of course, factors such as work or living in another state or country can hinder that in-person quality time, but the advancement of technology allows us to make that one phone call or video chat to at least tell our partner or spouse “Happy Valentine’s Day, I love you.”

In 2016, Nathaniel and I were faced with this situation in which we were unable to spend Valentine’s Day together because he was away for Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for the Army. As dreadful as that day was to know that we were miles apart, he still made the attempt and called just to hold a short conversation with me. Small gestures like so can go a long way, carrying a new meaning for those who may just need to hear the significant other’s voice.