By Lariena Nokes

Valentines Day brings to mind a beautiful expanse of romance and sentimentally. Old ideas are fading away, but gifts for sweethearts remain fashionable.

In 1916 courtship was a ritualistic art practiced by single people looking to marry and start families. As we see in Valentines Day for 2016, the deck has been reshuffled.

Looking at love with young, hope-filled eyes will always be the best way to start a new relationship, but now the scope of that relationship is much more casual.

Respect will never fade with time, but now in an age of text messages and Facetime the limits of what is respectable have changed.

Friendships are celebrated on equal footing with romance for Valentine’s Day. A healthy relationship has a core friendship that the partners enjoy.

Tokens of affection still remain as a primary way for friends and those in love and friends alike.

Some people are graced with healthy relationships that strengthen and deepen over years and trials, while other couples are parted after unhealthy years together.

The lessons I have learned as my life has changed do merit review.

Every person needs to have deal-breakers. Set your own limits and honor them.

By knowing who you are, what you want, and what you need you can shut the door on potential mates who do not meet those needs – and draw in available partners who do.

If you ever hope to share a loving relationship with anyone you must first totally and completely love and adore yourself.

In this way you can bring yourself as a whole person to a new relationship.

You do not need anyone to complete you; no one needs you to complete her or him. A healthy relationship has two people who compliment each other.

If you are open to the idea that you might find love, anything is possible.

For those of you reading this who are enjoying the benefits of a healthy relationship, keep in mind that your partner’s needs might change as they mature and grow. This can keep the spark alive.

Gifts and tokens of love are wonderful ways to show those dear to us the private feelings we hold in our hearts.

Among my social group it was quickly agreed that not having a sweetheart is cheaper on Valentines Day, but if you do have someone to buy for consider that a privilege.

If you are buying for yourself – indulge. Send those flowers to your office, or buy that teddy bear, or gift yourself that package of chocolates.

Valentine’s Day is not a competition, so remember that love and joy can be celebrated without holding it up for measurement.

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