By Emily Belnap, Director of Wife for Life University Admissions and Administration.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned well from practicing Wife for Life, it’s that women have tremendous power––in our homes, in our families, in our relationships, and even for Valentine’s Day!

Years ago, I was talking to a dear “sister” friend of mine about the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. My husband was in school, working two part-time jobs, we had a newborn and a toddler, and our budget was very tight. How could we possibly celebrate? My wise, fun, creative friend, on whom I so often relied for dilemmas such as these, encouraged me to plan a special Valentine’s Day for my husband. She told me that in her large family of several sisters, most all of them married adults, that was their tradition. She and her sisters were powerful women, clever enough to discern that their men were busy with their quests and other pursuits outside the home, and that they—the wives–were the ones who held the power to create the Valentine’s Day of their dreams. My friend told me that, of course, all the husbands LOVE this tradition, especially because it means not having to stress about the day themselves, or even worse, make the mistake of forgetting it entirely.

Since this whole idea was all new to me, my friend gave me an abundance of suggestions including games, special dinners, and decorations that she and her sisters had created in the past to make Valentine’s Day a special day for their men. Even on low budgets and with crazy schedules, they’d found a way to make their husband’s day extraordinary.

So, I tried it. With my friend’s recent encouragement on my heart, I asked my husband if he would relinquish Valentine’s Day to me. From then on, I told him, I would plan it for him, so he didn’t have to be one of the masses of men staring blankly at flowers and chocolates wondering what the “right” gift really was each year. I also didn’t want him to ever feel he had to spend a lot of money on me just because it was Valentine’s Day. He easily agreed, and the ground for a new tradition was laid.

I remember that year vividly still. I “banished” him from the house until a certain hour when he was permitted to return home from school that evening. (I had to wait for the kids to go to sleep and then have time to set everything up, and I can’t tell you how I prayed my newborn would stay asleep!) In no time, I transformed our tiny apartment living room into a magical place. When my happy husband arrived home, greatly anticipating what would await him, he found the magical room created just for him! We enjoyed an entire evening of fun, refreshment, and reconnection. Of course, he was ‘sold’ on the idea and suggested we do it every year!

At this point, some of you may be arguing (and justifiably so), “Wait! Shouldn’t men take the reins on this one??! After all, it’s only one day of the year. Surely they can manage that!” I totally agree with that sentiment too, and if that works for you, then terrific! No doubt some women have wonderful Valentine’s planned by a man who loves to romance.

I, personally, found that I actually enjoyed taking the reins each year, and that I relished utilizing my creative powers as a woman to craft some fabulous fun for my husband and me. Over and over I’m challenged to think of something unique, just for him, and I am always filled with excitement and anticipation as I secretly stow away small tokens and surprises days or even weeks ahead of time. I even try to vary my approach—some years I plan a gift, some years an outing, and some years a whole evening—whatever I can swing based on our current circumstances and budget. It’s all the forethought, anticipation, and creativity that make it a special mission for me.

In return, my husband always plans a surprise for me on the anniversary of our first date, which just happens to fall two days after Valentine’s Day. (That’s probably another reason why I don’t feel cheated or resentful that I am making all the plans for V-Day.) But, truthfully, I just like doing it this way!

Even more than that, I derive a great deal of joy from employing my innate qualities as creator, nurturer, and keeper of my home and family on Valentine’s Day. Using these talents and skills in behalf of my husband fills my heart with more love, appreciation and admiration for him at this “lovey-dovey” time of year. In my book, the joy I get from making this day memorable for him far surpasses the fleeting pleasure of fading flowers or quickly-consumed chocolates!

Emily is a homemaking, homeschooling mother of 3 wonderful children. She enjoys reading, singing, blogging, allergy-friendly cooking, book club, crisp fall days, church, and chatting with friends—most especially her best friend and husband, Andy. Emily believes in life-long learning, self-improvement, and a close-knit family.