Extra Extra — 22 January 2013
Valentine’s Day: a holiday of stress and fear?

Valentine’s Day could very well be one of the most stressful holidays of the year for couples.

One is trying to pick out the perfect gift, the perfect restaurant or the perfect flowers, and one’s choice of gift could be easily judged as the degree of “love” for that special someone.

On the flip side, there are how-to websites giving advice on how to tactfully break up on Valentine’s day. A New York Post reporter called the season which begins around Christmas and ends the day after Valentine’s Day the “National Breakup Season.”

Regardless of breakups or confessing vows of love, an article in DailyInfoGraphic.com says $448 million were spent last year on candies alone before Feb 14; 58 million pounds of chocolate candy were bought and 36 million heart-shaped chocolate boxes sold. Americans spent $8.6 million on sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day, making it the bubbliest occasion after New Year’s, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Since this is such a celebrated holiday, the million-dollar question remains: do relationships in America last longer?

“Many singles spend time and money going on dates and statistics show, after a year to a few years, a breakup is inevitable. In fact, this mentality of wanting to make sure the person is the right one is shortening the lifespan of relationships and ultimately marriages,” said marriage expert Hellen Chen, who is known as an unorthodox matchmaker, especially helping singles who had thrown in the towel on relationships to heal and enter into a stable marriage.

Chen is also an author of 20 books and her signature book “The Matchmaker of the Century” which covers real-life stories of individuals and couples who went through hard times and how they turned around in their relationships, became the Number One bestselling Marriage and Relationship book on Barnes and Noble.

When asked about what couples need to do to keep up the romance in their relationships, Chen said in an iHeart radio interview, “It’s fine to celebrate occasions like anniversaries or Valentine’s Days or go on vacations. But what is more important is the daily things we do.”

“Instead of worrying about the gift you have to give to your better half, why not think of how you could be a better woman or man on a daily basis? For ladies, could you be cuter? For men, could you learn to express your love in more words?” Chen said.

To increase marriage education and help couples to marry and to stay married, Chen started an international “Love You Forever” movement.

In an interview at a Los Angeles TV show, Chen announced her goal of personally marrying off 30 couples this year and she will be delivering workshops in Los Angeles and other cities to singles and couples who are tired of the frequent breakups and who want a permanent relationship.

Chen said, “We have been taught to walk away from problems. If you don’t like a job, quit. If you don’t like your parent, stop talking to them. If you don’t like your spouse, divorce. Thus this movement encourages people to take a different attitude in their relationships. Instead of saying, ‘Who cares? I can always find a better one,’ why not say, ‘How could I make it work?’”

Chen is lovingly called the “Matchmaker of the Century” by the couples she has helped as she counseled men and women who had lost hope in affairs of the heart to find and keep a stable happy relationship again.

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