You may be able to ignore Valentine’s Day as a singleton, but if you’re in a relationship, whether you’re happily married, have been co-habiting blissfully for decades or are in the heady throes of a fledgling romance, 14 February cannot go unmarked.

Like it or not, it’s the day we are commanded to be lovey-dovey, and there can be no skimping on special treats, even if you don’t have yourself down as the sensitive or romantic type. Don’t even think about conveniently ‘forgetting’ the date, or announcing that you are off to spend it with your mates.

And, by the way, even if your other half airily insists that they are “not bothered” about the Feast of Saint Valentine, don’t be fooled. This is the one day of the year you ignore at your peril, unless you fancy returning home to a frosty silence or a recreation of a scene from The War of the Roses.

Sure, the whole thing can seem artificial, contrived, over-commercialised, over-hyped and over-priced, not to mention more than a little random. After all, what’s so special about 14 February as opposed to, say, the day after or before? Unlike a birthday or anniversary, it’s not a date with which many feel a strong personal connection. (Unless, of course, it really is your birthday or anniversary.)

The origins of Valentine’s are muddled, but the celebration is thought to date back to the Roman era, and it’s also the time when birds pair up before the spring – tying in nicely with Mother Nature and the new beginnings that spring brings about.

Even if you do ignore Valentine’s Day, insisting that you don’t need to be told when to show your love for your other half, all you are really doing is becoming another cliché – in the same way that teenagers often ‘rebel’ in identical fashion.

Given that you can’t fight it or cancel it (although last year Uzbekistan had an almost impressively good try), the best policy is to embrace the event and use it to show your partner what they mean to you.

So why not make 2013 a truly special occasion? Use the element of surprise by reducing expectations before delighting your other half with something wonderful. For example, rather than just having dinner, Valentine’s breaks are a great way of spending quality time and relaxing together, while appreciating each other’s company away from all the usual distractions.

And the memories and will linger much longer than a bunch of roses.