February 14 is Valentine’s Day in the United States, a special time set aside for lovers and spouses to say, "I love you," often with flowers, chocolates and a romantic meal. And while love is universal, just what makes any one of us of feel cherished can be highly personal.
Even in the icy depths of a New York winter, love continues to burn hot and glow deep for China and Freddy, who are at the Marriage Bureau waiting to get the license to say, "I do."
"He makes me feel like a princess all the time," says China with a grin. "He is the boy of my dreams."
Freddy looks into China’s eyes. "She is my best friend, my psychiatrist and my lover, all in one. I can talk to her about anything."
A young man named Leon says he feels loved when he and his wife can remain respectful even when they disagree. "She won’t leave during an argument, or on bad terms. We always work it out. She sticks with me through thick and thin."
Aarwin and Geneva feel they complement each other.
Geneva is attracted by her fiancé’s character. "He’s just very patient with me, and that’s what I’m really grateful for. I can be really ‘Type A’ [driven] personality. I think I picked the right person to marry."
For his part, Aarwin appreciates Geneva’s acts of kindness. "It kind of makes me a little more caring, making me more thoughtful about people."
Aarwin adds that the little things also make a big difference. "I don’t know how to iron that well and so every morning, even though she could be late for work, she takes her time and irons the shirts for me." Aarwin gets special pleasure from the fact that the shirt is still warm when he puts it on.
Hasson and Nicole show off their wedding rings.
For Hasson and Nicole, it’s also everyday kindness that makes them feel warmest. "She cooks for me, she feeds my dogs when I’m not there, and she knows how to pick my clothes better than I do." He laces his hand in hers. "It’s an assortment of things."
It is the train ride into the city today that is uppermost in Nicole’s mind. "I was tired and I was laying my head on his shoulder, and all of a sudden he just came over kissed me on my lips. That was sweet. He’s always caring. He’s there for the kids. He makes me feel appreciated. He always tells me, ‘Thank you, baby.’"
Tyrene's fiancé, Calien (left), does special things that can make any day feel like Valentine’s Day.
Tyrene's fiancé, Calien, does things that can make any day feel like Valentine’s Day. "He buys me flowers randomly and he gives me foot massages."
Calien says she often returns the gesture, giving him neck rubs, along with a nice warm dinner when he comes home tired.
A combination of nurturing and good-natured teasing keeps Ty and Elena in the love game.
"He brings me coffee in the morning to my bed," Elena says. "I wake up with his kisses and the coffee." She also likes to imitate him when he’s impatient.
"She does a fantastic job," admits Ty with a laugh, adding with a happy shrug, "She makes me feel young at heart, and I’m just in love with her."
Just married! Ty and Elena kiss minutes after saying their vows. He is holding their wedding license.
For Magnus and Monica, who are visiting New York from Denmark, love shines bright when the heart feels heavy. "Sometimes if I feel a bit sad, Magnus will come into the room and put on a special song and does a little dance and a little mime. That really makes me happy always”"
Magnus says that Monica also cheers him with little dances, but she also employs other powerfully effective - if less athletic – methods. "Every time she just looks at me with her big beautiful eyes and I am just like in heaven."
Heartfelt kisses ensue.