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For most of the world today is that wonderful Hallmark holiday, “Valentine’s Day”. When couples pretend not to care, but secretly hope that their other half will cave to semi-tradition and deliver a present or two, followed by a nice dinner and then possibly a bit of snuggly nocturnal fun. Here in China, the shops don’t miss a trick to earn a little more cash so it’s noted that people ought to buy stuff too.

Zhang Min, my wife and valentine on our wedding day in Chengdu.

But it’s not really Valentine ’s Day, that comes later on in the year, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar (so it moves around a bit). This is the “Qixi” festival which translates as “night of the sevens”. The Chinese also have another day which acts as a Valentine’s festival too, which was earlier this month at “the festival of lanterns)” but that only applies to single people, so no fuss is expected in married couples.

This is good news for me, because I’ve been struggling recently when a major client ran away without paying his bills. So I’ve got a few months to make back the difference and take the wife somewhere nice on a day that actually means something in her culture.

However today, I’d just like to point out that Zhang Min is a truly amazing woman and it doesn’t matter that we won’t be exchanging cards, and that I won’t be told off for buying flowers (last time I made this mistake I got a two hour lecture on what a waste of money they are as they only die). And that’s because it all goes much deeper than that.

And here she is again, having a good time in Hong Kong when I first moved to China.

When I first got married I never thought it would change me, but to my surprise it has. It’s not like being in a live in or long-term dating relationship, somehow it’s mellowed me – I’ve grown up a bit, found that I’m really committed to making her happy (and not just paying lip service to the idea – for which I probably owe a few of my exes apologies) and I’ve found that it’s not the frills round the edges that matter but the heart of the one you love.

So today I’d like to pay tribute, to my wife Zhang Min. She’s the only person in the world crazy enough to put up with me. But I’d like to point out that I love her every day, and not just on special occasions.