In college, my best friend and I always called it Singles Awareness Day, laughing at how hard it was to watch happy couples floating around on clouds of chocolate, balloons, and roses every year. How could we have known how boring red roses can get after a few years of true love? If you’re tired of the same old thing, here are a few ideas to make Valentine’s Day fun and romantic again.
Husbands—Preparation Shows Love
It’s sad but true: Valentine’s Day was, in fact, invented by a greeting card company so they could sell more stuff, and it’s easy to feel cynical and get in the habit of jumping through hoops just so your wife won’t feel sad or neglected. But instead of sighing over how the price of flowers and movie tickets go up every year, ask yourself: Why do you celebrate Valentine’s Day at all? You’re not trying to stay out of the doghouse—you’re trying to have fun with your favorite person and strengthen your relationship with her.
Get proactive about your gifts and the date you plan. Your wife will feel treasured when you put in advance time and planning to do something special, and you’ll be surprised how much more fun it is than just following your February 14 formula. Talk to her about what she would like, and then be creative.
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The basic concept behind a great gift or date is to remember great memories together or to make new memories, Gabby Turner from The Dating Divas explains. Did you share a special night under the stars? Go to thenightsky.com and order a print of that night, from that location. If you met at a Jazz game, surprise her with tickets. Get a hood ornament from the make and model of your car that died on the honeymoon, and turn it into a key ring. Organize old photos of your dating years into a scrapbook. Frame your wedding certificate. Take her to the temple for sealings and then to her favorite restaurant.
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“Some of our most popular things are the Year of Dates Kit . . . and Love Letter of the Month prompts,” Turner says of her website, which focuses on making fun dating easy for married couples. These gifts keep giving all year long as they help you have fun together and strengthen the relationship. A coupon book is another great option for the woman who has it all.
Still stumped? There’s no shame in doing a little research! A half hour of searching and a half hour of preparation will avail you of some of the most fun you’ve ever had together. Remember, advance planning is where most guys fumble. Don’t become a statistic.
Wives—Take the Pressure Off
If you’ve never been disappointed on Valentine’s Day, I don't believe you exist. This year, give your husband (and yourself) the gift of a carefree night together by communicating clearly and helping with planning.
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You may think you’re communicating clearly when you say, “Whatever you think will be fine,” but this is the stuff husbands’ nightmares are made of. If you really do love a dozen red roses, tell him so. If you’d love for him to put his woodworking skills to work, tell him exactly what you’d like him to make. Husbands hate hints as much as they hate the cold shoulder on February 15, so cut the guy some slack and say exactly what you mean.
You’ve likely seen more romantic comedies than your husband would care to count. Be careful not to try and fit him into that heart-shaped box.
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If it’s your turn to plan the date this year, ditch the dinner reservations and surprise your husband with something more up his alley. “What constitutes a good gift or a good time depends on love language and family of origin traditions," says Mark Clayton, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in marriage and family counseling. "You want to try and think outside of your box but inside of your spouse’s box.”
A beautifully crafted, themed date complete with color-coordinated gift wrapping and décor may be what you’d hope he’d do for you—but he’s hoping you’ll plan a fun game for the bedroom instead. Again, there are a million resources online ranging from super easy to more adventurous. Shake it up and make it fun for both of you.
Couples—Celebrate Your Way
Remember, Valentine’s Day is all about connecting with the one you love, so ditch the Hollywood version and infuse it with all the fun and personality you share as a couple. You might find it’s your favorite holiday after all.
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Watch below: Adorable Couples Share 125+ Years of Marriage Advice in 3 Minutes