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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You may be trying to ignore it, but doing so won’t make it go away.

I’m talking about Valentine’s Day, that annual romantic holiday that so many men often find daunting and completely intimidating. We are exactly four weeks away today, so there’s still plenty of time to plan how you are going to delight your spouse this year. And to me, that’s what Valentine’s Day is really all about – delighting my wife with my love and taking delight in hers.

In keeping with my promise to do more Romantic Idea posts this year, I’m going to try to help you take the fear factor out of this Valentine’s Day by giving you a bunch of sure-to-please romantic ways to celebrate this important day. (If you don’t happen to observe this particular holiday, then these ideas can be adapted to fit birthdays and anniversaries just as well.)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be offering a series of romantic Valentine’s Day ideas. These are all things that my wife and I have done ourselves, so they are test-driven, so to speak. Importantly, they can all be scaled to be more or less involved and all can be adapted to suit the particular desires of your own spouse. That's REALLY important.

Although I’m going to write these as if it is the husband doing the planning, these can also be turned around and be given by the wife.

So on with Romantic Valentine’s Day idea number one.

One Hundred Things

You’ve probably seen on various blogs the “100 Things About Me” lists. It’s intended to provide a snapshot of who you are using a simple bullet list of random facts. This romantic idea is a variation on the 100 things notion: “100 Things I Love About You.”

Now if 100 seems like too large a number, use 50 or 25 or even 10. The important thing, regardless of the number you choose, is that you convey your heart to your wife. These don’t have to be “big” things. In fact they shouldn’t be. One of the reasons I liked using a larger number is because it let me include a lot of random little things that otherwise might not ever get mentioned or noticed, things she might not even be aware that I admire about her.

Start by brainstorming. Don’t try to organize it or filter your list yet, just dump it all down in a jumble. Think of every little thing about your wife that you love: things she does for you, physical attributes, things you do together, spiritual things, her personality, her gifts and talents, cute things she says, idiosyncrasies, and habits that make you smile. You get the idea. Nothing should be off limits if it’s something you admire. If your wife is sure not to see it, keep the list in your wallet or on your phone so you can jot more things down as you think of them.

Get Creative

The fun part of this gift is coming up with ways to spread the presentation of the 100 things (or however many) out over the entire day. The idea is that everywhere she turns, all day long, she is coming face-to-face with your love. Not just love in a general sense, but specific reasons why she means so much to you.

If you have the budget, you can also include some of the items with small gifts that represent the particular thing you love. The gifts shouldn’t be the central thing, however, or distract from the main message of “I love you and here is why.”

Some Specific Ideas

Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave everything up to your imagination. To spur your creative juices, below you’ll find an excerpt from my own list of things I love about Jenni.
  • I started things out in the morning with a card explaining the 100 things idea. You don’t have to. In some ways it might be more fun just to let it unfold and keep her guessing what this is all about.
  • Messages on heart-shaped post-it notes were stuck to her bathroom mirror to greet her in the morning. “Watching you sleep.”  “Your beautiful brown eyes”  “How you look so great with or without make-up”
  • Note attached to a bottle of perfume left on her sink for her to find as she stepped out of the shower. “The way you always smell soooo good.”
  • Left in her car: a cheap little drug-store stuffed velvet heart that said “You still melt my heart” along with a note that said, “the way your smile still melts me.”
  • I burned a CD with a recording of my voice, which was left in her car. When she started her car the recording announced items 28-34, including “The way you believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself” and “Your excitement and encouragement when I play you a song I’ve just written.” You could also use your cell-phone voice-memo recorder for this.
  • At her work, a kindergarten classroom, I had snuck in ahead of her and filled the room with a dozen or so things from the list. This included a framed picture of Jenni with her kids that said, “your amazing gift with children,” and balloons with notes written in sharpie marker, including one saying “the way your hand feels in mine.”
  • Several printable magnets were stuck to our refrigerator.  One contained a picture of her with her friends in England said, “That you are such a good friend.” It’s actually still on our fridge. You can buy a sheet and cut it down or use pre-cut ones.
  • After lunch she found a note stuck to an old Gene Kelly movie I bought that said, “Enjoying you enjoying old movies.”
  • Notes pinned to an outfit I bought for her to wear to dinner (or you can just pick something you particularly like her in from her wardrobe). Let’s just say the notes mentioned some of my wife’s favorite physical attributes.
  • A text message saying “When you fall asleep with your head on me.”
  • As things got closer to bedtime, I got a little more explicit with my list. The tamest of which was a note by a lit candle that said, “Making love by candlelight.”
  • Okay, time to stop. You get the notion. I’ve left off all of the ones that were beyond PG-13, but you’ll have to use your own imagination for those. Sorry.
  • Finally, as a “bonus” I left number 101 for her to find the next morning. It was a little 3x5 frame with a printed note that simply said: “I love that you are mine. I’m the luckiest man alive.”

Advertise Your Love

If your wife wouldn’t be offended by you proclaiming your love in a public way, use Facebook or Twitter to announce some or all of the items from your list – at least all those fit for public consumption. If you can sneak a few in at her place of work or school, it will let her know you are proud that she is yours. And it will make all her coworkers madly jealous! Depending on her plans for the day, you can possibly engage her friends to help too. Ditto on the jealousy thing.

Have Fun

Of course this kind of thing does take a little more planning than does a box of chocolates or a vase of flowers, but it will pay huge dividends in your relationship. Speaking your love out loud all day like this is a great way to build intimacy and for your wife to feel cherished. If she is like most women, this is something she really craves and one of her biggest needs.

Despite the extra effort, it’s important to have fun with this. If your wife sees that you are really getting a kick out of doing it and enjoying yourself, she is more likely to receive your lavish love more graciously and to have fun herself.

Finally, don’t get caught up too much in the execution, and don’t worry if some of the surprises don’t work out exactly as planned. If your list is long and things are presented in a bunch of different and creative ways, some of them aren’t going to come off as you hoped. No big deal.

Remember to keep the main thing the main thing. You want your wife to feel overwhelmed with your love.

Check out these other Vday Anxiety Cure Posts:

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Anonymous said...

This was an awesome idea, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your ideas and will use some of them for sure!! Thanks!

Scott said...

Thanks for commenting! I'll be offering a bunch more ideas in the coming weeks.

Heather said...

This is an awesome idea and I would absolutely love it if my husband did something like this for me. Now, of course, that doesn't mean that I can't do something similar for him. But, as a wife, this is something I would enjoy experiencing.

So, how do I get him to come across this post...

Scott said...

Thanks, Heather. I think most women would enjoy being cherished like this. And of course it works for husbands as well!

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