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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Now that the big day has passed, it's time to focus on the other 364 days.

I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief. You managed to survive the big pressure of the annual romance test that occurs every February 14th.

You searched the racks and selected just the right greeting card or perhaps even wrote your own. Maybe you expressed your devotion in a traditional manner with flowers or chocolates or perfume. Or instead you may have focused more on the time you shared together and came up with a fun and romantic date.

Congratulations. You made it. And now you can relax for another year. You are off the hook.

Except, actually, you aren't.

There are couples who completely forego the celebration of Valentines Day because they feel that it places an inappropriate emphasis on love and romance for a single day.

I get that.

However, I have a slightly different take. I say, why not go ahead celebrate the day of love, in your own way, but also don't be fooled into thinking that one day a year is all it takes.

The Other 364 Days

However you "performed" this Valentine's Day, or if you didn't observe the day at all, let me encourage you not to relax or relent in expressing your love and devotion to your wife.

Here's the truth: your wife needs a daily dose of your love. Really. Every. Single. Day.

The good news is that it doesn't take flowers or candy or perfume to show your wife the love and affection she desires. Of course there is nothing wrong with gifts, especially if that is her love language, but real romance, the best romance, happens amidst the daily reality of doing life together.

Romantically Challenged?

I hear husbands give the excuse that they just aren't romantically inclined. Actually, I hear more wives make that claim about their husbands. Either way, that excuse just doesn't work for me. Just like anything else you become skilled at, you can develop your romantic skills.

How, you ask?

Well, how do you go about developing your golf or tennis game? It starts with desire to play better. You study the game by watching what others do and reading up on tips and tricks. Ultimately, however, you improve your game the most by playing frequently. And if a round or match goes badly, you don't give up, you redouble your efforts.

It works the same way with your romance game.  Could you really expect to play any sport well by playing once a year. No way!

The Little Things

Let me take some pressure off of you. Continually romancing your wife doesn't mean always coming up with bigger and more extravagant expressions of love. In fact, let me encourage you by saying that the little things, done constantly and consistently, are much more important than big surprises done annually.

It's really about being aware and being intentional. The word I use is watchfulness. Being watchful means keeping your marriage off of autopilot. Watchfulness is a mindset. It doesn't actually require that much effort except inside your head. Once you begin to watch your wife and your marriage carefully, you'll see lots of opportunities to love on her in ways that don't actually require all the much effort.
I did a post a while back on the importance of continuing to pursue each other regardless of how long you've been married. Here are a few tips from that post to get you started thinking in the right direction.
  • Pay extra attention to your appearance. Shave your face again before bed or going out together or leave it scruffy it she prefers the rough look.
  • Dress up your wardrobe and pick things you know your wife likes. Ask her to pick your shirt for your next date.
  • Put a little extra planning and thought into your dates (heck, have dates in the first place!).
  • Wear cologne that is  your wife's preference, whether it is yours or not. Freshen it up before you hop into bed.
  • Write little notes, texts, or emails to let your wife know you are thinking of her. Make it sweet or sexy as your wife would like.
  • Next time you are in a store for something else, pick up a little treat, snack or other surprise that you know your wife likes. Tell her, “I saw this and thought of you.” Even better, “I was thinking of you, so when I saw this I just had to get it for you.”
  • Let your hello or goodbye kiss linger another 10 or 20 seconds longer than it would normally. Hold her tight while you kiss.
  • When your wife is across the house or outside somewhere, when you are both in the middle of doing something else, go find her, give her a deep, luscious kiss, and walk away without a word. If she asks why, just say, “I just needed that.”
  • Draw your wife a bath, pour her a glass of wine and light some candles by the tub. Lead her to the bath, give her a kiss and say, "relax and enjoy while I put the kids to bed."  Surprise her by not pressuring her for sex, so she knows you did it just for her.
You'll note that most of the things on my list don't take much work. The hard part is remembering to do them! Until you get in the habit, it can be helpful to put little love expressions right in your planner. It's not cheating if it helps you stay watchful! 

The other part of watchfulness is to see which love expressions seem to mean the most to your wife. Every woman is different. And truth be told, the things she loved last year (or even last month) might not mean as much this year. That's why I say it's important to be a student of your wife.  Study her!

Okay, here's where you can help your fellow readers. Do you have some additional suggestions for little ways to love and romance your wife all year long? We'd all love to hear them, so leave a comment!


Keith Moore said...

As was said by another, we should make Valentine's irrelevant by loving well the rest of the year. My wife is a "words of affirmation" person so a daily ecard is now a part of expressing that.

J'individual liberty said...

Don't really feel the need to do some major thing for Valentine's Day. I am extremely attentive all year round. I save big things for Anniversaries.

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