5 Romantic Gestures They'll Never Forget, Relationship Experts Say
You don't need to spend a lot of money to create long-lasting memories.
Valentine's Day just passed, and you might have pulled out all the stops to make your partner feel special. However, keeping your relationship happy and healthy requires effort throughout the year—not just on one designated day. We've all heard of grand romantic gestures, but experts say it really is the thought that counts when it comes to memorable moments. And while everyone has different ideas of what's "romantic," there are certain gestures that no partner could forget.
"Romance is creating an experience you uniquely tailored for your partner," Kat Nieh, dating clarity coach, tells Best Life. "Romance is the two of you building a stronger and deeper emotional connection and bond—make your partner feel special by being fully present and making them feel safe, seen, heard, and understood."
Nieh adds that appealing to your partner's love language is important, whether they lean toward words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, or quality time. "You make it memorable by doing something that evokes a deep emotional response within their heart," she explains. "Often, the biggest impact is doing something that shows you are paying attention to your partner's wants and needs."
With that in mind, Nieh recommends thinking back on anything your partner has said they want, or things you've done in the past that have made your partner happy. If an idea doesn't immediately spring to mind, we've consulted relationship experts for some universal and timeless romantic gestures you can make.
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Write them a love letter.
A love letter is an old-fashioned and affordable way to let your partner know they're loved and appreciated—and it's something that they can hold onto.
"A heartfelt, handwritten letter can be kept forever and reread whenever they need to feel loved," Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, and CEO of The Heights Treatment says. "Writing someone a special piece of poetry or prose is an incredibly romantic gesture because it shows them how deeply you care about them and that you value your relationship enough to take the time and effort to craft a special piece of writing just for them."
If you don't want to write an entire letter, you can instead write out a list of reasons you love them, Beth Ribarsky, PhD, who teaches interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois Springfield, says.
"Too often in our everyday lives, we don't take the time to truly communicate not only that we care about our romantic partners but more importantly why we love them," she shares. "This simple gesture is a great way to make sure your partner knows that you're always thinking of them and that you're a vital part of their lives. It's also a good check-in for yourself to remind you why you fell in love in the first place."
Even better: Slip the letter into their pocket or purse without telling them. "This can be very romantic and special because of the unexpected element of finding it and the message it holds," Janell O'Leary, head dating coach and founder of Elite Dating Managers, says.
Help them check an item off of their bucket list.
Bucket list goals often require planning, time, and effort to accomplish. So, if you're able to help your partner do something they've always wanted to do but haven't yet had the chance to, they won't be quick to forget it.
Booking that month-long backpacking trip through Europe is wonderful, if you have the resources, but experts say that checking anything off their grand to-do list will be welcome.
"Everyone's bucket lists vary greatly from one another's, and finances don't always allow for tackling those adventures," Ribarsky says. "However, helping fulfill even the small bucket-list items shows you not only listened to their dreams and aspirations, but also want to help them live their best life."
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Plan a trip.
Speaking of trips, planning a memorable vacation is another romantic gesture that won't soon be forgotten.
"Planning a trip is an investment in the other person and in your time together," Randi Levin, transitional life strategist and founder of Randi Levin Coaching, says. "It also sheds light on what is important to each of you and permits you both to create memories every step of the way. The entire travel process is a revealing and deeply intimate one that focuses on compromise and serendipity."
Levin says you can also involve your partner in the planning process, and use the experience as a way to learn even more about each other. "These memories are only true for you and your significant other, and [they] illuminate and grow your relationship in a meaningful and revealing way."
No time to schedule that getaway? O'Leary suggests reminiscing about a previous adventure.
"A romantic gesture I love to recommend to couples is to recreate a great vacation you had together at home," she says. "This reminds the other person of the time the couple spent away, often when the relationship was newer and reminds them of all the excitement and love they felt. This can be recreated at home through music, food and wine, and some really fun props."
Create a memorable meal.
Food is a necessity, but it's also a way for people—especially couples—to come together. Sharing a romantic meal at a nice restaurant is certainly enjoyable, but taking the time to plan a meal out yourself truly shows how much you care.
"Cooking together or having a meal created for you is one of the most intimate moments in which you can engage the senses and share in an experience," Levin says. "Everyone has to eat, yet taking the time to customize a menu and create something with or for someone is heartfelt and bonding."
She adds that there's also "something so sexy" about the effort required to create a memorable meal, so definitely consider this option if you're looking to reignite the spark. "This is especially true if the food presented is based on new experiences, shared likes, or the culmination of previous conversations," Levin says.
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Give them a thoughtful gift.
Obviously, if your partner's love language is gifts, they'll appreciate you picking something out just for them. But you might be surprised to learn how much your partner appreciates a gift, even if they usually prefer kinds words or a big hug.
"Giving your partner a meaningful and thoughtful present is another great gesture," Kalley Hartman, LMFT, clinical director at Ocean Recovery in Newport Beach, California, says. "This could be anything from jewelry with sentimental value, tickets to an event they wanted to see, or something that reminds them of you."