Material gifts are great, but if you’ve been with your girlfriend, fiancée, or wife for several years, you’ve probably already gotten her flowers, chocolate, and jewelry for Valentine’s Day many times over. So how can you step up your game?
Any woman can tell you that when it comes to making her feel special, thoughtfulness is key. Not sure where to start? Here are some of the simplest—and most effective—ways to win Valentine’s day. And also be sure to take things to the next level and memorize The 13 Sexiest Things You Can Ever Say to a Woman.
Visit Your First Date Location
If it’s feasible, this one will earn you big points. “One cute way to show how much you value your relationship is by taking her to the location of your first date,” says Alexa Bauman, relationship expert at Kiwi Searches. “If you’ve been dating a few years, this sentiment will bring back a lot of happy memories of when you two first became a couple.” Been married for awhile? Surprise her by visiting your wedding venue or location and rereading your vows. But whatever you do, make sure you don’t utter the 17 Worst Things a Man Can Say to a Woman.
Plan A Tech-Free Evening Together
We all spend so much time on our phones and computers these days that an evening with no screens feels extra-special “Commit to turning off and staying off your electronics all evening—phones, computers, and television,” suggests Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of online relationship community Relationup. “Instead, just be present without any distractions. It is novel for anyone to receive the full attention of their partner for an entire evening.” And if you’re thinking of proposing this Valentie’s Day, we’d urge you to stop and reconsider. Because This is the Best Time of Year to Propose.
This one’s simple, but it really does work like a charm. Light some candles, put on some music that means something to both of you, and cook up a meal you know she loves. This is an especially great way to make her feel loved if money is tight and a meal out at a fancy restaurant isn’t an option this year, or if kids prevent you from getting out of the house alone together. And if you’re no star chef, you can always fake it. Just Steal Bobby Flay’s Top Steak-Cooking Secret.
Arrange A Galentine’s Day Lunch for Her
Sure, you might want to call dibs on her time for dinner, but there’s no reason she shouldn’t get to spend some quality V-Day time with the other loves of her life: her friends.
Arrange for her closest girlfriends to meet her for lunch near home or her office, and give her a heads up that she has lunch plans a couple of days ahead of time. She’ll be taken aback by the sweet gesture and thrilled you understand how important her friendships are.
Set Up A Romantic Picnic
Fancy dinners out are great, but to make her day truly special, try something a little more personal.
“Consider ditching the traditional romantic dinner for a more intimate and memorable afternoon picnic,” suggests Caleb Backe, wellness and relationship expert for Maple Holistics. “Because there’s nothing more dull for romance than clichés, this unassuming and down-to-earth activity will show that you actually put some thought into making the day special.”
Bad weather? Set up the picnic in your living room. Not a great cook? Head to a local cheese shop, pick out an impressive spread, and grab a great bottle of wine to match. And for more great relationship advice, Here’s Why Experts Say “Micro-Cheating” Will Destroy Your Relationship.
Capture The Moment
This idea works best coupled with another romantic surprise, like the aforementioned picnic setup. “Whatever you’re planning, hire a photographer to capture the romantic experience,” suggests Claudia Palma, director of romance at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos. “Having professional photos and videos of these special moments makes it easy to look back on the experience fondly. Plus, in the age of social media, these images will come in super handy for online sharing!”
Schedule An At-Home Mani/Pedi
There is nothing better than being pampered in the convenience of your own home. If apps like Glamsquad and The Glam App are available in your area, simply book and you’re good to go. If these apps aren’t in your city yet, try calling local high-end salons to see if they do house calls. Have a partner who isn’t into nails? This same concept works with blowouts, massages, and more. Just know the 20 Beauty Products Women Should Never Use.
Let Her Choose
If you know your S.O. isn’t really into surprises (not everyone likes to be caught off guard!), give her a few options for gifts or dates and let her express her preference. Perhaps you let her choose from a home-cooked meal, a weekend away, or a spa day on her own. This way, you’ll be 100 percent sure she’s on board with what you’ve chosen.
Hire A Driver for The Day
If she hates her commute, this is one of the nicest things you can do for her. “No one loves traffic and it is exhausting being stuck in a bumper to bumper mess getting to and from work,” Milrad says. “Arrange for a car service, taxi or ride-sharing service to do the driving while your partner is reading, resting, or relaxing in the back seat. It is a luxury that few of us will treat ourselves to.”
Arrange for One-On-One Time With The Kids
This idea mainly applies to couples with multiple children, but it’s pretty genius and meaningful. “When your wife says that she wishes she could give her kids more one-one-one attention, offer to feed two of your three kids dinner while she takes one out to Special Time Dinner with Mom,” suggests Dr. Fran Wafish, Psy.D., a child, couples, and family psychotherapist. “Your kids will love her company and you will be injecting chicken soup into the veins of the child who gets solo individual time with Mommy. Of course, you will have to do this three different times to even the scale and give each one of her children a turn.”
Write Her A Love Letter
“It may seem old-fashioned, but when was the last time you expressed your love in a simple and classic way?” Palma asks. “A love letter is a straightforward and beautiful way to show the love of your life that you truly care. To give it a more special touch, present your letter along with homemade breakfast in bed, or put the message in a nice bottle for your loved one to discover.”
Track Down Something Long Lost From Her Childhood
Did your partner have a favorite toy, movie, or collector’s item as a kid that she lost over the years? Take some time to locate it for her. “It may not be easy to find, but tracking it down and buying it for your S.O. will definitely make her day,” Bauman says.
Look Beyond The Bouquet
If you know your partner loves a certain type of flower, don’t just buy her a bouquet of them. Instead, “go online and find the service that names a flower for your friend,” Dr. Wafish suggests. “They will send her the seeds to plant and she will grow the flower brand with her name on it!” Still stumped? To ensure that you find her the perfect flowers, check out The Romantic Man’s Guide to Buying the Perfect Flowers.
Dedicate An Evening to Great Conversation
One of the most meaningful gifts you can give is your time. “When was the last time you both sat around without distractions and talked? You can create your own topics of conversation or borrow from the many lists available on the internet,” Milrad says. “Having a quiet night where you are listening to one another and learning about one another can result in you feeling closer and more connected.”
Plan A Volunteer Day
If your S.O. is passionate about a certain cause—maybe it’s caring for stray animals, feeding the hungry, or visiting the sick in hospitals—plan a day where you can volunteer for her favorite non-profit together. Not only will this show her you care about her chosen cause, but you’ll also get some quality bonding time by making a difference together.
Won’t be seeing your girl for the holiday? Learn how to make it work from The 30 Secrets of Long-Distance Relationships.
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