February marks a romantic opportunity for men to make a statement to that special person in their lives. For me, February is the month that I proposed to my wife (Kathy).
Kathy and I were not able to spend our first Valentine’s Day together as Kathy was away at a conference in Vancouver, Canada. We lived in a small northern community at the time so had planned to have me join Kathy in Vancouver once her conference was over. I flew in late Valentine’s evening to spend the weekend with Kathy and to meet her parents (Stu & Gail Patterson) for the first time. As if I wasn’t nervous enough about meeting Stu and Gail, a few weeks prior to our Vancouver get together I had called Stu and asked for his permission to propose to Kathy while we were in Vancouver with them. Stu graciously agreed and with his blessing I planned to pop the question to Kathy at dinner on February 15. As it turns out Kathy accepted my proposal, and some 25 years later the month of February remains one of the most special months of the year for the two of us, particularly, our Valentine’s Day, (February 15, the day we got engaged, rather than the traditional February 14 celebrated by the rest of the world).
Like most couples, Kathy and I have gone through seasons of challenges in our relationship. Life has not always been easy financially, and we have dealt with careers, and children, and tugs and pulls on our time and relationship as everyone does. All these things complicate life and sometimes they make it difficult to celebrate your relationship and enjoy a romantic evening together. I’m sure many of you may have found it difficult from time to time (for whatever reason) to get away from the life challenges and responsibilities to enjoy a quiet, romantic time with your loved one.
One thing I have learned over the years is that sometimes, no matter how difficult life is, you have to intentionally rekindle the relationship and that does not necessarily mean you have to spend a ton of money to do so. I’ve spent some time thinking about some ideas that might help you create your own stay-at-home, romantic Valentine’s Day for that special someone in your life. And gents, take the lead in this romantic effort; if you have children try to set up some alternative care for your kids or organize a basement sleep over for them with some upstairs boundary rules for one evening. Keep the kids and the world at bay as best you can and organize an evening for that special someone in your life to let them know that you truly appreciate them!
Here are some ideas to get your mind churning on what you could do to make this year’s Valentine’s Day one to remember.
1. Spend the night on the living room floor. Set up the air mattress. Have a picnic ready for you and your loved one and if you have a fireplace, fire it up and roast some marshmallows.
2. Make dinner together. Choose the menu and get the ingredients ahead of time, then have fun cooking, taste-testing and eating together.
3. Have a board game night. Choose a favourite board game and feel free to play the traditional way – or with an extra romantic twist.
4. Watch a romantic movie together. Have dinner together at home, watch a romantic pre-selected movie and make sure you have all the favourite, romantic sweets and beverages ready for the evening.
5. Turn your living room into a ballroom. Move the furniture out of the way, turn on the music and dance like prom night all over again. Don’t know how to dance? Rent an instructional DVD from your local library and use the night to have fun and learn together!
6. Read a book together. It could be something as romantic as a book on marriage or as silly as a favourite picture book from your childhood.
7. Set the mood. Think candles. Think flowers. Think multiple-courses or fondue. What would you expect to see and taste at a fancy restaurant? Try to recreate that atmosphere around your own dining table. For extra gusto, you may even want to dress up in your finest attire for her.
8. Revel in wedding day memories. This one will probably mean more to the ladies than their hubbies, but looking at old wedding albums or watching your wedding video is a great way to rekindle the fires.
9. Enjoy hot chocolate/tea/coffee on the back porch together. There’s nothing like sitting together in peace, enjoying God’s creation, to build a deeper level of communication.
10. Get your sport on. For the athletic types, plan a meal at home and then a surprise night out of bowling, a romantic walk, or if you are in warmer climates, a backyard game.
11. Give each other a massage. Get the bedroom ready with some candles and massage oils, have a home-cooked meal and enjoy some romantic beverages and then retire to the bedroom for some one-on-one time together.
12. Play a video game together. Some couples enjoyed competing against one another in their younger years – have some fun and get back to those early days of your relationship and do something you probably haven’t done in years!
13. Create a campfire in the backyard or light up the grill. Roast hot dogs, wrap up in a warm blanket and just enjoy watching the fire burn.
14. Go star-gazing. Put a blanket on the ground or wrap up in sleeping bags in your backyard and just enjoy gazing at the stars.
15. Go back and read your journals, letters, and memos from when you were dating.
16. Order in. Have pizza or Chinese delivered but be sure to use the chopsticks. Watch your favourite show or a movie while you snuggle on the couch like you did in the early years of your relationship.
17. Have a spa night. Think bubble bath, foot massages – the works!
18. Create sugar cookies. Buy some sugar cookies and some decorating fixings. Have dinner and then get decorating. You never know where all this will lead. For an added Valentine’s Day flare try writing a romantic message on the cookies and exchange them.
19. Listen to music that was key to both of you during your dating years.
20. Write your lifelong bucket list together.
21. Look through your old high school yearbooks or baby photo albums together.
22. Get artistic. Try drawing or painting each other’s portraits and then framing them!
23. Make a list of all the places you want to visit together if there is no money limit.
24. Create a blueprint of your dream house. Talking through your hopes and dreams together.
25. Have a dessert cook-off. Each of you find a new dessert recipe you’d like to try, bake them side-by-side in the kitchen, and then taste test them both to see which you like better!
26. Write a gratitude list together. Make a list of everything you are thankful for as a couple.
27. Make a video for your kids telling them about how you met!
28. Get together with some of your favourite couple friends and do a scavenger hunt themed around romance. Then enjoy some quite time together over a dessert at one of your favourite restaurants.
29. Play 50 questions. Write out 25 questions each and then ask them to each other.
30. Talk about choosing a new hobby to try out together. For added inspiration you can always check out the World’s Longest List Of Hobbies on line.
It’s easy to fall in love but life has a way of sucking the romance out of a relationship. Be intentional this February 14, men, and make this the start of a romantic year for you and that loved one!
All the best in romance!