The other night, as we were relaxing after a long day and reading in bed together, Doug turned to me and asked, “When’s Valentine’s Day?” February 14, I laughed, “That’s this week, you know.” His response: “Oh crap. Did you already get me something? Are we doing gifts this year?!”
I had to laugh, not because he clearly forgot about the day and didn’t plan for anything, but because I was in that same boat! Question: Are we the only ones who think of Valentine’s Day as an afterthought? It was such a big deal when we were in our youngin’, dating years. But now? We’ve reverted to asking one another if we’re giving gifts while reading in bed. And to take that even further, we’re totally content at the fact that – nah – we’re skipping on buying things this year.
Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely appreciate if Doug pulled out a nice bouquet or pretty necklace. And hey, maybe he still will, in which case I’ll squeal with excitement. But honestly, I’d rather have a nice love note or something meaningful from the heart. We’ve just never been ones to be super into expensive presents, as indicative of the fact that we never did push presents for our kids, and we didn’t give big gifts the day of our wedding. If you’re like us and prefer to show your love in ways beyond spending, here are some ideas on how to make your significant other feel loved without spending a penny. They’re great for all you last minute people (Ah-hem…me) who may not have a gift yet for Valentine’s Day. Really though, they’re good to keep at the top of mind any day of the year! Because isn’t showing and feeling love one of the most charming parts of life?
- Surprise them with coffee in bed. Wake up a little early, prep a warm pot of coffee, and have a cup and kisses be the first experience of the day. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, throw some food on a tray and enjoy some breakfast in bed together.
- Embrace their love language. I’m all about “Quality time” and Doug is an “Acts of service” guy. So, when I want him to feel extra loved, I’ll do more chores than usual. Sounds silly and very tactical, but it totally works. He notices and is so appreciative. I try to do this a few days a week to make sure he knows that, while we’re always super busy with our girls, I care and still have him top of mind.
- Turn off technology and spend time together. This one’s more in line with my personal “love language” noted above. But I love when we put our phones down, cut out distractions, and chat over a glass of wine on the couch. They’re some of my favorite moments of the day.
- Give a back rub. Who doesn’t love a good ‘ol backrub?! Pair it with #1 above for extra brownie points.
- Give the person full control over an evening. Ask, “What would your ideal night be tonight?” Be a modern day genie and grant them their wish. Do they want something specific for dinner? Make it! Do they want to catch up on The Bachelor while cuddling on the couch? Suck it up and watch the drama unfold. A fun twist on this one is to grant them “3 wishes” for the evening. Whatever they say, you’ll do!
- Make a card. Literally, make one. Doug does this for me on pretty much every occasion there is and I love it. He takes a plain white sheet of paper, folds it, and draws a picture on the front. The inside is filled with a cute message and perhaps more drawings. (Note: the message doesn’t have to be long, just from the heart!) They’re always so sweet, and while he’s no artist (Sorry, Doug!), I still love the funny drawings he does. In fact, I have a box in my closet where I’ve kept every single one.
- Create a playlist just for them. Spotify makes this real easy. Make a playlist for them to listen to during the day. Fill it with songs you love together, songs you think they’ll like, and songs that make you think of them.
- Cook dinner, and try a whole new recipe that’s beyond what you’ve done before. The novelty of the dish and the effort this takes makes it the nicest gesture on a day like Valentine’s Day!
- Have a little love sign that’s yours to share. Ours is rubbing bellies. (Don’t ask.) We know that whenever one of us rubs the other’s belly, it means “I love you”. It’s the sweetest gesture to receive when you least expect it and always makes me smile.
- Play your song when they least expect it. In the shower? Brushing their teeth? Getting dressed? Bring out whatever your song is, blare it, and do the funky chicken. (Funky chicken optional. Slow dancing works, too.) End it all with a hug and kiss. I promise they’ll love it.