This February, why not take the entire month to honor your relationship – not with gimmicky cards and flowers, but with thoughtful, deliberate energy. Give your relationship a little more priority than you do the rest of the year, and you and your partner will waltz into Spring feeling closer and luckier than ever.
Use this 4-step plan to get started:
Week 1: Take inventory
You may know your mate better than you know yourself, or the two of you could be just getting started down that exciting path to familiarity. Whatever the phase of your relationship, use this first week to really see your loved one. When are they happiest? What’s missing in their life? What kind of insecurities are they grappling with and what might have changed since you last really stopped and took notice. These observations will help you plan gestures that are thoughtful and specific – not just to your partner, but to who your partner is right now.
Week 2: Take steps
As you get closer to V-day, begin to heat up your romantic muscles with a little extra thoughtfulness. Daily roses aren’t necessary – in fact, you may want to keep any Valentine’s Day plans under wraps for now – but subtly let your partner know that they are appreciated. Take care of the dishes, run thankless errands and deliver unexpected compliments. These “little” gestures can be more meaningful than a shop full of roses, and they provide a precursor that insures whatever plans you do make translate to genuine devotion, rather than tacky theatrics.
Week 3: Take action
It’s not about candy hearts and flowers. And it’s certainly not about the holiday. (Historians can’t even agree on the origins of Valentine’s Day or whether it has any romantic significance at all!) The 14th is an opportunity to make a day for each other that you’ll always remember. If your partner is primed for liberal displays of affection, begin the day early and get as much mileage in as you can. If your mate shies away from the gushy stuff, pour all that effort into something that is specifically meaningful to them. Even if you don’t believe your Valentine is much of a romantic, give it a try. There are very few lovers in the world whose hearts refuse to flutter at honest, heartfelt romance. Plant messages in laptops, jackets and vehicles. Decorate with framed photos, or arrange a date at a location that has history for you. The more personal your plans, the more memorable they will be, so engineer a day that couldn’t have been created by or for anyone but the two of you.
Week 4: Take two
Keep those surprises coming! It’s an excellent way of saying that your love is not bound to any calendar. The affection and attention you reserve for this person is available year-round. Do all the silly things people do when they’re falling in love. Spend an entire Sunday in bed (reading, cuddling, talking to family members on the phone – whatever). Plan a day hike for just the two of you to somewhere you’ve never been before. Leave fresh flowers by the bed, and plant little gifts and notes to be discovered – for no reason at all.
It may not be possible to start 365 days a year with a compliment and end in a romantic evening, but for a few weeks, at least, let your relationship take center stage and see how it will enhance all areas of your life.
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