I recently polled a few wives at the carpool line at pickup for my kid’s school and asked them what they really wanted for Valentine’s Day this year. Their answers may surprise you as they did for sure surprise me. One woman, in particular, said she really doesn’t want anything. She feels Valentine’s day is too over-commercialized and that celebrating your significant other should be something you do consistently and not just one day. She said she doesn’t need things to be bought for her and would prefer her husband to make something sentimental or plan a fun night out. I asked her for more details, and she said “I would rather have my husband do tasks without being asked to show his love and appreciation for her all year round. Tasks like folding laundry, putting away the dishes and taking the car in for repairs.”

Do simple things like doing laundry (interesting this is mentioned multiple times), putting gas the car, taking her car for an oil change (this too). Cook dinner so she doesn’t have to cook every night or pick up her favorite coffee from Starbucks, which meant you thought about your wife.

These all seemed on point, so I asked my own wife the same questions.   She also gave me the “I’m also a show me on a regular basis” gal instead of a “buy me” something person. And then she also said, “I really wish you would fold the laundry and pick up the kid’s toys more.”  (I see a pattern here). She said she doesn’t need flowers, chocolates, a fancy dinner, jewelry or even a card. She would rather me do chores around the house because her love language is “Acts of Service” These things show her that I am her partner in life, and show her that I care about managing my stress level and well-being and that I desire to make her happy. But as Valentine’s Day approaches, a few other women gave me some ideas that are sort of “out of the box.” Our goal at Uncommen is to provide each of you with some helpful reminders on how to engage your wife more, but as we all know, everyone likes different things so lean on your own experience here.

A love letter: Time to unleash your inner Romeo. Many women really treasure a love letter from their husband. One of the downsides of smartphone usage and constant texting is that we often lose the power of a well-written love note vs. a heart emoji. Nothing against the heart emoji, it’s just a little too lazy sometimes. When my wife and I were dating, we used to write each other regularly. There’s something really strong about a husband putting his thoughts on paper about how much he loves his wife. 

A slideshow set to “our” songs: One of the best parts of the smartphone is that we all take and save a ton more pictures these days. An excellent way to review your memories together is a slideshow or video of pictures that you picked out that highlighted the year as a couple. A photo book would also be a great printed gift as well. Check out Shutterfly or Mixbook apps to make it easy!

Recreate your first date: Our first date was at an Italian Restaurant. We ate pizza and shut that place down late in the night. We also used to ride bikes a lot when we first dated. We were definitely on a tighter budget then in our early twenties, so experiences trumped buying fancy things!   Think of a memorable date and recreate it. And think back on how much you have grown as a couple.

Goal Board of future plans: Something powerful happens in a relationship when you cross over from loving your spouse for who they currently are and move into a shared dream for the future. There’s a sense of security in having your spouse put your future dreams and goals together onto a big board. Having your financial goals, future travel plans, and your bucket list captured is an impressive demonstration of commitment to a future together. Post it in a place you will look at regularly together. Don’t just make it and hide it away.

Plan a photo shoot: As our families grow older, it can be harder to get everyone together for a family photo shoot. Husbands, your job is to set up all the details and make it happen. It’s a lot more work to set this up than you realize if you have never done it before. If you are on a tight budget, get a small tripod for your phone and use the photo timer to take pics. It’s not just about getting the best pictures. It’s about capturing and honoring a memory and time for your family. 

Here’s your Uncommen Challenge: Pick one of these things above and do it. Or think of your own ideas. Hint: Aside from these ideas, one of the single greatest gift husbands can give their wives on Valentine’s Day is some of your undivided attention and time. This means putting the phone down, asking questions about her day, stepping out of your own world, and making her feel like she is the most important person in the world to you! 

About the Author: Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative and Content Editor for Uncommen.

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