I received a question this week from “No Thanks” at “firstname.lastname@example.org” wanting to know my thoughts on what to get a man for Valentine’s Day. Since I am an expert on this subject (I am a man, after all), I figure I can rise to the request of Ms. Thanks. So with plenty of shopping days left; here are five ideas for this year’s Valentine’s Day (in no particular order):
- Do nothing – yes, I said it. Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Day. The holiday is a hype-filled day (made even more hyped by jewelry stores and flower shops) all about showing love and all that stuff…why should you (or anyone) only do that once per year? If I’m not showing my lovely bride how much I love her every day then I’m failing as a husband. Yes, I know sometimes I do disappoint when it comes to being the loving, understanding and patient man God called me to be so I have to remind myself to stop being a jerk and get back on track. So maybe your Valentine’s Day gift can be to get back on track at being a loving spouse every day, starting TODAY. By Valentine’s Day, no gift will be required because he’ll be so happy to have a loving and supportive spouse he won’t want anything else.
- Take him on a “man date” – This should not be confused with a mandate! What I’m referring to is to take him to his favorite place to eat (probably not so crowded on V-Day anyway since they probably use paper towels for napkins), let him order ribs or steak or some other manly food, and then pick up a manly movie to take home and watch. Valentine’s Day puts a lot of pressure on the guys to pick out the perfect gift. How refreshing it would be if this year you could totally throw him off by telling him you want to make all the plans and turn it into a fun evening learning about him. WARNING: To any men reading, if she tells you she wants to plan the evening of Valentine’s Day there are two possibilities: 1) it’s a trap! Think of an escape plan quickly! …or 2) She is an awesome woman and should be thanked relentlessly for the next several days/weeks.
- Make him something – Stacy and I often agree on a budget for gift-giving holidays and so I will sometimes be able to stretch that amount into something a lot nicer if I can make her something and use the budget to just buy the supplies. Over the years I’ve made everything from wind chimes out of plumbing pipe (on our copper anniversary) to a solid-oak blanket chest from my wood shop. Be creative and make him something he would like that shows you took the time and energy to express your love.
- Make out with him – Without being crude here, if there are specific dates on the calendar here that should automatically be a given for a man to be able to have a passionate encounter with his wife, those dates should be (at a minimum): 1) his birthday, 2) his anniversary, and 3) Valentine’s Day. What you do, where you do it, etc. is all up to you, but please don’t underestimate the value of spending some romantic time with your husband.
- Show appreciation – Taking a hint from the couples I counsel who are on the brink of divorce, there is way too little appreciation shown for husbands (and wives) in most marriages. Whether you feel you do well in this area or not, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like a little more affirmation. As the old saying goes, “how can you tell if someone could use some encouragement? They’re breathing.” For you, this may mean you write a nice letter for him to treasure. I still have most of the notes Stacy has sent me over the years. It may simply mean you look him in the eyes and reaffirm the things you promised on your wedding day and thank him for being there beside you. Trust me, though it may sound cheesy, every man wants to hear his woman say something encouraging to him.
Did you find this advice helpful? What tips would you offer? I’d love some ideas to use myself!