Here we are, eleven years later, and even though he does the dishes often out of necessity, so that I can tend to the children, I still loose my senses when he rolls up his sleeves!
This year, in preparation for the world's most anticipated day of romance, Steve and I are challenging each other, and challenging you, to join us in a thirteen day prelude to Valentine's Day.
Here's the plan: choose to do one specific thing each day leading up to Valentine's Day (men, that would be February 14th. Put it in your Blackberry. Now please.), to show your significant other how much he or she means to you.
The goal is two fold: To offer expressions of love for the other in ways that convey with sincerity how much they mean to you, and to refresh the romantic feelings of love in your relationship.
We came up with a few suggestions, but we know that they may not work for some as everyone has their own unique arrangements for work, school, kids etc. Maybe our little tips will simply inspire you to think of your own ideas. At any rate, we are betting that this plan could possibly result in your (and our) most romantic Valentine's Day yet!
Are you in???
~ FOR THE BOYS ~Day 1: Pick up after yourself, before she asks. And, if you're really feelin' it, pick up and put away something of hers, and the kids, and the dog. She will notice, trust me. If you're already a neat freak, then pick a closet and start organizing. She'll think you're genius!
Day 2: Tell her how beautiful she is to you, inside and out, before she has a chance to put her make-up on. If you really want to go Hollywood, I suggest you look her in the eyes and hold her face in your hands. Just be prepared to be attacked.
Day 3: Offer to do the dishes after supper so that she may go for a walk, take a bath, or watch her favorite program on TV. While you do the dishes, say a prayer for her.
Day 4: Plan to make dinner one night, and tell her you will take care of all the preparations. Ordering pizza does not count!
Day 5: Leave a love note somewhere unexpected for her to find (in the fridge, on the diaper Genie, beside the coffee pot). Girls love notes. And we will love them forever and ever and ever.
Day 6: Take a moment and think about the things that your wife is most interested in. Then, ask her about one or a few of them. I wouldn't advise doing this while sitting in front of the computer, checking your phone for text messages or watching TV. Sincerity is key. You must pay attention and for Pete's sake act interested! (Didn't your mom ever say Pete's sake? I think it's making a come-back.)
Day 7: Clean out the family car without her knowing it. If you have kids, just admit it, it's probably really gross. So be a prince, roll up your sleeves and rescue her from the leaky juice box chicken-McNugget nightmare.
Day 8: Change out the laundry, and/or fold a load of clothes. If you haven't yet met your washer and drier yet, it's time. Make the laundry 911 call to your mom or mother-in-law for some advice. Don't be surprised if your wife passes out.
Day 9: Run a bubble bath for her. Fluffy towels, candles, bubbles and music might have unexpected results, so be prepared (brush your teeth, and make sure you don't stink. I'm just keepin' it real here.)
Day 10: It's time to roll out the compliments. If you have kids, praise her in front of them. If you don't have kids, do it in front of the in-laws, your own parents or even friends. Watch her eyes sparkle when she looks at you. If she's not used to this, you might notice expressions of confusion. But, you're not gonna give up, are ya? Nope, 'cause you're awesome at romance!
Day 11: It's Saturday morning. Put your plans on hold. Walk the dog, make breakfast for the kids and keep it quiet so she can sleep in. Valentine's Day activities require rest, if ya know what I mean. You've got to strategize, man!
Day 12: Rub her feet or her back unexpectedly. Tell her you appreciate all that she does for you.
~ FOR THE LADIES ~Day 1: Join your husband in something that interests him: if it's sports, sit with him and watch the game, if it's music, get to know his favorite songs, if it's (a-hem) farming or cars, or guns or architecture ask a few questions to show interest. But, be sure to affirm him with comments such as: "that's awesome, honey!" Guys love it when they think that we think what they think is awesome.
Day 2: Offer to rub his feet (maybe after he showers??), or his back. You might want to be sure that you are "in the mood" since back rubs and holding hands can signal "Green Light Go."
Day 3: Make his favorite meal, or bake something extra special that you know he will love. Tell him you made it just for him (not just because you're PMSing and need to eat something with 80 grams of fat and 6 pounds of sugar.).
Day 4: Get up a few minutes early so that you can watch the kids or walk the dog, or do whatever you can to let him sleep in a few extra minutes.
Day 5 Praise him in front of your children. If you don't have kiddos, praise one thing you especially love about him in front of others (like your parents), and be specific.
Day 6: Leave a love note in his briefcase, on the steering wheel of his vehicle or inside his laptop.
Day 7: Get fixed up for him - not just because you're required to for work or because you're going out for girls night. If you're a stay at home super-star and the piles of laundry, list of errands and poopy diapers looks dreary, you can still sparkle! He will really feel loved by your attentiveness.
Day 9: Surprise him at work with his favorite lunch, or better yet, arrange child-care for the kiddos, and surprise him with an impromptu lunch date!
Day 10: Just for today, don't try to be right about everything. Refrain from competitive discussions. Just let him lead you and your family. This is one way that husbands and fathers love us that is often overlooked.
Day 11: Choose one thing you can do to help him out if his duties at home are piling up. Let him know that you are helping him with this so that he can spend more quality time with the kids (or with you!)
Day 12: Say a prayer for his intentions, his goals, his work and his vocation as a husband and/or father.
Day 13: Find some old photos of you and your hubby, or maybe even your wedding videos, and share some good memories over a glass of wine. Thank him for asking you to marry him!
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility..... It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down. Love is watchful and sleeping, slumbereth not. Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed, it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but, as a lively flame and burning torch, it forces its way upwards and securely passes all.
Thomas A Kempis (1379-1471)