Men! Now that I have your attention… Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. You know what that means: you and your romantic gestures are about to go under the microscope.
Many women will state that they don’t really care about Valentine’s Day, that it’s a Hallmark holiday that doesn’t really matter. For a few of us, that may hold true. (And yes, “us.” I’m a pathetic, sappy, uber-romantic who actually doesn’t care all that much about Valentine’s Day. But this post isn’t about me.) For many women, however, Valentine’s Day is a huge opportunity for each of you men to be a hero.
BUT – and there’s always a but, isn’t there (and some buts are bigger than others) – if you are in a longer-term relationship, don’t expect the magic of Valentine’s Day to be a cure-all for your relationship woes. If you want the attention and adoration of your female partner, both on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, here are a few quick suggestions:
- Be Considerate, Make Her Feel Adored: Do you remember early in your relationship when you would do little things to make her think fondly of you? Well… do you still do things like that? Do what my friend L's husband does for her... Send her little notes that let her know you’re thinking of her. Help her find time to do something for herself. Give her a foot rub or neck rub without her having to ask. Bring her flowers or her favorite candy or a knick-knack for her desk for no reason. Don't expect anything in return. Just do it.
- Don’t “Fix” Her: Look, none of us is perfect. Not one of us. Not even models, if they are to be believed when they go on and on about how they're all airbrushed. I, for one, tend to believe - as do about 98.3% of all straight adult males - that the models are lying and that they're actually just that perfect and that they came up with this airbrushed nonsense in order not to be hated as much by "normal" women. But I digress. The point I was making is to please realize that if you recognize a flaw of your partner's, it’s likely she not only recognizes it as well but is 182 times more aware of it than you are. You know what, interestingly, will improve her flaws far better than pointing them out, picking at them or passive-aggressively trying to get her to fix them? Try this... pay attention to and compliment those things about her that you find attractive. Repeat. Repeat again. It’s almost magical how quickly the flaws lose their prominence among all that adoration.
- Tell Her You Appreciate Her: We all know how much it stings when we try to tackle something – around the house, at work, etc. – and the first words someone throws our way are criticisms about how we could have done it, whatever it is, better. Take that kind of insight and use it to remember not to nitpick. Instead, identify what she does well, or even simply what she tries to do, and let her know you appreciate her efforts. When my family has dinner around the dining table, my husband always thanks me for cooking, whether the meal is stellar or so-so, and his gesture never fails to bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.
- Let Her Know You Respect Her: Women are a bit of a quandary. If you compliment a woman’s looks too much but don’t let her know you respect her, she’ll worry you only want her for her physical attractiveness. Tell her too much that you respect her without letting her know you think she is attractive, and she will worry you don’t think she’s attractive. Yes, we’re annoying like that. Be that as it may, be sure you actually converse with your girlfriend or wife, and not just about household stuff or family stuff or kid stuff. Ask for her opinion or insight, and then listen. Listen for real.
- Tell Her She Is Beautiful: This is one that I think is often misconstrued by men, so listen carefully… when I say tell her she is beautiful, what I mean is this: Tell her she is beautiful. “Pretty” is all about looks, and that’s fine but not the same. Same goes for “cute,” unless you’re kidding about something she said or did. “Hot” is too sex-laden and gets old quickly. There is something special and precious about being called beautiful. Maybe it’s that beautiful is so multi-faceted, and as such it allows a woman a little room for interpretation. Beautiful can refer to facial loveliness, and it can refer to a woman’s physique. Beautiful can mean something beyond pretty in the physical sense, even an aura. And beautiful, of course, can refer to a woman’s heart. Beautiful is a special word that is often reserved for someone who is beyond the norm. So tell her she is beautiful. And mean it.
Finally - and this one is important - tell her that you love her. I don’t mean the cursory “I love you” we all say to a long-term partner at the end of a phone call or as we say good-night. I don’t mean the light-hearted but fully felt “I love you” that some of us say to our good friends. (I tell my best friend several times a week that I love her. Because I do.) I mean take a non-routine moment to look in her eyes and tell her, while she is listening, that you love her.
And, just like when you tell her she is beautiful… mean it.