I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s not because I’m not a romantic. I am (but don’t tell anyone). I hate it because it’s a holiday that makes a lot of people feel badly about themselves because of what they may not have on a particular day of the year. It’s worse than trying to keep up with the Joneses with money. The general theme of the holiday is you either have the love of your life on February 14, or you are a loser.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You also need to be willing to pay out a hefty sum of money to show this love you have for your significant other, or you really don’t love that person. Like so many other holidays, Valentine’s Day has very little to do with true love and everything to do with businesses and services getting you to spend a lot of money to supposedly prove that you really do love that person in your life.
Just like money doesn’t buy happiness (at least after $75,000 a year), diamonds, chocolate, and flowers don’t buy love. People may believe that Valentine’s Day is an easy way to make up for the rest of the year, but the truth is that those that are in love don’t need the holiday. Love is something that happens on a daily basis (and is a lot of work), not a single time a year on an arbitrary date that happens to coincide with a slow time of the year for businesses to make money.
Now, I must admit that my way of thinking has gotten me into quite a bit of trouble during past relationships. My view of this holiday certainly isn’t shared by all and if your significant other is expecting you to make a big deal on Valentine’s Day and you let them know you don’t believe in it, I can tell you from experience it usually doesn’t end well. This is where compromise (one of those things you do when you love someone) comes into play. It’s important to take the other person’s feelings into consideration when it comes to these socially ingrained celebrations.
That being said, here are 100 ways that I try to show my love without it costing a dime. While these certainly can be used for Valentine’s Day, it’s my opinion that they really should be used as often as possible any day of the year.
Listen. Not just the words, but also the body language so that you can get the true feeling of what your partner is trying to convey.
Hold Hands. Fingers interlocked or palm to palm. It doesn’t matter how as long as it’s often.
Wipe away a tear. Gently. Let them know that you are there for them.
Push. Not literally. Push them to the end of their comfort zone so that they are able to experience many of the wonders that are out there that they might not do on their own.
Massage. Foot, back or head — it really doesn’t matter.
Play. Be playful with one another in general.
Warm their feet. Especially when they climb into bed after you.
Wrap your arms around them. This is especially effective and enjoyable when they aren’t expecting it and doing something like the dishes.
Leave notes. They don’t have to long or detailed. A simple “Have a great day!” or “I love you” placed somewhere where they are not expecting will always bring a smile when they do stumble across it.
Kiss. Often. Anywhere.
Squeeze. Tightly. To show how much you love to hug.
Walk hand in hand. Swinging arms in unison is a bonus. Arm and arm and around the shoulder too.
Smile. Genuinely. just because you enjoy being with your partner.
Look into their eyes. Deeply.
Lay your head on your partner’s shoulder or lap. Let them do the same.
Discover a secret spot. Make it yours. Visit often.
Read. To each other. This is especially nice on lazy Sunday mornings or late at night.
Encourage. Especially those things that they are reluctant to do, but you know will make them happy.
Participate. Especially those hobbies that you know that they enjoy.
Be silly. Over the top silly. More than you do now.
Stroll. Walk. Hike. Together.
Explore. Both old and new places. High and low.
Give comfort. Not just when sad, but everyday.
Say “I love you” More than you are doing now. More than you think you should. Without hesitation.
Compliment. Extensively and sincerely.
Tell stories. Both real and imagined.
Give time. Even when you are busy.
Help. Even when you aren’t asked.
Thank. Even for the little things. Always let them know how appreciated they are.
Be honest. Even when it’s difficult.
Talk. A lot. About important things. Also about unimportant things.
Watch the stars. With wonder. Wrapped closely together in a warm blanket.
Walk on the beach. Barefoot. Letting the waves get your feet wet.
Drive. Just to see the sunset together.
Learn. Try to incorporate those things you love most about your partner into your being. Become a better person.
Teach. Freely give without expectation so they can become better as well if they so choose.
Laugh. Hard. Preferably so hard that it’s difficult to breathe.
Share music. Expand your musical taste and expand your partners. Find those special songs where you both totally agree. Call and dedicate those songs to your partner on the radio.
Whisper. Giggling optional.
Smell. Get close enough to inhale their scent. Ask for something of theirs so that you can still smell them even when they are away.
Swim. River, lake, ocean or pool. Clothing optional.
Hug. Constantly. Unexpectedly. Whenever. It’s difficult to do this too often.
Flirt with each other. Both in private and in public.
Get close. If you can’t hear your partner’s heart beating, you are too far away.
Dance. At home. In Public. Especially in the rain.
Share. Dreams. Goals. Chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.
Pick wild flowers. On the side of the road or in a field.
Make snow angels. next to one another. friendly snowball fight afterward optional.
Pillow fight. Enough said.
Find a view. Sit close together and enjoy the scenery.
Lay down. In a field on a blanket and take in the day.
Watch clouds. Share what you see them turn into.
Make an effort. Go beyond what is expected because you know that the surprise will make your partner happy.
Reconcile. Quickly. Everyone fights. Don’t let the fight linger longer than it has to. Make-up sex is not a bad thing.
Apologize. With heart and without excuse when you are wrong.
Describe. The feelings you have for your partner and why they make you feel that way.
Have their back. Step in and diffuse situations before they get out of hand. Stand up for your partner if they are being disrespected in any way.
Wish them sweet dreams. Every night. Share any you had in the morning.
Nap together. Anytime, but especially on rainy afternoons.
Tickle. Don’t go overboard.
Sneak. A kiss or feel in public when nobody else is looking.
Be there. For them. Especially during those times when they really need you (even if that means canceling other plans)
Relax. In front of a fire with a cheap bottle of wine.
Stop by. Unexpectedly. For not other reason to see them.
Throw pebbles at their window. Have a sign ready just for them to read when they appear at the window that will make them smile.
Write. Your names together in the sand and the snow.
Cater. Bring them their morning cup of coffee before they get out of bed or a cup of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows) in the evening
Pamper. Run them a warm bath (bubbles optional).
Support. Let them know that whatever decision they finally make, that you will support the decision.
Secrets. Develop many that only the two of you share, and share those of yours so they no longer yours alone.
Play footsie. Especially in places where it’s borderline unacceptable.
Create. Take the time to create little surprises that you know your partner will appreciate.
Trust. Give them every reason to trust you and give them the freedom to show that you trust them.
Respect. One another. Deeply.
Be proud. congratulate your partner on their accomplishments and share them freely with others.
Document. Take plenty of photos and save keepsakes from the memories that you create together. Revisit them anytime you are feeling down.
Ask. Don’t assume. Find out the things that really make your partner happy.
Be genuine. Tell your partner how beautiful / handsome they are. Do it often.
Clean. Without having to be asked and even the chores that aren’t yours.
Play with their hair. Move it away from their face. Stroke your hands through it.
Be interested. Look forward to learning the little details of that day.
Solicit. When you have an important decision, ask your partner for their opinion. Share your concerns and involve them in the decisions when appropriate.
Experiment. Be willing to try new things, but never force something that they aren’t 100% comfortable with.
Be intimate. Show this through your actions, words, and touch.
Park. In a secluded place. Steam up the windows no matter what your age.
Remain active. Don’t let the relationship become comfortable where you begin to take things for granted. Continue to make the effort every single day even if you know you don’t have to.
Balance. Try to keep your work and social life in balance. if not sure, error on the side of spending more time with your partner.
Get Out. Turn off the TV and get outside together. The more often, the better.
Be patient. Your life together shouldn’t be a hurry.
Cultivate passion. In all the things that you do and in one another.
Consult. When big decisions need to be made, make them together with both sides contributing to the discussion and plans.
Say yes. From time to time even to the things you don’t love to do because you know that your partner does.
Reminisce. And in the process, make a list of all the things you want to do together in the future.
Concede. Not to those things that are truly important to you, but to all those little things that really aren’t worth the fight. Most things are trivial and not worth fighting about. Be willing to be the first to make up when there are disagreements.
Remain well kept. Make the extra to dress nicely, stay in shape and appear as well as you can. Look like you wanted to on your very first date.
Show interest. In your partners ideas, thoughts and interests. Support when you can and encourage as much as possible.
Be consistent. Don’t save all the above idea for only special occasions or predetermined dates. Do them consistently day to day, as much as possible and with enthusiasm.
Be willing to let them go. This is a hard one. Really difficult. If the relationship comes to the point where one of you isn’t completely happy, let go even if it hurts. The automatic reaction will be to try to keep them and you should try to work through the problems when possible (and believe me, love is a lot of work), but it’s important to let go when it’s in your partner’s best interest and not keep the relationship going for selfish reasons.
I may be wrong, but doing the above shows love much more than a box of chocolates or anything you can do, no matter how expensive or romantic, on a single day. Then again, judging from the reactions I have had on past Valentine’s Days, I could very well be wrong…
(Photo courtesy of Boris SV)