So, you made it through the major holidays and you’re breathing a sigh of relief, right? That New Year’s kiss marked the end of worrying that you’d purchase the wrong gift, fail to be festive enough, or not show the right amount of appreciation for her efforts at making things merry and bright. Not so fast guys, there’s one holiday at large on the horizon and it can be a doosie.
Valentine’s Day is a love it or hate it Hallmark holiday. Generally, women love it and men hate it, which is one of the reasons men can get themselves in trouble. It seems silly doesn’t it – the idea that there’s this one day of the year where we’re supposed to prove our love by purchasing chocolate and flowers? But it’s out there and, for better or worse, it gets celebrated and we as guys need to walk the tightrope of doing it right – or at least not screw it up completely.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest Valentine’s Day mistakes that men make.
1. Ignoring V-Day all together. Yes, it’s kind of a cheesy holiday, and you shouldn’t need this one day in February set aside to prove your love. That being said, you’ll do more damage by ignoring the day altogether than by recognizing the opportunity to express your feelings.
2. Just signing your name to a generic card. There’s a card for everything it seems, but when it comes to your feelings don’t let a mass-produced card do the talking for you. There’s nothing wrong with buying a card, but make sure you write a few sentences about your own personal feelings.
3. Relying on the standard heart-shaped box of chocolates. Sure, most of us like a good chocolate from time to time, but carbs and sugar aren’t really the best “I love you” gifts. Not only is it rather unimaginative, but many women may also find it irritating after all the recent holiday indulgences and having a desire to be healthy in the new year.
4. Going to bed early – and sleeping. Unless her Valentine’s Day request is a good night sleep, hitting the sack early without any effort at intimacy is kind of tone deaf. It doesn’t have to be a wild night that sets the benchmark for the year to come, but a little romance goes a long way towards keeping a relationship happy. This could be as simple as a hug and kiss and some physical affection – it’s the effect that counts
5. Forgetting to say the most important words. One of the biggest mistakes men make – and not just on Valentine’s Day – is forgetting to say “I love you.” If there’s one great thing about this day in February, it’s that it’s a clear reminder to all men to say those very important words. In fact, it should serve as an opportunity to make a resolution for the year to say them more often.
6. Going overboard. While you don’t want to ignore the day, you also don’t need to go overboard. Women may feel more sentimental about this day than most men, but that doesn’t mean they’re silly about it. Being thoughtful is one thing, buying a 10-foot teddy bear is another.
So, if those are common mistakes, what are the best tips for making Valentine’s Day successful?
Tips For A Valentine’s Day Win
1Allow The Day To Be Different
Valentine’s Day isn’t an actual “holiday.” No one gets the day off to celebrate love. So, you’ll need to put some effort into making the day different. This doesn’t have to be expensive or overdone, but starting the day with something different and adding some fun things in to make it stand out is a good idea. Bring her a cup of coffee in bed, send her an extra text telling her you love her, make her lunch if your working from home and put a love note in it, or anything else that makes the day seem special. A little romance can go a long way – especially if it’s not a regular practice in your relationship.
2Keep It Personal
You know her and what she likes. You may both think Valentine’s Day is goofy, so you know to steer clear of grand gestures. But that should also mean that you know what she’d value. Maybe it’s a brief letter about what you love most about her, all the things you’d like to do with her, or perhaps it’s surprising her by cleaning the kitchen and setting the scene for a relaxing evening. Whatever you do, make it personal to what you know about her – that will be what’s most valued.
The things most appreciated by anyone are the things that require thought and effort. Letters, little things that make the day better, an unexpected lunch or dinner date – just things that actually took more effort than picking up a card and flowers at the local grocery store and calling it good.
4Keep It Simple
None of these things need to be expensive or grand. Using the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method is probably the best bet overall. Just keep it simple in a thoughtful, personal way.
It’s very easy to take each other for granted – especially as a relationship ages. You can use this day as a reminder to show appreciation for the love in your life and all she does to make your life better. One thing all women (and men too) like to hear is why they’re important to you and how they’ve enriched your life.
Valentine’s Day may seem like a commercial and contrived holiday that’s better ignored. I would argue, however, that it’s a good opportunity to recognize and resolve to make your relationship a priority for the year to come. So, rather than looking at it as a chore and falling into the most commonly made mistakes, try making it the start of your relationship’s new year and use it as a springboard into better things for you and your partner.
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Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.