Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, it’s time for the next big event on the calendar. No, I’m not talking about about basketball. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. 

I know that many of you guys were much more excited about the Super Bowl than you are about Valentine’s Day. Be that as it may, it’s time to get off the bench, take the field and get your romantic game face on.

Next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I spend the entire year dreaming up something special for the next year. Sometimes those plans get very involved and hard to keep secret, but that’s half of the fun. Putting everything in place without being discovered is a challenge, and my plan for this year will be one of the biggest top-secret challenges of all. I can hardly wait.

As men, we often think we think that we always have to come across as tough, macho warriors. We think it makes us look soft, weak, and sissified to take part in all that silly, mushy romance stuff. That’s just not true.

Think back for just a moment to the time when you were dating that special girl. I’m sure you acted pretty darn goofy. I bet you went totally overboard with sweet romantic gestures to impress that young lady. Your friends and family probably thought you were a hopeless, helpless, lovesick pup. 

Those actions may have won you the girl, but that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and take it easy. Relationships require constant maintenance.

As guys, we tend to do the same tired, easy, stereotyped stuff that we have been conditioned to think of as romantic. We’ll send flowers, candy, and then maybe take our lady out for a meal, and we are advised to buy expensive jewelry to show our ladies how much we love them. 

Those things are fine, but they lack creativity and personality. That’s still better than letting the day go by unnoticed. Some of you guys are so romantically challenged that if you even gave your lady a dollar store card she would probably need medical attention to recover from the shock. 

I will agree that Valentine’s Day often seems a sappy, mushy holiday that was created to sell candy, flowers and jewelry. But you can make it special, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. It’s a great time to think outside of the box and be creative. You’ll find that most ladies will be thrilled to receive something that came from your heart. A gift inspired by your own creativity will mean more than anything that comes from a store. If you really allow your imagination to soar, you might discover that it’s also a lot of fun and brings it’s own rewards.

Don’t just send her a bunch of flowers that wilt after a couple of days. Buy her a beautiful flowering plant. Tell her it’s just like your love for her, it keeps growing and becomes more beautiful every year. 

Store bought cards are nice, but a card you have made yourself with a message in your own words will mean even more to her. You have no artistic skills? That doesn’t matter. Even if it looks like a five-year old created it, she’ll love the thought and the effort behind it.  Unlike the store-bought cards she’ll keep it forever. 

If you really want to have fun, fill a basket with her favorite perfume, treats, gift cards to her favorite store, and other little things that she will appreciate, and hide it somewhere in the house. Then every hour, send her a romantic text message with a location clue. 

Trust me, she’ll love it.

Wait until she goes to bed the night before Valentine’s Day, and hide little love notes, or a bunch of silly, mushy valentine cards all over the house. Put them in places where you know she will discover them, and in places where she may not find them until months later. 

The possibilities are endless. You can recreate your first date. You can rent some romantic movies, the kind that big, tough men like us would never watch.  Put some romantic music on the car stereo and take her for a drive to see the sunset or the beautiful starlit sky. Get out of your comfort zone and do something that she would never expect from you.

Anyone can order flowers or buy a piece of jewelry or a box of candy, and those are all nice gifts. But when you give her a gift that that you put a lot of thought, effort and heart into, it will mean so much more. 

So c’mon, go that extra mile, do something unexpected and creative. She’ll be bragging about you to all of her friends. Of course, you may take some heat from a few husbands who made little or no effort. 

A very wise man gave me some advice that I have never forgotten. He said when it comes to romantic relationships, if you want to keep the fire burning; you have to keep putting fuel on it. 

Valentine’s Day is a great time to store up a good supply of wood to stoke the flame.

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