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Our romantic pre-Valentine’s dinner consisted of an expertly prepared steak, served on the finest of paper china, and serenaded by the sound of laughing children and the soundtrack of The Land Before Time 14. OK, it was a far cry from the romantic, fireside, quiet evening I would have planned 10 years ago when we were newlyweds.

After all, being overwhelmed by the crowds at what is arguably the most artificial of all holidays is for rookies . . . or suckers. Real men make Valentine’s Day look weak. We don’t need some fat cherub shooting love arrows or disappointing overpriced boxes of mystery chocolate (that make you bite each one until you get that one caramel piece you want, but let her have) to show just how much we love our special someone.

So here is the manly man’s guide to not just be a player, but how to change the romance game.

It’s not always about sex.

Now fellas don’t get me wrong, marriage has its amazing benefits among which guilt-free, deeply committed, rock your world lovin’’ is most certainly one of them; but believe it or not, your wife needs more than just physical romance.

Even though she has been blessed with a modern day mortal incarnation of a Roman gladiator for a husband, what women also need is genuine connection. When was the last time you took her out for coffee or tea and just listened to her? I mean, REALLY listened to her, asked questions, engaged in meaningful conversation, discussed her dreams, and your future together as a couple?

The good news is that you can do this anytime during the other 364 days of the year.

Engage in chore-play.

I have found that the fastest way to my wife’s heart is oftentimes a clean kitchen sink. Women will tell you that there is perhaps nothing hotter than a man who helps out around the house. Nothing kills the mood like putting on your “A” game, having candles and music ready only to be asked, “Did you clean the dishes?”

When you have done your part to make sure the house is clean, the kids are put to bed (or occupied by Netflix), and the house is in order, what you are really doing is showing how much you value, appreciate, and love your wife.

This may not have been in your grandfather’s guide to husbandry, but it is a sure fire way to warm the heart of your valentine and set the mood.

Invest time in your marriage.

You can do it, put the phone down (well, not until you have finished reading this post) and literally connect with your wife. Recently, Jenn and I were at one of our favorite restaurants and noticed many young couples on dates. At least I think that’s what they still call them . . . the couples spent most of the time staring at their phones instead of talking with each other.

Deep down people long to be truly known by someone in a meaningful way, and that’s hard to do when you say less than 10 words to each other over dinner. So, put the phone on silent or better yet, keep it in the car when you go out on your date. You are making one of the most important investments in your future, so make the most of it.

Remember to show your sweet side.

Affection does not always have to lead to a homerun. Sweet touches that show affection are a great non-verbal expression of love. A gentle rub of the arm, back, or neck can not only provide a feeling of affection but when accompanied by an affirming word this can touch the heart better than a Hallmark card can.

You see, even after 11 years together, she still needs to know that I adore her, and that I am looking for ways every day to show her that I love her more than I did the day before. Valentine’s is not only about the candles, fireside romantic setup, and best of Percy Sledge album.

It’s really about remembering why you love that special someone and continuing to discover what you can do to show your love for them more and more. So, here is to the next 50 years of being in love and living this crazy life beside my Valentine!

Justin Murff is chairman of Millennials for Marriage.

Reposted with permission. This blog originally appeared here.