For me, Valentine's Day has never been a huge ordeal--if I am in a relationship, a faint expectation of a card, flowers, or a dinner might cross my mind, but I rarely expect grandiose gestures. This of course allows for the one exception in middle school, during which my boyfriend (the same gentleman who asked me out via a flight attendant over the loudspeaker on a class trip to DC) ensured I received one carnation every period of the day, culminating with a bouquet of roses, a teddy bear, and a mix CD that evening. A small part of me misses young love, filled with endless romantic overlays to mask the lack of any authentic emotional or physical intimacy. And then I remember going through puberty, and I'm over i
Since then, my experience with this Hallmark holiday has been filled (depending on my relationship status) with quiet nights over beers and burgers at a local brewery, movies, homemade dinners, or bar crawls. Every relationship and the associated expectations of the people in it are different, but one almost universally appreciated act is the small thoughtful one. One guy I dated would bring Culver's back for me whenever he'd visit his brother (if you've never enjoyed the delight that is Culver's, and you're not a vegetarian, find the closest one you can in the burbs. It's worth the drive.) I never expected it, there were no obligations tied to it, and it's one of my fondest memories of our relationship. The bonus of this type of action is in the fact that giving it is as enjoyable--if not more so--as receiving. Altruism aside, doing something thoughtful for your partner, especially if it's based on a detail only you know, can strengthen your relationship in the small subtle way that really matters. Indeed, actively seeking out these opportunities can boost not only the health of the partnership, but also your perception of it. When I wash and fold my boyfriend's laundry, bring him back Chik-fil-a from a business trip, drop him off at work, or choose a movie I know he would like over the latest romantic comedy, my feelings towards our overall relationship are happier. So this Valentine's day, why not come up with a way to treat your love that's less about oversize bouquets and more about matters of the heart. Make a favorite meal, complete an errand or favor she keeps asking you to do (trust me boys, this can have huge reward), pick up a book or movie mentioned in passing--whatever it takes to show you're listening (this, of course, requires actually listening.) And who knows, maybe this will start a domino effect lasting the whole year--after all, isn't the idea of Valentine's Day to celebrate the love you're lucky enough to have every day?
What are you doing for Valentine's Day, readers? Apologies for the lighter posting the last couple days--I was on a train to Colorado! I'll be skiing in Breckinridge until next week, when I'll post a full recap. Don't worry--until then, I'll have new posts lined up on the regular schedule, so check back here daily for the standard AAB fun.
And follow me on twitter @brooklynn15. You'll probably get a peek at some embarrassing attempts of me learning to ski.
p.s. Check out my other post on romance here.
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