Dear guys,

I just read a post on The Art of Manliness and freaked out at the thought that someone might actually try the advice offered in the article. I deeply appreciate the author’s attempt at romance and I respect that his wife loved it, but I would not recommend this as a Valentine’s Day gift. First of all it looks dangerous to make, and secondly, while it’s definitely inexpensive, I just don’t see how it would be romantic. Heartwarming, yes, in a “He tried!” sort of way. Romantic? I don’t see how.

Just after Christmas, right when the stores started to turn red in preparation for Thursday, I considered writing a post to share with many guys, who I was sure were already panicking, how they could get meaningful gifts for their significant others without breaking the bank. I probably should have taken the time to write it.

I’ll do this one quickly. You don’t have to do exactly as I suggest, but hopefully this gets the thinking wheels rolling and ignites even better ideas.

The first thing you need to do is know your woman’s love language. I’ll give an example to illustrate why: My primary love languages are quality time, words of affirmation, and then maybe physical touch. I don’t care too much for gifts (while I enjoy receiving them, I can go without them, whereas I cannot go without spending time with those I love) and I am almost indifferent to acts of service. Take out the trash, or don’t – if you take too long to do it, I’ll do it myself. So you can see how changing my oil or buying me a new car as a birthday gift would bless me, but it would not really make too much sense to me as a gift. In the same way, writing a love letter to my good friend Lauretta will touch her deeply, but it had better come with a gift and a surprise party if you want her to have a blast.

Get it? Okay, quickly now, since I know you want me to get to the point.

Love language: Acts of service.

Idea: Cook her a meal, do the oil change, paint her kitchen (or the kitchen, if you’re married) that color she’s been saying she wants it to be, or even, as some wise person suggested, make fake tickets offering one act of service per day for a month beginning on Val’s, and live up to that. Feb 14th, you’ll cook, 15th, you’ll do the dishes, 16th you’ll brush the snow off her car, etc…

Caveat: This gift does not include things you are technically SUPPOSED to do, like taking out the trash or opening doors.

Love language: Gifts

Idea: Make her something meaningful.

The thing with people who love gifts, however, is that the meaningfulness of the gift is usually proportional to the PRICE of the gift.It usually has to be a sacrifice for it to mean something. So maybe the inexpensive part of things doesn’t feature here.

Love language: Physical Touch

Idea/Caveat: This one is a little tricky for those who are not married. Massages and foot-rubs can get a little too steamy. Maybe do her nails.

Love language: Quality time.

Ideas: We quality-timers are VERY easy to please. All you need to do is make time, which can be very difficult for some people. Something as simple as a phone call during your break at work, or a quick date on a busy day, could go a long way in making the day special. Make a meal together, sing her a song, take a walk. Seriously, you don’t even have to do anything. Just being there and giving her your attention is enough.

Caveat: Watching something together, especially if it’s something YOU like, like a sports match, does NOT count. You’re in the same room, but she has to be your focus.

Love language: Words of affirmation.

Ideas: Write her a letter telling her all the reasons why you love her. Record a video of yourself telling her or singing to her what a wonderful person she is. Sing her a song. This usually is cutest if your voice is really good or REALLY bad. Get a jar and cut up tiny pieces of paper; write down 365 reasons why you think she’s the business and let her take out and read one each day for a year. Basically, all you need to do is say what God says about her, add your twist to it, and you’re good. She will keep the gift for years.

Caveat: She might want another jar next year.

We women are simple creatures! I’m yet to meet someone who has just one love language, so mix it up according to hers. You might take time off to spend the entire day with the lovely lady in your life, but if she likes gifts, then she won’t feel loved if you go to her empty-handed. You might buy a piece of jewelry worth millions and couple that with chocolates, but if she is a quality time person, then you had better spend time with her after giving her the gift, otherwise it won’t make sense. You can buy her ten cars, but if you insult her and never tell her you love her, then the woman whose primary love language is words of affirmation will feel rejected and despised. I’m sure you catch my drift. Know your woman.

All the best, have fun and let me know how it goes! And remember, you’ll be okay. If the woman in your life is a sensible one, then she will care more for who you are than for what you do for her on one day of the year.

(How do I know someone is going to come and ask me to write a similar letter to the ladies? LOL!)

Love,

Pea.

PS: Please don’t make it too intense if you’ve just met her!