Crash Planning for Valentine's Day


Rich Bennet gives men helpful tips on how to make Valentine's Day special.

OK, I admit it. Back in my undergrad days, I often put off preparing for tests and projects until the last possible hour.

Maybe that’s the circumstance you now find yourself in – cramming for the Hallmark holiday that is Valentine’s Day. The day is upon you and … you've got nothing.

A friend of mine insists that he and his wife have mutually agreed they will not celebrate Valentine’s Day, instead opting to "treat each other special year round." To me, that just sounds like a big trick that ends with me being in trouble.

So, if you aren’t married to a woman with whom you’ve struck such an accord, what do you do? Here are a few practical ideas for the Valentine’s Day-planning delinquents. Along with each of these ideas, adding a card with just the right sentiment is always a plus. (This is a Hallmark holiday, after all.)

A List of Your Top 10 … 25 … or 50 Favorite Things about Your Wife: The length of the list depends on how ambitious and creative you are. I created a "Top 25 Reasons I Love my Wife" list one year, and it definitely requires some dedicated thinking to be meaningful. What are those characteristics you most treasure about the way God made your wife – physically, relationally and spiritually? Sprinkle in a few light-hearted reasons (e.g., "the way you look when you fall asleep in the car") to keep it from becoming too schmaltzy. Frame it, or print it on nice paper, to make it a true keepsake. My wife created a similar list for me that I’ve hung onto for years. If you’ve never done one, now might the time.

The Mix CD: Replacing the "mix tape" that lovebirds of the 80s and 90s used to exchange, this could be a compilation of songs that have special meaning for you and your wife over the years – or simply ones that have a great message you want to share. I suppose if you wanted to truly modernize it, you’d create for her a "Spotify Mix."

Flowers: It may seem cliché, but the reality is: Most women like flowers. And most flower shops and grocery stores are all too happy to gouge guys like you and I who waited until the last possible moment to act. If that’s you, you’re already in for a decent investment, so consider having them delivered to help make it extra special.

Buy Her an Outfit: Early in our marriage, with fear and trepidation, I forged out a few days before Valentine’s Day to purchase my wife an outfit. Armed with the correct dress size obtained from clothing items I knew were her favorite, I wandered into a store I knew she liked. The saleswoman there – perceiving my slightly overwhelmed look – effectively extracted a few key details and helped me find a dress my wife really liked. More than anything, I know she appreciated the effort and sentiment.

Dinner and a Movie … at Home: This is not intended to be a cheapskate way out of Valentine’s Day. It’s about you taking the time to plan – or make, or secure – a meal and pick out a movie that you know your wife will particularly enjoy. I did this one year, preparing a simple three-course meal and selecting a wartime romance I knew my wife would enjoy. This is likely not the time to opt for the latest action-explosion film. As always, Plugged In can help make sure you don’t misstep content wise.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family: Maybe you can’t execute the prior suggestion because you don’t have a place for the kids to go. Here’s a thought: Make this Valentine’s Day one for the whole family. Get the kids involved in making dinner special. The simple fact that your wife doesn't have to be involved makes it special. After dinner, bring out those pre-marriage and wedding day photos and enjoy them together, sharing memories from your early days as a couple. Watch your wedding video, if you have it. Share in front of your children some of the things you most appreciate about your wife – and encourage the kids to do the same.

Written by Rich Bennett  

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