Baumhower: Valentine’s Day gift guide for dummies (men)Written by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a few dates married men collectively dread — birthdays, anniversaries and the king, Valentine’s Day. “Another Hallmark Holiday,” married guys love to complain, always downplaying the significance of Feb. 14. It’s sad that days like Valentine’s Day had to be created to remind us to tell those we hold so dearly that we love them. What makes it sadder are the attitudes that some men, more married than not, have as they ignore the message of the day and blame companies like Hallmark.
They feel obligated and maybe pressured to give their significant others uninspired presents like candy, flowers and jewelry without seizing the moment to express themselves. Some men have the same annual V-Day gift-giving routine — Flowers from Ken’s or Bartz, delivered to her work with a generic message on the card, or chocolate-covered Oreos from Christie’s. Both are amazing gifts, but can it be better? This role behavior that we, as men, occasionally take pride in is the very same patented formula that is leading us toward failed marriages, affairs and then divorce. Consider me the Valentine’s Day version of George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but instead of finding the meaning of Christmas, I have found the importance of Feb. 14.
While going through my divorce almost four years ago, I realized that my heart had been drowning in words yet I had remained silent. Simple, well-timed “I love yous” or a more regular expression of how I really felt may have changed the course of my marriage and saved my kids from becoming nomads. These are things I have learned post-divorce, after reviewing the countless tapes in my head like an NFL head coach the Monday following a loss. Just like Jimmy Stewart did, I am now shouting through the streets of suburbia, trying to wake men up from their “comfort” before it’s too late.
Here are some new Valentine’s Day ideas for dummies (men):
- Cellphone-free dinner: Take her to her favorite restaurant and right before you leave the car, open the glove compartment and surprise her by placing both of your cellphones inside. It is a small but free gesture that should make her smile. Let her know that dinner will be uninterrupted and your conversation is the entertainment.
- Extreme kitchen takeover: For those couples where the woman is primarily in charge of cooking, here’s an opportunity for you to warm her heart. Simply surprise her by making dinner for two. If you have kids, maybe grandma and grandpa (or whoever else you use) will host a sleepover. The gift here is doing something you normally wouldn’t. If you are not confident in the kitchen or have no idea what to make, go online to find a recipe that fits the bill. It’s romantic and delicious. Make sure you pick up a bottle or two of her favorite wine as well.
- Random Facebook post: If you are on Facebook like most of the free world, shock her by posting a meaningful photograph of the two of you together. Then, when Facebook asks for a description, use your heart and find words to tell her exactly how you feel. If you are not great with words, maybe use some of your vows, or vows you wished you would have said. Pro tip: Do not “tag” her in the photo, that way she is surprised when other people tell her.
- Mixtape master: How long has it been since you have made a mixtape? OK, maybe we don’t make “tapes” anymore, but you can still burn her a CD from a playlist you’ve created. The music you select should represent the soundtrack of your marriage, anything from your couple song, concerts you’ve attended to favorites you have gained along the way. The fact that it is a CD allows room for you to write little notes on the CD cover; make sure you utilize the space. Every word matters, never leave one unsaid. Pro tip: If you are not great with music I have you covered, find my V-Day playlist. Remember, it is about the break from the norm, the thought behind the gift.
- Text from nowhere: If you are not one who overly expresses your words, try to find some and send them to her in an unexpected text. There has to be a reason why you fell in love with this woman, so why not remind her with one or many random texts.
- Gift from the future: Most of the ideas above are targeting men who have been married for some time, but I have not forgotten you rookies. If you are a newlywed with a pregnant wife/girlfriend or have a newborn, why not start your relationship on the right foot by giving her a gift from the baby? You can give her an empty photo album with a favorite family picture on the cover, or maybe just the ultrasound photo on the first page. Another idea for a pregnant wife is to buy an outfit for the baby to wear home from the hospital. Show her how you see the future, not just today.
If you are reading this and you think that I am wrong, that all women do not like to have overly expressive babbling men as husbands, maybe you are right, but where is the harm in exploring? The perfect Valentine’s Day gift is the one she would never expect, it is one from your soul and not your wallet. I am not saying for you to not give gifts, but make sure that every element of the gift is thought out in advance. Never underestimate the gift of your thought.
Men and women are different by design … trust me, women love an overly expressive babbling man, especially if he is babbling over her.
Follow Jeremy Baumhower on Twitter @jeremytheproduc or friend him on Facebook.