My all-time favorite gift of love from my husband came not on Valentine’s Day, but at Christmas last year. It had been a particularly rough year for us due in part to the challenges of running a business in a tough economy, plus the added stress of helping a family member get through a crisis. Though we tried to make the holidays a special time for celebrating friends and family, there were the occasional moments of sadness and longing for the carefree days before marriage and family and entrepreneurship.
I can remember lashing out at my husband one afternoon as we were decorating the tree, chastising him for not helping me more with the Christmas shopping, most of which was for his family members (my stepsons, mother-in-law, daughters-in-law, and grandkids). Things escalated to the point where I accused him of not being thoughtful enough when choosing gifts for me, after which I dissolved in tears and stormed out of the room. (Pretty surprising for a fire sign, Aries ram, right?)
I guess this outburst resonated pretty deeply with my husband, who truly is a very caring and thoughtful person. Because on Christmas morning, as we sat admiring the Christmas tree with his mother, he handed me a small box carefully wrapped in his signature style. Inside the box was another hand-rubbed wooden box with a heart-shaped beach stone perched on the top. I lifted the latch and looked inside only to fine 10 carefully typed notes from my husband. The first one read “Reason #1 Why I love you…”, and beneath that a special message that only he and I could understand. Number 1 was followed by #2, 3, 4 and so on through #10. As I read each one, silent tears rolled down my cheeks. Each reason was so thoughtfully scripted, so artfully designed to capture what made us such a perfect couple together. I sobbed like a baby that Christmas morning. But they were tears of sheer joy for having such a remarkable man for my husband.
That gift of love so painstakingly crafted, yet so simple, is my most cherished possession. I told my husband when it is time for me to leave this earth, I will be taking that box of love messages with me.
Thinking about that now, as I contemplate the perfect Valentine’s gift for my husband, it occurred to me that a real gift of love has no price tag. To demonstrate how much you love someone means only creating a memory. So do something out-of-the-ordinary this Valentine’s day. Plan something so unexpected, so unique that remembering it together will be just as much fun as doing it. Here are a few of ideas I am considering for my husband this year:
1. Create a romantic scavenger hunt for your loved one. Scout out photos, gifts, trinkets, maps, tokens, or anything that you have been saving that reminds you of a special/fun/romantic time the two of you spent together. Map out a route through your home/yard/neighborhood/town that will lead your honey to discover these items and leave a special note with each one that tells why it was so special for you. If you really want to get creative, use GPS coordinates for a “geo-caching” adventure.
2. Plan a day at the spa together and get head-to-toe makeovers. Take before, during, and after pictures to remember the day.
3. Take a cooking class together. Find a class that features your favorite region/style of cooking, then plan to cook a special dinner for each other once a month.
4. Pack a champagne breakfast picnic and set the alarm to get up early and to watch the sunrise together.
5. Give back to the community you live in, by volunteering together. Donate your time to feeding the homeless, caring for puppies at a local shelter or spending time with residents of a local nursing home.
6. Go to the beach (weather permitting) and build a sand castle together. If you live far from the beach, get some playbox sand and build one in the garage, on your deck, or in the yard.
7. Make a play list of your favorite love songs and put it on a CD (or add it to his/her iPod) for the commute to and from work.
8. Make a top 10 list of reasons you love him/her. Put them in a special box and leave it on the pillow.
9. Take a ballroom dancing class together, then plan a night on the town with dinner and dancing at least once a month.
10. Plan a special romantic weekend getaway. Make the reservations, pack a suitcase full of sexy under things, and surprise your honey with a trip for two to your favorite inn. If you need help setting the stage for a romantic getaway, take a look at what we have planned for our guests. We still have a couple of rooms left for Valentine’s weekend. And, if your lucky, I’ll show you the “love box” my husband made for me.