Did you know that August is National Romance Awareness month? While we’re pretty sure you all know what romance is, we think it’s important to be reminded that in any relationship, romance is important. Some people say you should never stop dating your partner, even after you move in together, have kids or get married. You’re too busy to be romantic, you say? We’ve got some great ideas to show your love that are easy and cheap but incredibly thoughtful and sweet. Here are our 15 romantic gestures to keep the sparks flying no matter how long you’re been together.
1. Closeness is key. Sitting next to each other on the couch, holding hands or even walking side by side is something you can and should do every day. When you let physical space come between you and your partner on a regular basis, you’re allowing emotional space to creep in as well. If you’ve got some PDA hang-ups, don’t worry. You can be conservative about your showing of affection, but you should show it in some fashion. Try using this rule of thumb—If you were a stranger and saw you and your partner walking down the street, would you think you were a couple? If not, try looking like one and close that physical gap.
2. Leave little love notes. If you’ve got Post-Its and pens in your house, then you’re already halfway there. This doesn’t have to be a sonnet, just something sweet or a heartfelt “thank you” for something your partner has done for your or your household lately. Get silly with a cute little doodle or even tell a short joke for an easy giggle. Leave love notes in places your partner will find them during their regular routines, whether it’s on the bathroom mirror, coffee pot or ice cream container. This act of spontaneity keeps your relationship fresh and exciting.
3. Write long love letters. OK so this one does take a little more time but this is perfect for when you are apart for business trips, vacations, etc. When you are away, pen a love letter and express your true feelings for this special person. Keep it sincere or get a little flirty. There is no wrong way to write to your lover as long as you stay away from the mundane like details about your trip or your day. There will be plenty of time to talk about stuff like that when you reunite. Send the letter in the mail, no matter when you’re slated to return. It will be a nice surprise brought right to their doorstep.
4. Send sweet texts. Sending a little text just to say “hi” will always brighten someone’s day. Any time your partner crosses your mind throughout the day is a good time to text them and tell them all about it. Maybe you heard a joke that reminded you of them or walked past an old haunt you two used to frequent back in the good ole’ days when you had more time and were just getting to know each other. Don’t let moments of missing them or feeling nostalgic pass you by. Share them in just a few taps on your phone.
5. Cook together. Plan a meal, go grocery shopping and cook that meal together. Not only are you spending time together, you are collaborating, delegating and producing something you can both be proud of and enjoy together (unless you burn it, of course). Cooking and eating is a sensual experience. Get into it! Go all out and plan three courses, complete with a decadent dessert you can share with two spoons.
6. Learn to master their favorite dish. This one is perfect for non-cohabiting couples because you’ll have plenty of space and privacy to learn this special skill in secret. Wow your partner by not only learning to cook their absolute favorite meal in the world, but by knocking it out of the park. Find a recipe, try it out, tweak it and make it your own according to their taste and liking. Seriously, they will worship you once they are done chowing down.
7. Send them cute animal pictures. If nothing makes their heart melt more than seeing a cat and dog take a naptogether or a baby sloth getting a bath, send it to them via text, email or Facebook message. Make this a private exchange. It’s one thing to share these little bits of viral cuteness with the rest of your socialsphere but it’s a little more special when you send it directly to your one and only. Reddit.com/r/aww is also a chock full of adorbs.
8. Prepare a home spa. If you know your partner is about to come home after a particularly brutal day, help them unwind with an at-home spa. Run a bath, provide a clean and comfy robe, buy or make some luxurious bath bombs, light some scented candles and put on a record that will promote absolute chillness to create one zen-tastic space in which they can melt the day away. Don’t engage in conversation, just lead them toward their personal spa for one, exit and close the door behind you. There will be plenty of time to talk afterward about all the obstacles they faced, but hopefully their outlook will greatly improve by the time they towel off. This may not seem very romantic, but giving your partner some “me time” when they really need it is a loving, selfless act for which they will be totally grateful.
9. Engage in each others hobbies. Most likely, you both have some unique interests that you might not necessarily share. Whether it’s sports, music, crafting, scuba diving, stamp collecting, whatever, set aside some time to experience your partner’s hobbies. Notice, we say experience because we know you might not necessarily enjoy these things. The important thing is that you are present, you give it a try and most importantly, you witness them in their element. Even if you find out you don’t have a powerful yen for building HAM radios after all, chances are you will still get a kick out of seeing them completely geek out over something.
10. Give small, random gifts. Who doesn’t love a cheesy little gift now and then, just because? Again, this small token of affection can be anything that will make your partner laugh or remind them of special times you shared. Also, you get extra points if the gift happens to be something you partner has talked about wanting or planning to buy for themselves. This shows you actually listen to them, and believe us, that’s the best gift you can give. In the digital age when we are all glued to our phones, finding out someone is paying attention to us can be a rare commodity.
11. Take them on a surprise date. A lot of couple like to practice a regular date night. But that’s the thing about romantic ideas. If you are expecting them, they are somehow a little less romantic. Plan a surprise date! It doesn’t have to be super elaborate, maybe a nighttime picnic in the backyard or last-minute tickets to a movie with a babysitter ready to watch the kids. If your offices are close-by, maybe stop by unannounced to take your partner out to lunch. Romantic surprises like these keep your relationship from becoming completely routine.
12. Take the kids. Yes, please. Take them. Whether your partner is a stay-at-home parent or a working one, chances are they can use a little quiet time. And even though it’s something they really need, some parents have trouble asking for this small luxury they certainly took for granted before kids came along and turned their lives upside down. So without warning, take those kids to a movie, to grab a burger, to your mother’s house, to the moon, anywhere and leave your partner at home. They will feel supported and cared for, which always leaves room for romance.
13. Buy them an outfit. We know this is a tricky one because not everyone likes to be dressed by another person. But if you feel like you know your partner’s personal style well enough, splurge on an outfit for them. This will show them that you appreciate them as a delicious piece of eye candy and thought they would look great in some shiny new wrappings.
14. Get dressed up. No matter if you are staying in or going out, get all gussied up, especially if it’s been a while since your partner has seen you put your A-game on. Break out the fancy dress shoes and sport coat. Expertly apply the red lipstick and little black dress. Create the look that makes you feel like you can turn any head on the sidewalk. That confidence is always attractive.
15. Give a foot or back massage without be asked. Touch is the biggest ingredient in a romance cocktail. But touch that relieves stress or physical pain is simple amazing. If your partner has an active job (like carrying your child) or they’ve just had a rough day, give them a little massage to help ease the tension. Make them putty in your hands.
Which of these romantic ideas will you be planning to do with your partner? Comment below!
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Briana is a shopaholic whose newest obsession is matching top-and-skirt sets (but she also can’t resist a good jumpsuit). She loves rock music, horror movies and is an all-around pop culture junkie. She is, without fail, always down for karaoke. Her blog, Mamafierce, is a chronicle of personal fashion, body positivity and the adventures of motherhood. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three-year-old son and tortoiseshell cat, Divvy.