Two years ago my husband and I found ourselves on the eve of Valentine’s Day with no plans. It fell on a weekend that year so there was plenty of time to do something. The act of giving gifts isn’t necessarily either of our love languages. We also have very different activities that we enjoy in addition to our shared interests. So here is what we came up with:
- We each took a piece of paper and wrote down 5 or 6 things that we personally would enjoy doing that weekend. It didn’t matter that they likely wouldn't be on the other's top 5 list.
- We traded lists and each circled two things from the other’s list that we would agree to do together that weekend.
To give you one example, our weekend included crosswords at a coffee shop (my thing) and going to the Science Museum (his thing).
You likely have activities that you and your partner enjoy doing together. You may also (hopefully) have individual interests and activities that you do on your own and then reunite to tell about. This is what keeps the relationship interesting. What I love about this activity is it allows your partner a glimpse into your world - what you really enjoy as an individual person, not necessarily as a partner in a relationship. And it allows this without the expectation that this has to become something they like too. The fact that a partner can openly acknowledge that an activity isn’t necessarily their "thing", but they are willing to whole-heartedly experience it with the other is a very kind and intimate gesture. It says you're open to learning and letting the other take the lead. It celebrates and respects your individuality within a relationship.
Last year, like this year, Valentine’s Day fell on a weeknight. With less time available, we each picked just one thing off each other’s list that we could do that night. You can still make a list of 3-5 things that are reasonable to do on an evening night and each choose one. Or, make the list on Valentine's Day, then make plans to fulfill the list that next weekend or another day that makes sense for you.
Even if you’re home-bound due to kids, budget, illness, weather, whatever the case; you can make it a “home theme” of each writing down 3-5 things you'd like to do while at home. Try to make it out of the norm of what you usually do. A board game? Dancing? Baking? Video game? A workout? Meditate? Throw the football? See what you each come up with. Delight in the surprise of what your partner picks from your list, then invite them into your world.
Maybe you’re not in a relationship, or maybe you’re not in the same location as your partner. Go ahead and make your own list. What are 3-5 things you would really enjoy doing? Pick one. Or maybe you do the old “close your eyes and choose”.