Romance doesn’t always come neatly tucked in a red envelope or the typical bouquet of red roses. If Valentine’s Day is the only time of  year you put your romantic side into play, then you’re missing out big time. Romance does not just apply to fairytales or languages, and it should not be dictated by the calendar year. When done right it can be simple, stress-free and still special. We’re not talking 50 Shades of Grey here, more like five realistic ways anyone can revel in their love affair all year long. Remember it’s not always about the getting, the giving can be just as satisfying.


Write it Down In a world where computers rule and text-induced thumb arthritis is seen in teens, the idea of finding a pen and piece of paper may seem pointless. However, the simple act of writing down your thoughts, actually using penmanship, shows you put in a little effort. Literally 2 minutes is all it takes to jot down a sweet thought or a sexy note and tuck it your partners glove compartment or pants pocket. I travel often for work and always leave a note. I might tuck it under my husband’s pillow or even use my lipstick to write on the bathroom mirror—complete with kisses of course. Perhaps it’s because it’s more surprising or rare, whatever the reasoning, this method is better, more endearing and more powerful than an email or text, and it is most definitely more romantic.

Light it Up
While candles top the list of most often re-gifted items, these wax- wrapped wicks are magic in the romance department. Whether it’s in the bathroom, at the kitchen table or even in the bathroom, it’s romantic. You probably already have at least one in a drawer or closet somewhere. The dim flickering light candles lend a room, creates a serene, soothing and romantic vibe. No need for dozens, two tapered candles are all you need to create a little romance any night of the week.

Change of Scenery
If you always eat dinner together in front of the TV or make love in your bedroom, simply switch it up. When things become too routine and expected, they become boring, and that is the complete opposite of romantic. Try eating in the dining room or even set up to eat on the floor with a blanket, picnic-style, while you’re at it you can light a candle or two. Turn off the T.V. and make eye contact. You’ll be surprised how your conversations change, and when the opportunity to reconnect is there you’re sure to feel the romance. As for the bedroom, this gets a little trickier especially if roommates or children may be roaming the halls. But if given the chance be spontaneous and simply go for a change of scenery. It’s sure to be an adventure that has you both smiling, and that’s romantic.

Surprise Me
Everyone likes to be surprised, even if they say otherwise. I don’t mean scare your mate or throw them a surprise party. For instance, set up a dinner date on the fly and arrange for a babysitter, if needed. I don’t know one person in the world who wouldn’t see that as romantic. If either of those are out of the budget, go for a walk together (holding hands of course) or open a bottle of wine on a weeknight. Even simpler—skip the sweatpants tonight when hanging out and put on your cutest outfit. If you look and feel good for yourself that sets the scene for a little romance. Confidence is sexy, sweatpants not so much.

Keep it Simple
Even if you think it does’t fall in the romance department you may be surprised how simply paying attention to your loved one could score you big points. One year, when doing the long- distance relationship thing, after I got a promotion my husband sent me cd player and a few cd’s for me celebrate (yes, we’re old we also had cassettes). I thought it was so romantic and it just may have been the catalyst for our long-distance thing turning into shared quarters shortly afterwards. Last week, a friend told me that her husband fixed a toilet in their home and she was gushing that it was the best Valentine’s Gift ever. Maybe you take down that painting they really don’t care for, or you turn off your phone when you’re together in the evenings. Romance isn’t just heart-shaped boxes and candlelit dinners, it’s being kind and caring for your partner in all the little ways that matter, whether that be flowers or fixing toilets.

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