Guys, let’s face it. Some of us have a long way to go in the romance department. We know our wife wants it, we know we’re supposed to do it, but it just doesn’t come naturally to us.

When we first begin to court a woman, our step is lighter, and our inner Romeo is unleashed. Driven to win her heart, romantic creativity seems to flow more easily. Every day is a new surprise: flowers, candies, love notes, and dates. However, when “I want to marry this woman” turns into “We’re married for life,” we often settle into a nice, comfortable rut. The stretches between our romantic efforts grow longer and longer until we rely on Hallmark’s annual reminder that it’s Valentine’s Day.

I remember the night I realized that I had been dropping the romance ball. It was almost midnight, and my wife suddenly remembered she’d forgotten to buy some string licorice, which she needed the next morning for Sunday school. She asked me if I’d go out to the store to get some for her. So I dutifully headed off to our local store. Unfortunately, they didn’t have what I was looking for, so I drove home, preparing to tell her that she was going to have to think of something else to use.

Then it struck me, like a lightning bolt out of the clear blue sky. When we were first dating, I wouldn’t have given up so easily. When my damsel was in distress, I alone stood to save her! Back then, I would have stayed up all night if necessary, checking every store in town for string licorice.

In a moment of romantic bliss, I turned the car around and headed for another store, then another, and another. I was love-struck once again. Thankfully it didn’t take me all night — just 45 minutes. It was a small price to pay to show my wife that she was loved.

Romance is often little more than making my wife smile.

And that’s what romance is really all about. When men think of romance, we often connect it to the desired end result – sex. It could be because we’re often told, “If you would only romance me more…” Nevertheless, the end result shouldn’t be our focus. Romance is often little more than making my wife smile.

We also mistakenly think that romance always requires a five-star production. We picture hours of elaborate and expensive preparations for an event that she will never forget. But sometimes simple is better than complex, and the element of surprise can be our greatest ally. Our wives want to feel cherished for who they are and thought of when they feel they’ve been forgotten. They want to be noticed, pampered, listened to, and, more than anything, fed mounds of luscious chocolate. Actually, what they really want is just to be shown a little appreciation. Maybe you want to romance your wife, but your stockpile of ideas is running low.

If you’re looking for something other than dinner and a movie, here are eight ideas to get you started:

1. Flower power

Now, you may be thinking, “Flowers? I thought you said this was going to be creative!” Well, hold on there. You may have done the flower thing before, but an old idea can be given new life. The next time you buy your wife flowers, think outside the box. Most florists sell small glass vases for one or two dollars. Buy a dozen or so roses and the same number of vases. Put one rose in each vase, and hide them all over the house — in the kitchen, the laundry room, the bathroom, the closet, the bedroom. Then attach a pink paper heart to each one, telling her something you appreciate about her — something like, “I really appreciate the way you do my laundry every week.” Put a note on the front door saying, “You are now entering the Romance Zone. Heart Hats required!” Then get out of the house and allow her to discover it on her own!

2. Quotes for your queen

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can paint quite a picture! Enter “love quotes” or “romance quotes” into an Internet search engine. Print out the best thoughts of romantics down through the ages, and cut them out individually. Then tape them all over the house for your beloved to find (this idea will also go over big with your daughters). Sometimes, the best way to express our heart is by borrowing somebody else’s words. On the other hand…

3. Roses are red; violets are blue

Why not try to write your own poetic masterpiece? Now, wait, before you laugh, realize that your poetry does not have to compare favorably to Ralph Waldo Emerson for you to be able to do this. Remember that whole “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing. What you think is the world’s worst poem could have your wife praising you as a literary genius simply because you cared enough to express your love in this way. So dust off your quill pen and start writing!

4. A song in your heart

If you’re anything like me, you may have a lot of singing in you, but it just doesn’t seem to come out very well. Find one of those instant recording studios at the mall and record her favorite song. Gather some of your buddies together, call yourselves the Love Connection or some other romantic name, and sing the song. Alternatively, buy an album with your old dating music on it and play it before you take her out for dinner, or end the night with a dance in the middle of your ballroom (I mean, living room).

5. Why reinvent the wheel?

Leave a message on the answering machine, “I just called to tell you I appreciate you and wanted to say I love you.” Send her an email message, referring her to a website that has a poem or love song you like. Or how about digging out one of those old love letters you wrote her and re-sending it via the mail, with a “P.S. I still feel this way” added at the bottom.

6. The perfect picnic

One day at lunch, pick up her favorite food: Chinese take-out, pizza, sushi, an all dessert buffet – whatever she likes. Bring it home and slip it into a picnic basket. Lay out a blanket on your living room floor, maybe even in front of a crackling fire, and enjoy a romantic meal for two.

7. Heart attack

About a week ahead of time, send her an email that says, “Beware: the King of Hearts is going to strike.” Buy a huge bag of red cinnamon hearts, chocolate hearts, plastic hearts, or paper hearts — as many different types as you can find. Hide them everywhere you can think of: in her drawers, her purse, her cupboards, and her pockets. When she opens her wallet at the grocery store, hearts fall out. When she lowers the sun visor in her car, hearts rain down on her. The more bothersome, the better (without seriously inconveniencing her, of course)! Actually, inconvenience may be a good thing!

8. All-inclusive dinners

If you want to give your wife a fabulous evening out, but you feel overwhelmed by planning all the details, consider an all-inclusive dinner offered by many hotels and restaurants (especially around Valentine’s Day). You pay one price, covering dinner, wine, dessert, and a pair of tickets to the theatre or a sporting event (note: if you’re trying to make your wife smile, only take her to a sporting event if she actually likes sports!). This is an easy way to plan an elaborate, memorable evening together.

As I have done the unexpected things I wouldn’t normally do to express my feelings to my wife, I’ve discovered how much fun it actually is to surprise someone. Even more importantly, as I have set up some of these things, I have been reminded of how much I still love my wife. Above all, remember that romance is spelled E-F-F-O-R-T. It is fun, but it is also work. Take the time to study your wife; get a master's degree in pleasing her. Learn what it is that sets her heart fluttering, and then get to it!

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This article was written by: Dave Klassen

Photo Credit: Tim Stief