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16 Everyday Romantic Gestures
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Remember when "date night" was just "dinner?" Candlelight, flowers and restaurant reservations may have been the norm when you were dating. But with kids and jobs and homes and pets, who has the time for grand romantic gestures? Good news: you can still fit a little romance into your daily routine (and remember, the small stuff adds up). The key is to be creative, and pay attention to the details. Read on for 15 ways to make romance a daily habit—and use our send-to-a-friend link to fill him in too!
Come Up With a Secret Sign
There's nothing that creates a world-of-two feeling more than your own private language. Create a secret gesture that means "You are adorable right now," "I've got your back," or simply, "I love you." Use at parties, over a family game of Monopoly, or during that boring parent-teacher conference to make a connection without saying a word.
Whenever you're hands-free—strolling, in the car, sitting on the couch watching Idol—make a point of holding hands. Innocent and sweet, it will remind you of that time long ago when just that was enough to get your heart racing.
Be a Morning Flirt
Start the day off right with a flirty gesture. Do it first thing before you go into busy mode and forget. Pinch his bum, kiss him on the lips (morning breath be damned) or just say, "Good morning, handsome."
- Valerie Fischel
Break up the monotony of logistics-centered texts about what's for dinner by sending a no-reason, just-because-I-love-you text. Bonus points if you make it a little naughty.
Light 'Em Up
Everyone looks better—and feels a little sexier—in candlelight. So whip out the candles and share a meal in their soft glow, even if it's leftovers in front of the TV.
Make a Lunch Date
The planning of date night—booking the sitter, dealing with teary goodbyes, finding the energy to stay up past dessert—can be overwhelming. Take the fuss out of the equation by making a plan to meet for lunch instead. If your kids are in school, childcare won't be a problem—and if they aren't, make a plan to swap kid duties with another mom for an hour or two.
Leave a Message
Mornings are so hectic. Sometimes it's hard to find time to say goodbye to each other, much less something really heartfelt. So when you have a quiet moment—and when he's not around—leave a sweet message for him to listen to when he gets to the desk in the morning. The little surprise will get his work day off to a good start—and who knows? Maybe he'll return the favor.
- Valerie Fischel
Make a List
You're all about the lists to keep your household running, but here's one that doesn't involve housework or errands. Keep a list of all the little reasons you love him—and share it with him periodically. Cheesy? Yes. But he'll love it just the same.
Make a Big Deal out of Little Victories
Did he finally land that client? Finish that 5K? Pop open a bottle of champagne to make a fuss over the little accomplishments, instead of waiting for the biggies.
Brag About Him
They say it's not nice to brag, but your friends will forgive you if it's in the name of marital bliss. Think he really wears that suit? Post it on Facebook. Adore how sweet he is with the baby? Bring it up—subtly but loud enough that he can hear—at your next dinner party.
- Valerie Fischel
Say It With a Post-it
Didn't you used to love finding a note in your locker back in high school? Revisit the concept by leaving him little notes where you know he'll find them—the bathroom mirror, his gym bag, the fridge. Dotting your I's with hearts optional.
The next time you're steaming over his dirty socks on the floor, take a moment to replay a happy time you shared together, a la guided meditation in yoga class. Even better, mention it to him. Taking a walk down memory lane can help jolt things into perspective and remind why you love him so darn much, smelly socks and all.
Say Please and Thank You
You tell the kids to mind their manners all the time, but do you practice what you preach? Sometimes the person who's closest to you gets the short end of the stick as far as courtesy. Say thank you—often—to let your partner feel appreciated, and model good behavior for your kids while you're at it.
Build in Cuddle Time
Can't find time to be intimate? Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual and use that time for a morning quickie or just to cuddle. Believe us: 15 minutes isn't going to make a difference in how rested you are, but it may make you feel much more connected.
Buy a Gift for No Reason
We're not talking jewelry or even flowers here—it's the little things, remember?—and no presents aimed to get you out of the doghouse. Pick up a book he'd like, buy and load a new song onto his iPod or simply pick up his favorite candy at the supermarket checkout for no other reason that you know it will put a smile on his face.