Post written by dates and romance columnist Sean Marshall of Family Rocketship.

Not too long ago, I came home with flowers. Red roses to be exact.
We all know what red roses are supposed to mean right? Love. Romance. All that jazz.
Well after about 7 years of marriage, my wife finally broke it to me that she doesn’t necessarily care for flowers.
She doesn’t like trimming them. She doesn’t like getting a vase out. And she really doesn’t like the smell of dead flowers (and the dirty flower water that comes with it).
As we talked, I learned it wasn’t just flowers.
She also didn’t care for generic cards, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, little pink teddy bears, or pretty much any other generic “romantic” gifts.
I was stumped.
All of my years of social conditioning told me, especially as a guy, that’s what you do to be romantic. Hallmark has done a great job!
So I had to go deeper.
What I found not only helped me demonstrate my feelings for my wife, but I also found it worked across the board for everyone we spoke to as well.
Let me be clear – I’m not saying that cards, flowers, and chocolates don’t work. They do for some people. My point here is that, while that’s a great start, there are more ways to be romantic.
If you’re looking to go a bit deeper in your romance with your spouse (which you always should), here are some key romance-inducing activities that will help:
Simple note – this is different from a generic Hallmark card. It’s taking the time to handwrite a note to your significant other. It can be short and sweet or something longer and perhaps more profound.
Loving Text or Email – similar to a note is a text or email. The catch is that because it’s so easy to send a text or email, you’ve really got to make it count. Take time and think of something that would be meaningful and well received on his or her end.
Service – pick a chore that he or she normally does and do it yourself. Bonus points if it’s doing something you know they don’t like to do. Mega bonus points if you do it without bringing attention to the fact you’ve done it.
Setting – create a romantic mood by creating the right setting. Clean the house. Have some nice music playing in the background. Light a candle or stoke the fireplace. This does sound a bit stereotypical but it works.
Food – food can be very sensual. Why not do it in a meaningful way together? Instead of getting fast food, try cooking a great meal and truly enjoying it. Can’t cook? Get great take out and eat it somewhere peaceful like a park or beach.
Gifts – now this one sounds an awful lot like just buying something like cards or flowers. The difference here is that the gift given ideally carries with it some real meaning. Maybe it’s something you know your spouse has been wanting for a while but just hasn’t committed to getting. Even better are homemade gifts that took time and/or skill to make.

The Big Key

The secret to all of this is that it takes work! And it takes time.
It’s more than just running in to your local drug store on the way home because you want to “get romantic”.
And that’s really the point.
The really attractive part of all of this is that he or she can see that you’ve spent time and energy actively thinking and doing for him or her.
What else? What do you like to do to increase your romance without simply buying something from the local drug store?

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