Get it right this Valentine’s Day

a happy couple

Like most things having anything to do with women, Valentine’s Day is laden with signals that are crystal clear to them and about as comprehensible as Greek to you. A dozen roses? Signal: “He’s lazy.” A box of chocolates? “He doesn’t really care.” So what’s a man to do? Start with two words: Think creatively. And with a few tips from Men’s Life Today’s experts, you’ll be able to fill her Valentine’s Day with a few unique and unexpected surprises that will signal only one thing — this guy deserves my love.

 Watch and learn
“The number one desire of most women is to be understood,” explains London-based relationship advisor Paula Rosdol, founder of So you’ll need to sharpen up your powers of observation. Pay attention to her likes and dislikes and especially to everything she contributes to your relationship. “Strive to do, say and buy things for your partner that have a special meaning for her,” says Rosdol. “For example, if she loves to cook for you, take her to a Michelin-star restaurant and buy her that kitchen gadget she’s been eyeing up.” 

If it just won’t feel like Valentine’s Day to you without the traditional flowers and chocolates, Rosdol suggests you at least add a twist to it. For example, present her with a single rose in a beautiful Murano glass vase that she can keep forever, or if your budget allows, a nice box of Swiss chocolates with a card inviting her for a weekend skiing holiday in the Alps.

Plan ahead
As with most things, preparation is key to a successful Valentine’s Day. “Romantic hotels and restaurants generally inflate their prices and are booked up months beforehand, so if you want to take her somewhere special, you’re going to need to plan well in advance,” says James Preece, a.k.a. The Dating Guru from “Or make reservations for the same hotel or restaurant for the following weekend, when prices are lower, and go out of your way to make the day special in other ways.”

Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to let her know you’ll be taking her out or doing something special on Valentine’s Day, or right after. “Women love anticipating good things to come,” explains Rosdol. “And there’s a bonus to this. If she knows you’re planning something, she’ll start thinking of how to please you.”

Be creative
Money can’t buy love any more than it can buy happiness, so don’t make the common mistake of throwing up your hands in defeat if you can’t afford an expensive gift. Instead, think outside the box. Preece proposes creating a “memories” scrapbook filled with your favourite photographs, keepsakes, holiday mementoes and even some printed emails. This will serve as a souvenir of your relationship for both of you, and remind you of how much you mean to each other. If you’re more of a poet than an artist, write her a love letter. Many men never think to put pen to paper anymore, says Preece, and it really is a lost opportunity. “For the best results, hold her hand, look deep into her eyes and read it aloud,” he suggests. “If this is something you’ve never done before, she’ll be incredibly impressed.”