February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Is it any wonder that this day pops up just three days after St. Valentine’s Day? When we think of random acts of kindness, we usually think of doing something unplanned and spontaneous for someone we don’t know much about, if anything at all. But here’s the point: while Valentine’s Day is great, even the most creative and romantic among us struggle with the expectations that come with delivering the goods on this holiday. The truth is that we can do even more for our relationships by doing something random and kind for our Valentines on a day that isn’t February 14th.
If you really want to show your spouse, domestic partner, better half or ball-and-chain that you care, the most effective way to do that is on a day they don’t expect and in a way that’s out of the ordinary. Need some hints? On National Random Acts of Kindness Day, I’m happy to accommodate. As you go through the ideas below, pick the ones that are out of character for you – that’s how we get to the “random” part.
- Leave work a little early, make dinner, have a glass of wine ready, and let her relax.
- Turn off the TV, sit together and notice things about him. Tell him what you love most about him.
- Spend 10 minutes texting your spouse a poem (one you make up… and it should be about how you feel, not about how cool your new motorcycle is going to be).
- Bring home a card and write something extraordinary on it.
- Remind her every day that she’s the only one for you… and mean it.
- Ask him about his day and really listen to what he says. Make that conversation about him.
- Call her in the middle of the day… just to hear her voice.
- Make plans. Plan a trip. Plan a dinner. Plan an adventure. No matter how hard things are, it’s always easier to go through when you get through it together and you have something to look forward to.
- Send her flowers at work (honestly, have you ever heard of a woman who doesn’t like that?).
- Write him a love letter while he’s asleep and put it in his car so he’ll be surprised the next morning.
- Take both of your cell phones, turn them off for an hour and put them in a drawer. Make a show of making her the center of attention.
- Find a photo of the two of you – maybe something from when you first started to fall in love – and get it framed.
- Wash her car. Wash the dog. Wash the dishes . . . Just wash something.
- Hold his hand. If this is out of character for you, make it something you do every day.
- Take her to yoga… or salsa class.. as long as you’re uncomfortable doing it, she’ll be amazed.
- Let him pick the movie.
- Take her shopping for clothes. Insist on seeing her try on everything. Make an agreement that you both have to like it, if you’re going to buy it. Then buy everything you can both agree on (within your budget).
- Get a mani/pedi together.
- Take her to where you had your first date, bring something home from there – a bottle cap, a coaster, anything small – and give it to her. Then keep it forever.
- On a Friday afternoon, surprise him with a weekend trip to a little town an hour or two away.
Even if the kids are grown and have kids of their own, remind her that she’s still your girlfriend. Those acts are random acts of kindness.
Jeff Anderson is a partner at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson. Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, he specializes in issues of family law, such as marriage, adoption, divorce, custody, support and ownership of property acquired before and during marriage. Jeff is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.