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Ways for men to keep the flames of love burning year-round

by Keith Barber

Love letters

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone so there’s no better time to start thinking about ways to keep the flames of love burning year-round. Often, men place too much emphasis on Valentine’s Day. They believe if they deliver cards, flowers, candy and dinner at a posh restaurant, they can take it easy for the next 364 days. Nothing could be further from the truth, so take heed. Once upon a time, young men who were head over heels in love would put pen to paper and express themselves through the written word. In the era of Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging, however, the old-fashioned love letter has fallen by the wayside. Self-expression is a lost art. If you want to melt a woman’s heart, go out and buy yourself some stationery and let your thoughts and feelings flow onto the page. Then deliver your composition in a sincere, thoughtful manner. You’ll be amazed at her response.

Jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, it’s not how much you spend but how much thought you put into the selection of the gift. Whether your love trinket is made of gold, silver or platinum, make sure it’s appropriate and suits her style. For the younger men, I would caution against giving any jewelry that has both of your names or initials engraved on it. If you wish to personalize your gift, engrave her initials. That way, she can wear it forever and always think of you.

Weekend getaway

ust like jewelry, the amount you invest in a weekend getaway is irrelevant. The amount of thought and consideration that goes into selecting the type of getaway is proportional to the amount of love you’ll receive in return. Never forget: It’s the thought behind the gesture that counts. Here are a few ideas of weekend getaways: a zipline adventure, a hot-air balloon adventure, a hiking adventure at a nearby state park or, if you have the means, jetting off to Paris or Rome at a moment’s notice.

‘Just because’ gifts

One of the best ways to keep the flames of love burning brightly is acting with spontaneity and kindness on unexpected occasions with a “just because” gift. Once again, put a good amount of thought into the gift and deliver it in an unconventional way. Drop it in her mailbox, deliver it to her at work or spring it on her at dinner. “Just because” gifts express the idea that every day with the woman you love is cause for celebration. Let her know that she is your goddess, and you simply can’t help yourself when it comes to doing thoughtful, sweet things for her.

Significant and not-so-significant dates

It might sound overly sappy and sweet, but remembering your three-month anniversary with a card, a love letter or even an e-card is always a big hit with women. Living in the moment means celebrating the moment as well as reflecting on your past, and the endless possibilities of your shared future.

Patience is a virtue

This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in a relationship. The moment we feel vulnerable, our defense mechanisms are typically in a big hurry to put up walls. It takes work but you can learn how to be patient with the woman you love and listen to her thoughts and feelings. The key is don’t take what she says personally and don’t try to fix her problem. What may sound like a complaint about your behavior is most likely a genuine expression that she doesn’t feel comfortable about a certain aspect of your relationship and she wants to find a solution so that you can move forward together. The ratio of listening to talking should be 2 to 1. We learn infinitely more about the person we love when we truly listen, rather than trying to make our voice heard.

Responsiveness

A relatively easy way to show how much you love the woman in your life is to respond to her phone calls, e-mails, text messages and IMs in a prompt manner. Responsiveness reveals that you have made her a top priority in your life, and you communicate that without words when you respond rapidly in a loving way to even the most mundane messages. Also, spontaneous declarations of love or lust serve as another way to cement your bond with the woman in your life.

Be the chef

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but the same can be said for the fairer sex. I’ve found that baking a pie or a cake for the woman in my life is always a big hit. Any activity that reveals your investment in the relationship helps solidify your commitment to your partner.

Spontaneity

I’m not a planner and I would dare say that most guys are like me. Sometimes life’s best adventures begin with the following text message: “Hey! What are you doing right now?” Ideas for spontaneous activities with your loved one should come from an organic process. For example, you’ve just read about a documentary screening at a local university that’s going down later that night. You’ve heard great things about the movie and you know your sweetheart is interested in the subject matter. That’s when you send the message. If she answers in the affirmative, go ahead and plan out the rest of the evening to make it a night to remember.

Effective communication

There is nothing more important than effective communication to the health and resilience of a relationship. In order for communication to be effective, it requires an opening of the heart. This is easier said than done. Just when you think you’ve really made yourself vulnerable, you will realize that you’ve only scratched the surface of your potential to love your partner unconditionally.

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