By Nicole Dean
My girlfriends and I were talking. We decided that we needed to teach the men in our lives this phrase "Romance does not equal money." The men I've talked with have been frightened off by television and movies and believe that romance is something outside of their budget. They are wrong. Romance does not equal money! Although an occasional diamond necklace or expensive dinner is appreciated, it is truly the day to day affection that builds romance and love.
I don't know about you, but when I think of the most romantic and breathtaking stories that girlfriends discuss over coffee, we don't talk about flying off to Europe or drinking the most expensive champagne. The little things like holding hands, reading stories together, and lots of laughter are what we hold dear. And, ladies, this list is for you, too. Initiate the following ideas with your Sweetie, and show him how much you care. The 31 ideas below are for men or women and fit every budget.
Love Notes - Leave Love Notes for your Sweetheart to find.
Pampering - Brush her hair. Scratch his back.
Wildlife - Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, turtles or fish near you.
Games - Turn off the TV. Sit and play cards or board games together.
Cooking - Find recipes to make with your sweetheart.
Candles - Candles should be used every day -- for meals, bath time, snuggling.
Read together - Choose a book and take turns reading it to each other.
Photos - When is the last time you had a photo taken together? What are you waiting for?
Work Date - Surprise your love with a lunch date.
Stroll - Leave the TV, phone and computer behind and go on a walk together.
Spell it Out - With Sidewalk Chalk, write your names in a heart on the sidewalk where your sweetheart is sure to see it.
Entertainment - Go see a High School or College play or concert. It is affordable and fun!
Slow Dance - Turn on the radio and dance to the songs you fell in love listening to.
Star Gaze - Drive out to the country and look at the stars.
Volunteer - Choose a charity or cause that means something to both of you and work together to make the world a better place.
Love Story - Write how you met, fell in love, how you felt, what your thoughts were. You will treasure looking through these books over the years.
Love Grows - Plant a garden together. Herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruit -- anything you both like.
Cheer - Go to a High School Sporting Event.
Warm Hearts - Snuggle by a campfire or build a fire in the fireplace.
Watch the Clouds - Lay together and watch the clouds go by. Talk about the different shapes you see.
Connect - Hug, Hold Hands, Put your Arm around your Sweetheart.
Big Money - Write your Sweetheart a Check for One Million Kisses. Or make a coupon book of treats for him or her.
Window Shop - Go downtown and window shop.
Early Days - Look at photo albums of yourselves when you were kids through your dating years.
Puzzles - Do a jigsaw or crossword puzzle together.
Wish List - Both make a wish list of things that make you happy and put them in order. Hugs, dates, gifts, time together, intimacy, etc. Then look at the lists. They may surprise you.
People Watch - Sit on a bench and watch people go by. Try to guess their stories.
Play - Go to the park and swing.
Kiss - Before you part for the day, kiss for 10 seconds. It is much better than a quick peck on the cheek.
Picnic - Get take out food or make a picnic lunch. Take your time and enjoy your meal together outdoors.
Throw Rocks - Go to a pond, creek, or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets.
So, although an occasional diamond necklace or expensive dinner is nice, it is truly the day-to-day affection that builds romance and love.
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