THE BLOG
02/12/2014 12:46 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

5 Rules to Creating a Romantic Valentine's Day

2014-02-10-valentine.jpg

We conducted the most extensive in-depth relationship study in the world (surveying over 100,000 people), and we discovered that the world is even more romance starved than we thought. About 64 percent of men and 63 percent of women in our study said they want more romance.

We think there are millions of couples all over the U.S who secretly and not so secretly craving more romance. While we can't order a quick long-term fix, we can offer a short-term one: Take advantage of Valentine's Day! It's the perfect day to play catch up and raise the romance quotient in your relationship.

We know, however, that men in particular break into a cold sweat, trying to figure out what will surprise or at least please their partner. So, taking several cues from our research, we are here to help.

Let's not over complicate this. We know that by following these five simple rules, you will not only be on your way to having a romantic Valentine's Day, you will also be building a foundation for romance that can increase overall happiness in your relationship.

Rule 1: Don't downplay Valentine's Day, celebrate it big time! If you don't make the choice to make Valentine's Day a special day, then you can bet it won't be. Let go of your cranky belief that Valentine's Day is a big Hallmark scam, its irrelevant. Birthdays have Hallmark cards too, and we don't discard them. Instead, remember that any time we can celebrate each other is a good time. This is national pay-special-attention-to-one-another day, so what could possibly be wrong with that? Sure, we're supposed to do that every day, but we don't. So let's take advantage of the reminder.

Rule 2: Buy or make a gift. If your partner says that they don't want anything, they are lying to you. They don't want to have to tell you to get them something. Consider this, in the Normal Bar study, 64 percent of women and 88 percent of men said that they never received romantic gifts of any kind. They also said that they aren't satisfied with their sex life. Now we're not saying that giving your partner a gift will automatically re-charge your sex life, but, hey, it couldn't hurt! Price, by the way doesn't matter. The gift doesn't have to be anything expensive, but the thought, and the execution of that thought, is priceless. If cash is sparse, write a poem, put together pictures of some great times together, or create a playlist. If cash isn't an issue, buy your sweetie a Ferrari.

Rule 3: True expression of love. By doing something your partner knows is hard or unlikely for you to do, you create gratitude and love. So, instead of running to the store and grabbing the first Valentine's Day card you see, spend some time picking the right card and writing something thoughtful on it. Or get several cards and make a humorous or loving collage out of them. It could also be a gift of time: If you have a well-earned reputation as a work-a-holic, take the day off and spend it with your beloved. Sure, they may faint when you tell them you are all theirs on a work day, but they are really going to feel very loved.

Rule 4: An Element of Surprise. Don't ask us why, but it turns out that romance is enhanced by the unexpected and novel event. If you do something new and extraordinary together, it's going to have a bigger impact than going to your favorite restaurant again. Any action out of the "norm" counts! You can really have fun with this one. Of course , know your lover. If they hate surprises, then go light on the surprise part but stay heavy on the idea of something novel. Again, it can be pretty simple. Maybe it could just be taking charge of the evening if you never do, or agreeing to dress up if you generally only dress in sweats.

Rule 5: Know what your partner likes. You think you know, but do you really know what your partner thinks is romantic? One of the biggest mistakes couples make is they create a romantic moment for their partner thinking it's what their partner likes, when it's really what they like. This might go on for years! Here's an idea: Sit down together and discuss your favorite romantic moments. Take note of your partner's favorites. If you like upscale restaurants on Valentine's Day, but not one of your partner's favorites include dining out, it might be time for a course correction. Plan something that speaks to what each of your thinks is a romantic date. It's okay if your visions of romance never mesh, then let each of you plan Valentine's Day on alternate years. You might find yourself at a hockey game some years, but then you get to go to a four handed massage the next.

Illustration courtesy of The Normal Bar