With all due respect to dinner and a box of chocolates, your Valentine’s Day plans could probably use a little shakeup.
To that end, we’ve gathered 10 unique things to do with your partner come Feb. 14.
1. Look through your old Facebook photos.
Valentine’s Day plans don’t have to be expensive. Keep things low-key romantic by snuggling up on the couch and clicking through your old Facebook photos and wall posts or Instagram posts. A helpful heads up: Facebook conveniently groups all your interactions with a person under the “see friendship” button on their profile. (We apologize in advance for all the cringing you’ll do when you read messages sent during the crush phase of the relationship.)
2. Do a fitness class together.
You + your boo + the gym = a match made in heaven. Studies have shown that couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partners after partaking in an exciting physical challenge. Plus, the physiological response you get from breaking a sweat ― a flushed face, a rapid pulse ― may put you in the frame of mind for a different kind of physical activity. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
3. Make a joint vision board.
Bring your New Year’s resolutions to life by creating a joint vision board with photos and phrases that speak to the goals you hope to achieve this year as a duo. (A photo of Cabo here, a “life is short, order the pasta” headline there ― you get the picture.)
4. Cook dinner for each other.
Channel your inner John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and cook for each other. Few things bring you closer as a couple or feel more nurturing than making food for a loved one.
“Giving to others fills us in so many ways,” Michal AviShai, a culinary arts therapist, told HuffPost. “And even more so when it’s cooking, because feeding fulfills a survival need, and so our feeling of fulfillment comes not only from the good of the act of giving, but also the fact that we have ‘helped’ in some very primal way. We have given fuel.”
Make the most of your couple time by volunteering at a local nonprofit. Chances are, your nearby food bank or homeless shelter could use the help; most nonprofits, particularly those involved in food service, see an influx of volunteers from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, then a drop-off after New Year’s Day. Use an app like GiveGab to find volunteering opportunities you’re both interested in.
6. Try something new together.
Remember when you first got together, and even mundane things like a trip to the market felt exciting? Recapture those feelings by doing something brand new together: Buy that Groupon for a hot air balloon trip (sure, it’s kind of corny, but think of all the Instagram opportunities). Check out that new Polish restaurant down the street. Doing something new together increases oxytocin ― the so-called “love hormone” ― so you’ll grow closer than you would if you stayed home and watched Netflix.
7. Challenge yourselves to only make out.
When was the last time you had a good high school-esque makeout sesh? Getting handsy without the expectation of sex could add some much needed passion to your relationship, Los Angeles-based sex therapist Moushumi Ghose told HuffPost.
“If orgasm happens, great — that’s the icing on the cake,” she said. “But sex can also be as simple as a heavy make-out session in the nude, some time together in the bath or even a massage.”
8. Make it a double date.
One-on-one time is nice, but there’s no rule against making Valentine’s Day a group activity. In fact, it could be good for everyone involved. A 2014 study presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference showed that couples who received validation from another couple while on a double date or in any other social situation felt greater passion toward each other after the group outing.
9. Reread your vows.
Embrace the schmaltz of Valentine’s Day and revisit the vows you made to each other at your wedding. If you’re not married, think back on the promises you’ve made to each other through the years or consider drafting some makeshift vows to revisit each year. If you’ve gotten slightly off track in your relationship, reflecting on your promises could help you course-correct. And adding new vows or goals to your list will help keep things exciting.
10. Go on your first date again.
Make the day extra sweet by recreating your first date, right down to that awkward half hug you shared at the end of the night. The more details you get right in recapturing it, the better. Get on with your cheesy selves, guys ― it’s Valentine’s Day, the cheesiest day of them all.