Whether or not you agree with the commercialism around Valentine’s Day, who can deny that we could all use more reminders to show our love to our spouse? We all have so much to do and the days and weeks pass so quickly that before we know it, we can’t remember the last time we did something romantic.

If flowers and chocolates are your traditional go-to gifts, something out of the ordinary might be a nice surprise this year. Gregory Godek, author of 1001 Ways to be Romantic says, “The more of yourself that you put into your gifts and gestures, the more they’ll be appreciated.”

You still have about a week to plan something special for your sweetie. To help you out, here are a few meaningful and mostly inexpensive gift ideas for Valentine’s Day:

  • Breakfast in Bed: It’s nice that Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so you can most likely plan for a leisurely morning. Make your spouse’s favorite breakfast items and garnish the tray with a lovely card or handwritten note. If you’re not a cook, order breakfast to go from a local restaurant and put it on a plate at home. Or grab his/her favorite coffee and treat from Starbucks and deliver them in bed.
  • Photo Gifts: Print off a few photos of you and your spouse and put them in a frame. Or if you are crafty and have the time this week, make a photo or scrap book.
  • Movies: Guys, watch your wife’s favorite chick-flick at home with her or head to the movies for the latest release. If you’re not into the movie, you’ll most likely get in some great cuddle time. Ladies: if your man frequently watches chick-flicks with you, thank him and offer to watch his favorite action movie.
  • Explore Together: Head to a museum you’ve never been to. Or attend a local cultural center or a historic area of your city. Enjoy a nice meal together while you’re out. (Lunch will likely be less busy and less expensive than dinnertime.)
  • Get Outside: If the weather is nice, head somewhere outdoors where you can walk and hold hands. The zoo, botanical garden, arboretum or local park are good choices. If you’re in a warmer-weather state like me, pack a picnic lunch and a blanket to enjoy outside.
  • Cook Dinner for or with Your Spouse: If your spouse normally does the cooking, take the initiative to make Valentine’s Day dinner and eat by candlelight. Or another fun idea is to try a new recipe and make it together.
  • Dessert: Make your spouse’s favorite dessert. (Chocolate covered strawberries or cherries are super quick and easy to make at home.) Or if you’re not Betty Crocker, local bakeries will have lots of yummy Valentine’s Day treats.

However you decide to express love to your mate this Valentine’s Day, remember that it’s the effort and thoughtfulness that’s truly meaningful.

Continue being intentional about how often you creatively express love to your spouse. Set a reminder on your phone or write it on your calendar. View it not as an obligation, but as a reminder to consistently invest in your marriage. Have fun in the process and you’ll most likely continue to do naturally it in the future. Have a great Valentine’s Day!