It's coming up to Christmas. Halloween has just been and gone, and all the department stores have been stocked to the nines with festive goodies for weeks now. I know it. She knows it. We all know that it's coming up to the prime gift-giving season. And with that season comes great pressure to pull out all the stops of fun dates for her to boast to her friends about.
We all feel the pressure, and we all want to spoil our best girl
But how? What is sufficiently Instagram worthy, economically important, but above all – meaningful? The thing is, you love her so much that the need for this to be a good date is caving in on the weight of its own importance.
It's not that life would be bad if you weren't in love, but let's face it, for those of us that seek emotional validation and support from others, it's the bee's knees. It's great to be able to give yourself to another person and be vulnerable, and of course we still get that from friends and family, but there is something different. It changes how you perceive the world around you and impacts upon what you value. Everything is relative, but that's even more true when you're in love, committed to another person, and caring about their welfare above, well, most things.
You're not quite sure when it happened, but you fell
And you fell hard. You begin to view life through your partner's eyes. This doesn't mean that you merge into your partner and subsume their interests in place of yours (I hate it when my friends basically turn into their boyfriends whenever they get into a new relationship). No, what I mean is that you look at life aware of both your own perceptions, but also with consideration to the implication on your partner.
Essentially, if you see a hilarious Facebook post about three adorable dogs that were rescued off the streets, rather than smiling and moving on, you instead think, "Hey, (X) would love that". Then, you tag them in the meme and ensure that your whole roster of Facebook friends can bear witness to your online PDA. Your ePDA, if you will. Or indeed, you may be out shopping, minding your own business, when you see a sloth tote bag that you know your girlfriend will absolutely die when she sees. Therefore you buy it and get ready to blow her mind later on. It's the big and the little things but both are now reframed in the LoveLens. The world exists in relation to your lover.
Melodramatic, yes, but not incorrect.
Life becomes an opportunity to make their life better
Okay, I know I'm starting to sound like a slushy over-the-top 50s housewife, but hear me out. I'm not saying that our own life is put on hold while we are in relationships; far from it. Prioritising your relationship is achieved by ensuring that you can meet and anticipate the needs of your partner. That's just how it works. But it never feels like a sacrifice, and that's when you know you're in love. You could spend days together and never get tired of the company. They could talk for hours about something that interests them and you could easily watch them talk endlessly.
Oh, the things we would do to make them smile
It always sounds ridiculous when you write it out, but the reality is that – for better or worse – time spent with your Person is time well spent. Period. Can you drive them to the airport? Absolutely. Do you want to grab a coffee? Obviously. Are you down to volunteer at the homeless shelter with me? 'I'd love to, and I love that you are the best person I know'. I could go on but I sense I've made my point.
In essence, I can't tell you what your girl will love – that's down to you to know. Does she like surprise parties? Or prefer to be in control?
Why not make her a meal and watch a film in your friends' hatchback in the park? Or go for a fancy meal she can dress up for?
Or surprise her with a trip? Maybe take her to visit your parents for a long weekend?
Maybe ask her friends for help? Don't be too proud, and they'll love you for making the effort, I promise.
Whatever you do, be prepared to go big and go small as appropriate. Don't just do what you think you would like if that might be something that isn't who they are. Be mindful! But know ultimately that it's the thought that counts. They will appreciate all the effort you put into the planning.
You don't need to break the bank, but you do need to use that silly organ in your chest.
Happy trails, chaps!