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You’ve probably heard the phrase “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” Well, the same applies for dating and courtship. While some guys are programmed to check off boxes by doing it big on the year’s four key occasions (Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas), if you truly listen to what women want, you’ll learn that most prefer consistent and spontaneous shows of affection throughout the year. For many ladies, small, periodic displays of affection go much further than coasting through the year and going hard when you’re “supposed to.”

This consistent ‘Lover Man’ role doesn’t have to bust your budget. In fact, some of the best surprises are cheap. It all boils down to how you understand your woman, her love language, and what she values. For example, if she responds to acts of service, she’ll appreciate you handling chores or making a home cooked meal. Does she value quality time? Make it a special Netflix and Chill night. Or perhaps she’s into words of affirmation, which means a “just because” card could get you in there.

Once you’ve gotten a good grasp on what makes her feel most valued, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of affection will get you the points you need to ignite that fire and keep things popping.

Here are some ideas to start.


1 Listen and Surprise

Sometimes women just want to be heard. Be present, have intentional conversations, and actually listen and provide feedback on what she’s saying. Make it clear that you value her opinions. This will show her two things: A) That you respect her and her thoughts. B) That you can keep up with her, and maybe even stimulate her mind in return.

Extra points: Surprise her with something based on a random conversation you had. Think tickets to a show, a movie, or an exhibit she wanted to catch. You could even buy something she mentioned she liked at her favorite store or take her out to her favorite restaurant.


2 Build Relationships with the People She Values

Whether your lady is climbing the corporate ladder or her family and friends are her everything, show a genuine interest in the people she values. If she invites you to a work function, spark up a conversation with her colleagues and her supervisor. If she brings you around loved ones, take the time to get to know them, and when the time is right, build a relationship with them. It will warm her heart and show that you’re making an investment in her.


3 Do Something Just Because She Wants To

Relationships are about compromise, and while that can be exhausting, it is necessary to keep everyone fulfilled. Every once in a while, step out of your comfort zone (and stubbornness) and completely give in to something just because she wants to do it. That can be watching a sappy movie where she can cry her eyes out on your shoulder, offering to take her out dancing even though dancing’s not your thing, or a rare trip to a vineyard where she can get her whole life while having you by her side. She’ll know you’re doing it just for her, which will mean that much more.


4 Act Like You’re in a  Rom-Com (At Least Once)

Shopping for gifts for your lady can be stressful, but it’s also pretty standard. The next time you want to show your lady that she has really has some juice, embark on a creative project that takes serious thought, research, and energy. Something like a series of poems, or recording a song dedicated to her, or starting a scrapbook of memories that you can add to over the years, or create a coupon book where she can redeem chores, favors or even sexual acts from you at any time. If she usually cooks, take the reigns one night and become the chef of her dreams. Even if your creativity is limited, you will get an “A” for effort (and maybe other things, if you play your cards right).


Rondel Holder is a marketing executive, the founder of Soul Society 101, co-owner of My Deck Playing Cards, and, perhaps most important, a dude who really gets women.