Romance is in the air! It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the torture and death of a man famed for illegally marrying young Christian soldiers (right before they were sent off to die in the name of Rome) by eating chocolates and making out. Yep, it’s Saint Valentine’s Day! And we’re here to help you put on the best apartment Valentine’s Day you can.
The basic recipe for a romantic apartment Valentine’s is simple:
Make Everything Easy
The less time you have to spend on anything that isn’t your partner, the better. That means preparing a dinner that is fantastic, appeals to them, and doesn’t require you to cook — or allows you to continue to engage them while you cook. It doesn’t mean having every element of the evening planned out ahead of time! It does mean having several different things in mind and on hand, and being able to respond to what they want or don’t want smoothly and without fuss. That might mean having a dozen board games, several titles ready to Netflix, and a few other alternatives — the more prepared-but-flexible you can be, the better. Remember: if there’s something you can’t avoid doing while they’re waiting, find a way to engage them while you do it. The more time you spend being able to communicate, the more the romantic connection can grow, so start a day or two early, and put plenty of thought and effort into it.
Breaking the Current Mood
Encourage your partner to talk to you about their day, their concerns, whatever is on their mind. Listen attentively, but don’t try to ‘solve’ any problems they have — your only goal is to let them express themselves. Empathize. But don’t let them start anything new; let them know that you have something special waiting, but you want them to clear their mind, and you’re there to listen. Encourage them to get it all out, and subtly manage their expectations toward the specialness of the evening.
Set a New Mood
Different people have different ideas of what qualifies as ‘romantic.’ Some people want to be elegant, some want to be comfy, some want to be fun, some want to be intense. But what they all want is to be understood and appreciated. That means that you need to understand what your partner thinks is romantic, and prepare whatever tools you need to engage them on that level. If they’re the elegant kind, prepare formal clothes, long-stemmed roses, and so on. If they prefer comfy and fun, get a bunch of blankets and broomsticks together and work together to build a blanket fort that you can cuddle in. The important part in this step is getting them to buy in to the experience. Remember, things that seem silly and cheesy when you’re caught up in the inertia of the outside world can be amazingly meaningful and touching when you’re in the mood to connect.
Be Attentive and Responsive
Everything you’ve done up to this point — the preparation, the mood-breaking and mood-making, all of it — is to allow you reach this simple point: the point at which you can engage your partner on their terms, when they are in their favorite zone, and ready to connect. Now comes the hard part: making sure that your focus stays on them. Listen, watch, and be attentive to what they say, how they position themselves in the room, what they look at, talk about, and do. Don’t assume that they are thinking what you are, or want what you want — let them guide (unless they clearly want you to do the guiding!) The more attentive you are, and the more easily you can respond (which is why you did all that prep in the first place, remember), the more you can build the connection — and when it’s all over, the more they’ll look back on the evening they just had and realize it was romance at its best.
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