This Valentine’s Day: Try A Little Thoughtfulness

Valentine's Day

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought this was a great post for those wondering what to get their significant other.

Chicken Nuggets Can Have A Romantic Side by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press

In my opinion, the chicken nugget could possibly be one of the worst food inventions of all time. Not only is its taste average at best, but the nutritional value … I don’t even want to go there.

What’s even worse is that the chicken nugget is introduced to kids at a very young age and for some bizarre reason offered as a meal option almost everywhere kids go. So kids become conditioned to craving deep-fried little pieces of chicken that are often filled with suspect ingredients. I just don’t get it.

But despite my thoughts on chicken nuggets, when I read a recent story about the college student in the Philippines who bought his girlfriend a chicken nugget bouquet for their one-month anniversary because he knew she would prefer chicken nuggets over flowers, I was extremely touched. Why? Not because he gave the woman he loves deep-fried processed chicken, but because at the young age of 19, this kid gets it. What I mean by that is, he is a thoughtful person. And in romantic relationships, thoughtfulness is key in maintaining a happy, healthy connection.


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The best example I can give is Valentine’s Day. Every year on Valentine’s Day, millions of men buy and send their wives or girlfriends flowers or candy. Others buy their spouse a stuffed animal or balloons, or a Valentine’s Day card.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. In fact, they are lovely. Buying someone flowers or a gift or a card shows thoughtfulness in that the person took the time to call the florist, shop for the card or the gift, maybe wrap the gift, or write something special on the card.

But thoughtfulness goes way beyond tradition. Thoughtfulness doesn’t just happen on Valentine’s Day, it happens on a random Wednesday night when a person sees their spouse experiencing anxiety or stress, and then subsequently sits next to him or her on the couch and gives them a much needed back rub.

Thoughtfulness means knowing your spouse loves Billy Joel and surprising him or her with tickets. Thoughtfulness means supporting your spouse who is trying to get in shape, so you insist he or she go to the 5:30 p.m. kickboxing class while you make dinner and watch the kids. Thoughtfulness means folding the laundry before she gets home or putting on the song you danced to at your wedding and asking him to slow dance. It means having her mother over for dinner despite the fact that she drives you nuts. It means indulging his desire to watch March Madness with a pizza delivery. Thoughtfulness is really listening to the things your spouse wants or needs and then fulfilling them.


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When people in romantic relationships display thoughtfulness, there are a few things that happen. First, the recipient of the behavior feels heard. For example, the girl who got the chicken nugget bouquet knows her boyfriend paid attention when she told him jokingly that instead of a bouquet of flowers, she’d rather it be of chicken nuggets so she could eat it. Everyone feels satisfaction knowing their spouse listened. It makes us feel important, cared for, special and connected to him or her.

Thoughtfulness also makes the recipient giddy and happy and joyful. A kind, caring gesture can help us fall in love again. So, repeated acts of this kind of behavior help sustain long-term love because we fall in love over and over again.

There is one more thing that thoughtfulness produces, and it has to do with the giver. Doesn’t knowing your actions made your spouse feel heard and loved and cared for feel great? There is a sense of joy that comes not only with giving, but with giving something that was truly needed or wanted. The act of giving makes the giver feel important and it makes the person like themselves. A thoughtful act will almost always be reciprocated, which can begin a cycle of giving that will foster love, like, romance, sex and overall relationship happiness.


However, I do need to warn the giver: Do not wait for reciprocation because it should not matter. Even if you feel your thoughtful acts are not being returned, you are still getting the benefit of the giving.

I’m not going to tell you that for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions you should automatically buy your spouse a nontraditional gift, because let’s be honest, every woman loves flowers and who doesn’t love candy? But if there is something he’s been talking about – a new golf club or a weekend getaway to see his brother, why not step up and show the guy you love that you’re paying attention? When shopping for her…(Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.)

Like this article? Check out my post, “The Perfect Kiss: Which One Of These Defines Yours?”



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

One Response to “This Valentine’s Day: Try A Little Thoughtfulness”

  1. Sadie Quinn

    I love the emphasis on paying attention and listening to your partner. Days like today (Valentine’s Day) are in my opinion the easy way to be romantic – it’s just expected. To me, the most romantic times or gifts, are the ones my husband surprises me with on a random day in the middle of June. We’ve been really working on our relationship and found some great advice from an author and therapist named Wendy Brown. She’s got a new book out called “The Six Passions of the Red-Hot Lover”,, and we’ve found her sight to be a fantastic go to for relationship advice. Thanks for the post, I agree with everything in it, especially when you said “A kind, caring gesture can help us fall in love again.”!


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