While dating, romance comes easily for a lot of couples but may begin to fade over time. Romance and passion are not just for dating couples but for everyone in a relationship. GET BACK your passion for each other. Maintaining romance and passion does take effort, but it’s an effort worth making!
I have been in a relationship with my husband for 15 years, married for 10. The most challenging time to keep romance in our relationship came in the last two years with the birth of our first children, twins. The biggest contributing factors have been fatigue, overwhelm, and almost never being alone together. But children or no children many couples fall out of good habits for lots of different reasons. Use the 10 suggestions below as ideas to increase sparks between you and your mate. Most importantly HAVE FUN!
- Dating – Plan fun date nights. Yes, I said plan. Date nights are not usually going to happen spontaneously, you have to plan it. Take turns planning so you each share the burden and the decisions. Dinner and a movie is great but occasionally throw in an odd ball, dancing, mini golf, wine tasting, etc.
- Warm Greetings and Farewells – Give your partner a warm embrace and a real kiss when you greet each other (tongue optional). Say good bye like you are actually going to miss each other, a hug, “I love you. Enjoy your day.” The goal is to avoid passive comings and goings and instead let your partner know you care about their presence in your life by being attentive when they arrive or depart.
- Meals – In our busy lives many families no longer sit down to dinner together and if they do they leave the TV on and phones out. Make an effort to have a screen free dinner together (NO phones, NO IPads/computers, and NO TV). Talk about your day or what you want to do this weekend. This habit is not only great for your marriage but also great for your family.
- Evening Rituals – After dinner clean up together, then relax together. At some point the to-do list has to be put off until tomorrow. Spend at least 30 minutes together after dinner, watch TV, read, etc. Again, no phones, this is not the time to send that text or email you forgot or buy whatever is in your amazon shopping cart. Be present with each other. SIT NEAR EACH OTHER! Preferably sit so close you are touching. Remember I only asked for 30 minutes.
- Acknowledge your spouse publicly – I can’t think of anything that means more to me than when my husband tells a friend or family member that he is proud of me or a current project I’m working on. His opinion means a lot to me and to hear him paying me a compliment to someone else feels amazing.
- Drop a note – This could be a text message or a good old fashion pen to paper note. Occasionally send a kind and loving text message. “I hope you have a great day.” “Good luck with your meeting.” This may also be a sweet note on the coffee maker or in their car that’s especially for them. Nothing extravagant, just an “I love you.”
- Give an unexpected sweet surprise – Does your significant other have a favorite snack or dessert, especially one that is difficult to come by? Surprise them when they get home from work with a cupcake or leave their favorite candy in their car with a note “Thinking of you.”
- Dream together –Every once in a while, Saturday nights after the kids are in bed seems to be great for this, talk about your dreams. Do you dream for a beautiful home with big trees in the backyard? Do you hope to start your own business one day? What does your partner dream for, a promotion at work, a long overdue raise/promotion? These dreams could be about anything and everything. The idea is to give yourself and your partner the opportunity to daydream out loud together. Be supportive! No naysaying or negative comments aloud. Dreams can seem unrealistic, it’s ok.
- Make time for intimacy – intimacy is not just sex, it may include sex but intimacy is much more then sex alone it is sharing fondness, affection, tenderness, and closeness. Gently touch each other when you are close, an arm, leg, or a brush of hair. Smile and laugh with each other. The kind of smile where your eyes crease around the edges. The kind of laugh that you cannot contain. Truly make an effort to enjoy each other’s company and let each other know how much that connection means to you.
- Make time for sex – would this article be complete without sex? Of course not. Sex is not everything but it is important and should be like cream cheese icing on an already deliciously cake. That’s why sex is number ten and not number one. Sex is somewhat empty without all of the above to create a connection and a bond in your relationship which creates a natural desire for one another. It’s ok to plan for sex. It may feel disappointing that sex and spontaneity no longer go together the way they used to but just remember if you are both expecting it, you get to think about it all day, anticipation and excitement building as the time comes closer.
Bonus: Take a shower together. Take turns cleaning each other. I cannot think of a more fun and sensual way to connect with your partner.
If these sound crazy, hard, unrealistic, or out of reach, make them attainable by choosing one or two that seem reasonable and make an effort to implement these before worrying about the rest. Also start small if you cannot remember the last time you ate together shoot for once a week. In my own marriage these wax and wane. As long as there is a continuous effort there is no right or wrong way for them to look in your own marriage. I suggest you have high expectations for your relationship and use the above tips as ideas for how to reach those high expectations.
Michelle Puster M.Ed. | Licensed Professional Counselor
Helping disconnected couples grow closer
Couples & Marriage Counseling Katy, TX