Romance alive

LargeWhen you first get together with someone, everything comes up roses.  Your love life is, literally, full of fireworks.  As you begin to settle into the relationship, you may find that you enjoy the companionship, but miss the excitement of the first days.  While you can be new to each other all over again, there are things that you can do to keep the romance alive.

Keep things in the bedroom exciting

It is easy to fall into a sexual rut.  In the early phase of a relationship, sex is hot.  As you settle into the relationship, it may become routine.  But, it’s not difficult to revive your sex life – and it’s a lot of fun!

One complaint is that you always use the same positions.  Get out the Karma Sutra (or just the Joy of Sex) and see if some acrobatics doesn’t get the blood flowing again.

If you have a routine where you always have sex at the same time (wash your face, brush your teeth, have sex…), try mixing up the time a little.  Have sex in the morning.  Meet for a lunch time quickie.  The memories of the unusual timing when you had sex will make the standard times even more enthralling.

Similarly, if you have an erotic desire at an “inconvenient time,” fulfill it.  Drag her to bed when she’s in the middle of doing dishes.  If he gets some food on his face, lick it off.  See where it leads.

Don’t let sex fall into a routine.  Take turns being the giver and the receiver.  Use massage to let hands wander where they normally wouldn’t.  And use both verbal and non-verbal cues to let your partner know when they’ve done something different that you like.

Have sex anywhere but the bedroom for a month.  You will find the excitement of the taboo makes your relationship tick again.  Even having sex in a different room of your house will shake things up.

Make a point of taking showers together a couple of times a week.  While you may or may not end up having stand up sex, there is something erotic about washing each other and caring for each other.  A very romantic alternative is to take a bubble bath together.

Another tip to keep romance alive is to go to bed at the same time.  Many times, one partner likes to stay up later than the other.  But the time right before you go to sleep is excellent for pillow talk which keeps you emotionally connected.  You are also more likely to have sex if you are both in the same room at the same time!

If you have really fallen into a rut, skip sex for a while.  You could even try “Kosher Sex” where there is no touching between men and women for two weeks a month.  By the time you get back into bed together, you’re ready!




The Attraction Factor

Many times after a couple has been together for a while, one or both partners fail to take care of their appearance.  Instead of dressing nicely and putting on make up, she lounges around the house plain faced and in sweats.  He doesn’t bother to shave on the weekends.

When you do this, you are sending a message that being attractive to your partner is no longer important.  You are taking him or her for granted.  If you were trying to impress a new partner, you certainly would work harder than you are.  So, do no less for the person you love.

As we age, we have to work harder at keeping up appearances.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile to color the grey, work out to maintain your weight, and do what is necessary to make yourself attractive.

Additionally, sometimes grooming habits can become sloppy when someone becomes comfortable with a partner.  A man might not brush his teeth every night or a woman might skip shaving her legs for days.  Doing these basic things is a requirement in every relationship.

Having said this, it is important for people to know that they are still attractive as they age.  Men need to know that losing their hair doesn’t make them any less a catch.  But, women are especially vulnerable to the ravages of age.  You need to let your partner know that you still find him or her attractive after all of this time.  Tell them in words and show them in touch.

After a woman has a baby, she wonders whether a man can find her attractive.  She’s put on weight, now has stretch marks, and her breasts are baby chewed.  Is it any wonder that she’s reluctant to jump back into bed?  While hormones can play a part in a woman’s reluctance to take up sex again after a baby is born, a woman’s insecurities are also at play.  After your wife has had a baby, make sure you let her know that you find her beautiful and sexy.

Couples who talk about sex are half as likely to have an affair

It’s not enough to be getting laid occasionally.  Sex takes up only the briefest portion of our lives.  But, there’s no limit to the amount of time we can spend talking about it!

You regularly talk about work, the kids, bills you need to pay.  But, in our slightly Puritanical culture, we often don’t put sex on our regular conversation list.

For a relationship to succeed you have to have an open line of communication and be able to talk about ANYTHING. Poor communication can destroy any relationship.

Talking about sex can be sexy.  It’s a wonderful thing to reminisce about the good times.

But, there are times when you need to talk about the problems in your sex life.  If you are not enjoying sex, you need to let your partner know that too.

When you talk about sexual problems in your relationship, be careful not to criticize your partner.  This is an issue for both of you and fault does not lie with one party.  It is something you need to work on together.

You shouldn’t be pushy about the issue.  Make sure that your spouse has had the time to digest what you have told him or her before you bring the issue up again.

You need to be a good listener.  While you may perceive a problem one way, your partner may have an entirely different take on the matter.  You probably aren’t the only one to perceive that there is a problem, but your spouse may not have been able to bring the subject up.  Once you have opened the door, they may be able to comment on it.  And you may find that it is you that has the problem.

Celebrate special occasions

Once you have been together long enough to have an anniversary, you need to start celebrating special occasions.  When you are in a relationship of any length, things become routine.  Special occasions become a time for you to step outside of your routine and celebrate your relationship.

Watch your wedding video or look through your wedding photo album together.  It will help to bring back memories of the special day that you had forgotten.

If you are only going to get dressed to the nines and eat at the finest restaurant once a year, make it your anniversary.  This emphasizes that your relationship is worth making a big deal out of.

Another idea is to relive your first date.  Go to the same restaurant or venue.  If the man brought daisies, bring her a bunch again.  If a woman wore a red dress, pick out one of a similar color.  Try to recapture the excitement of the first time you were together.

If you have the money, have a weekend getaway for your anniversary.  Go to a romantic bed and breakfast or just go camping under the stars and zip your sleeping bags together.  You can spend money on Dom Pérignon or on weenies and marshmallows.  The point is that you are spending some quality time together away from home.

If it is a milestone anniversary, (1st or any that ends in a 5 or 0), plan a party to share your love with all of your friends and family.




Have a weekly date night

When you work, have kids, and have all of the responsibilities that life brings, it’s hard to spend quality time with your spouse.  That’s why it is so important to have a weekly date night.

If you can get a relative to sit with the kids for free, that’s ideal.  You might also consider swapping date nights with another couple where you watch their kids one Tuesday and they watch yours the next so that you get two free evenings a month.

If you have to pay for a sitter, it is going to cut into the money that you have for a date experience, but there are a number of free or low cost things you can do together.

If the kids are at someone else’s house, your date night can be at home.

If you are going to stay home, you can have a movie marathon of movies from the year you met.  Watch the movie that won the BestPictureAcademy award and the won that won the Razzies Award for worst picture.

You can play dress up and have a formal dinner at home.  Or, read poetry in front of the fire while sipping wine and eating strawberries or cheese.

If your date night takes you out on the town, consider going to the museum on the free night – most museums have at least one free or reduced price evening a month.  Go to the farmer’s market and eat food from vendors there.

Go to a karaoke bar and sing “your song.”

Take a picnic to the beach at sunset and then take a moonlit stroll.

The possibilities for cheap date nights are endless.  Make a commitment to spend this time together.

Play Hooky from Work

Do you remember the times you ditched your sixth period class to go hang out with the person you had a crush on?  While you can’t do it too often, playing hooky from work can jumpstart a relationship.

Plan to have some kind of excuse that requires you to leave the office at noon.  That will give you time to have a leisurely lunch, a romantic encounter, and still be done before the kids get home from school.

Playing hooky also tells your partner that while you take your work seriously, they are important to you too.  When you are climbing the corporate ladder, it is still important to take time out for the people you love.

Be Aware of Flash Points in Your Relationship

There are certain points in every couple’s life that are triggers for one partner to have an affair.  When you are aware of the possibility that the relationship could break and you address these points through good communication, you can save yourself the heartbreak of an affair.

For instance, when a woman has just had a baby, the man may decide to have an affair.  There are many reasons for this.  He may have trouble seeing his wife as a sexual being.  Another issue is that the husband may be jealous of all of the attention the new mother is paying to the baby.  He may go looking for a little mothering himself in the arms of another woman.

Of course, she might not feel all that sexual herself and may not be encouraging intercourse.  The work involved in having a new baby can leave people with no energy for sex.  New babies are also a financial drain and the stress of not having enough money can affect a couple’s desire for one another.  Having another person – the baby – in the house can be a turn off in and of itself.  Couples should talk about how having a baby affects your sexual feelings.

Ironically, having your children leave home can be as much of a stress on your sex life as having them come into the world in the first place.  The empty nest syndrome can leave one or both partners feeling purposeless.  This empty feeling can result in one partner, often the woman, looking for reassurance in the bed of another person.

When elderly parents move into the home, it can put many strains on a relationship.  There are new demands on the household.  Additionally, one person may resent having the other partner’s extended family intruding on their lives.  Again, talking about feelings can help.  Counseling may also be needed.

When someone loses their job, they may feel a loss of personal power.  They may need an ego boost.  And, being with someone who finds them attractive may serve to give them some false confidence.  When your spouse loses a job, make sure that you reassure them that you still find them attractive and important.  Don’t nag as that will drive them away.

Financial crisis of all kinds can lead to affairs.  Money tends to be the number one problem in relationships, so it is no mystery that a financial crisis would cause a crisis in the marriage.  Be open about the money problems you are having and work together to find solutions that you can live with.

Retirement is another time in one’s life where a person feels vulnerable.  If your career has been what defines you, suddenly being at loose ends can throw you.  You might seek to be redefined through having an affair with another (usually younger) person other than your spouse.  When your spouse retires, have an open conversation about what is going on in this new phase of life.

Finally, when a partner comes down with a long term illness, whether it is physical or mental, the stress of caring for the other person can lead to a partner seeking uncomplicated solace somewhere else.  If you are the partner with the illness, bring up the issue of sexual and emotional support with the other person.

Keep Your Own Friends

Couples can become so wrapped up in each other’s lives that they neglect their own circle of friends.  When you have no friends other than your partner, you are limited in what you will do.

For instance, it is not possible for your partner to share all of your interests.  Not many men want to discuss the latest scrapbooking patterns.  Men are more likely to enjoy activities that involve the great outdoors.   It’s nice to have a buddy who will go with you to the latest Bruce Springsteen concert when she’d prefer not to go.

Women tend to need to see friends frequently.  It is not uncommon for women to get together to shop, have children’s play groups, or have lunch.  A woman may see or talk on the phone with her best friend on a daily basis

Men tend to need to see their buddies less frequently.  A guy might consider his best friend to be someone he sees three times a year.  But his friend is someone who he can count on when he needs him.  A man’s best friend may be someone he goes camping with every spring and sees a couple of times for lunch during the year.

Additionally, friends provide a stress release valve.  When you have to be everything to your partner, you can feel overwhelmed.  When your partner has someone who he or she can talk to about both daily life and particular interests, there is not as much pressure for you to be everything for him or her.

Even when you are “best friends” with your partner, develop a circle of friends who can support you in other ways.  Your marriage will be stronger for it.

Talk to Your Partner Every Day

When you first fell in love, you probably couldn’t imagine that there was a time when you wouldn’t talk to the person every single day.  But, now even though you live together, and sometimes you can find no time to have a conversation.

One of the keys to keeping romance alive is to have time every day when you can talk.  Asking him to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home doesn’t count.  You should set aside at least fifteen minutes a day to have a real conversation.

If you don’t have children, making a point of having a sit down dinner each evening can be an excellent way to connect.  If first thing in the morning works better for you, have a sit down breakfast.

If you do have children present at meals, taking a walk every day after dinner not only lets you have a chance to chat, but you also get a little exercise!

At the very least, get together at the end of the day and spend a few minutes in bed making pillow talk before one or both of you goes to sleep.

It is important to have a few minutes every day when you know you are going to be able to connect to your partner.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Between your telephone, your cell phone for texts, and email, you should be able to send a love message to your spouse during the day.  If you see a news story that she might be interested in, email it to her.  Text him when you find out that his baseball team just won their playoff game.

If you know that something stressful is happening that day, give them a little moral support.  For instance, 15 minutes before her big presentation, send her a text telling her that you know she’ll do great.  If he has his annual review at 2:00, call him at 3:00 and ask him if he wants to talk about it.

When you use the electronics at your disposal to keep in touch, you send the very serious message that you love your partner and that you are thinking about him or her even when you’re not around.  This kind of connection will strengthen the marriage.

Show Your Appreciation

You can show your appreciation for your partner in ways big and small.  For instance, after he takes out the trash, simply saying “thanks for taking out the trash” not only reinforces the behavior, it lets him know that you appreciate the role he is playing in maintaining the house.

When a spouse goes out of their way to do a big job, it is especially important to show your appreciation.  For instance, if she stayed up late typing up an important sales report for you, buy her flowers or take her out to dinner the next day.

Making a routine of appreciation is a good idea.  Just giving him a quick kiss every time he comes home from work is a powerful signal that you appreciate him in your life.

Make a point of telling her you love her at least once a day.  Be creative, but make sure that before she goes to sleep at night that she’s heard it at least once.

Do creative or innovative things once in a while to show you appreciate your spouse.  For instance, write “I love you” with one of her old lipsticks on the bathroom mirror.  Or, put a love note in his sack lunch.

You can also go out of your way to do something your partner enjoys but you hate.  She’ll sense your appreciation for her when you present her with Nutcracker tickets if she loves ballet but it puts you asleep.  You’ll score even more points if you stay awake during the performance!

Make a point of showing your appreciation for your partner often and in a variety of ways.

Be Loving In Front of Your Kids

Some people restrict their Public Displays of Affection.  While draping yourself all over your spouse’s body at McDonalds might be uncalled for, showing your kids that you love each other is important.

First of all, it shows that mommy and daddy have a special relationship and it is different from the relationship between parents and children.

Second, it alleviates their fears that you are going to separate.  They have many friends whose parents have divorced.  When your kids see you hold hands and kiss, they have visible proof that you are still in love and that their family is secure.

Finally, it models loving behavior that they will take with them into their own marriages.  One of the best things you can do for your kids is to give them a firm foundation for building their own families one day.

Conclusion

Falling in love is relatively easy.  Staying in love takes more work.  If you make the effort to keep the romance alive, your relationship will flourish.

Think of your relationship as a garden.  If it is neglected, ugly weeds will develop.  But, if you weed the area and prune the flowers – really work at it – you will have something beautiful.

And, just as a gardener enjoys both the work of gardening and the final result, the process of working on the relationship and not just the benefits from the work, can be enjoyable.