I am often asked by many couples, “What does it take to jump start our stagnated relationship and revive the passion that first brought us together?” I tell them that the number one challenge for most partners in long-term relationships is learning how to maintain the balance between making time for intimacy and the demands of everyday life.
When we first fall in love, the romantic thrill happens effortlessly because pleasure-boosting hormones create a neuro-chemical cocktail that drive us toward greater intimacy. Nothing is more important or feels better than being with that one person who makes you feel like you’re on fire. It certainly didn’t take planning or feel like work to keep the flames of lust burning and your interest in one another growing.
But, after you’ve been together for a while, things seem to change. Suddenly, there’s precious little time or energy left over in your day for an affectionate caress, an intimate conversation, or a night of romance. Your days are now filled with to-do lists, kids, work and social obligations rather than steamy all-nighters and poetic love notes. When your partner caresses you, you might get sleepy rather than turned on.
Just as your car needs gasoline and your body needs food, your intimate relationship needs a daily dose of the 3 A’s—ATTENTION, APPRECIATION and AFFECTION, to keep it live with interest, desire and love.
It’s the little things you do on a daily basis that can mean the difference between a passionate, thriving relationship and one that’s on a slow death walk towards infidelity or divorce.
Here are simple things that you can begin to do RIGHT NOW that can really make a difference in enlivening your love life. PRONTO!
1. How do I Love Thee, Let Me Never Stop Counting the Ways:
Romance is the language of love. It’s the little things that we do or say that mean a lot. Let’s face it, everybody wants to hear and know that he or she is loved. It’s important to regularly tell your partner that you love them through your actions and your words.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Leave a love note on their pillow, stuck in their purse, briefcase or book they’re reading.
Bring home a special treat you know your partner will love.
Write a list of all the reasons you love and appreciate them and whisper each one into your partner’s ear.
Text, call or email each other to say, “I’m thinking of you.”
Create a secret signal that says ‘I Love You’ that only the two of you know and send it often.
Now it’s your turn. Add to this list.
2. Keep it Fresh & Plan More Play.
Break through the ho-hum “I’m so bored” barrier that often plagues long-term relationships by learning something or doing something new together. Once a month try a new and different activity–something you normally would not do. Go ice skating, take a salsa lesson, rent rollerblades, sign up for a tantra workshop, go for a full moon hike, stay in hotel in your city and be a tourist. Take turns planning a surprise, mystery date. It’s amazing what getting out of your normal routine and pushing your comfort boundaries will do for your love life.
3. Be Generous With Praise & Saying “Thank You”
Say “thank you,” offer a hug, pay your partner a compliment—anything that communicates you acknowledge and value how important they are to you and that you appreciate them. When you feel grateful for the good things in your life, you attract more of those good things to you.
4. Touch, Hug, Cuddle, Snuggle, & Stroke
So many couples hold back kissing, touching, or holding each other until they have time or the desire to have sex. Researchers have found that holding hands relieves stress and affectionate touch boosts the body’s feel good hormones. Let’s face it, touch is a fundamental part of our existence since we were born. So even a simple hug each day is actually good for your health and wellbeing. Hold hands. Stroke your partner’s arm or shoulder softly as you walk by. Give your partner a 20 second kiss when they walk in the door or are leaving for the day. Affection is the way to make love all day outside of the bedroom.
5. Set Aside Time to be Intimate
Nothing says “I love you” like spending quality alone time together. Before rushing out the door in a frenzy in the morning, get up one hour earlier and share breakfast in bed, read an inspirational passage aloud, or go for an early morning walk.
At the end of the day, instead of plunking down in front of the TV or computer, give each other a massage, take a shower together or do something novel like reading erotic literature out loud or telling each other steamy stories before turning in for the night. Carving out time during the day to be intimate and present to your partner strengthens your bond and builds the desire for affection, setting the stage for great lovemaking.
6. Communicate and Connect
Talking to each other is one the main tools we use to connect with each other. When we open ourselves, share our truth and let our partner know who we are, what we need and how we feel, we open the doors to deeper bonding. It’s important for the partnership to create an open passageway where each person can safely express themselves without fear of rejection or judgment.
Take at least 30 minutes and put out your ‘do not disturb sign’ to the world. Turn off the phone, close the door, and tell the kids, unless there is an emergency, not to even think about knocking. Then, sit down and take a few minutes to breathe and settle in with each other. Ask your partner what he or she needs from you. Share what’s really going on in your heart and psyche, not just your day. Take turns. Openness and honesty are essential. The goal is to show more and see more of each other, rather than defend the status quo. It takes time and patience but is worth it.
Think of your relationship as a love savings account. You get out what you invest into it.
When you make daily love “deposits” of attention, appreciation and affection into your relationship account, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy and sexy love “balance”. By following these six simple strategies and making love a priority in your life, everything else in your life will feel a whole lot sweeter.
This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.