Dear Straight from the Hearter,
I am often asked by many couples,“What does it take to jump start our stagnated relationship and restore the romantic, passionate feelings 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 intimacy and the demands of everyday life. Work, kids, projects,errands, bills, worries are just a few of the many distractions that can fizzle the sizzle of romantic love.
Many of us can remember the early days of love, when our powerful emotions and surging hormones naturally drove us to be closer and more intimate with our partner. It didn’t take planning nor feel like work to keep the fires burning and our interest in one another growing. Unfortunately, once we settle in, routines take over and our attention gets diverted by the other demands and responsibilities in our lives. When we pay too much attention to the needs of the outside world and not enough energy is left over to feed the needs of our intimate partnership, the relationship begins to feel starved and distant. Before we know it, we may emotionally feel miles apart from each other. Here’s a simple truth: a relationship is what two people put into it. You’ve got to make love deposits into your relationship account in order to maintain a healthy love balance.
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 thriving and running well.
Intimate time together, honest communication and thoughtful acts of loving kindness are the fuel of great relationships. So, if you want to replace your fizzle with some sizzle, you’ll both need to move your priorities around, start talking more, and make a mutual commitment to keeping the romance thriving. We all have circumstances and the pragmatic realities of everyday to contend with, yet by making love a priority in your life, all of your life’s events and daily happening can be a whole lot sweeter.
There Many Ways to Say “I Love You”
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 him or her through your actions and your words. Here are a few ideas:
|A love note left on your partner’s pillow, or stuck in their purse, briefcase or in the book their reading.
A card sent for no reason at all.
|Bringing home a special treat that you know they love.
|A call during the day, or a message left on the voice mail, just to say, “I’m thinking about you.”
|A secret signal that says ‘I Love You’ that only the two of you know.
|Depart and reunite with loving gestures. Come together with a loving welcome and put a loving seal on your farewell.
Be Generous With Praise
What you focus your attention on, grows. Accentuating the positive and acknowledging what is good in each other and in the relationship, has positive effects on both partners. When you let your partner know that you recognize their efforts, say thank you and express your gratitude, you help your partner feel recognized and appreciated and you help yourself value and receive what is being given to you on a deeper level.
|Surprise your partner by putting a note and/or flower in their briefcase, purse, desk drawer, trunk of the car, or by the kitchen sink saying…“Have I told you how much I love and appreciate you?”
Script a Why I love you page, tie it with a ribbon and give it to your partner or better yet, frame it.
|Talk together for 10 minutes every morning before getting out of bed or every evening before going to sleep and tell each other what you appreciate about each other.
|Thank your partner for something everyday.
|Ask if you can help.
Talking to each other is one the main toolsl we use to connect with each other. It’s how we extend ourselves and let our partner know who we are, what we need and how we feel. It’s important for the partnership to create an open passageway where each person can safely express themselves without fear of rejection or judgment. Mutual respect, trust and understanding comes from our willingness to tell our truth and allow our partner to do the same.
Here are three ways to begin:
Say What You Feel
Talk about your wonderful and joyous feelings and the sad and lonely ones too. Anger, happiness and surprise are all states of being. They are not right or wrong, justified or unjustified. They do occur and are very real to the person experiencing them. Disclosing yourself immediately brings you to a deeper level of connection with yourself and each other.
Asking vs. Telling
Let’s face it. Judgements and assumptions are happening inside us all the time. The trick is knowing when to share them and when to keep quiet and let your partner express themselves without giving your opinion, advice for action, or downgrading the emotional content. (i.e. “You’re overreacting”, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” “Why didn’t you say…” “I would have handled it differently.” )IF you are uncomfortable with disclosing your own feelings, you may try to shut down your partner’s expression with your judgements. Instead, ASK RATHER THAN ASSUME. Ask your partner what he or she needs from you. Make sure to ask if he/she would like your feedback or advice before giving it.
Tell your Truth.
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. Begin to share what’s really going on in your heart and psyche, not just your day. 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.
Keep in touch.
Doctors and researchers have found that hugging is good for your health and well being. Hugging can lift depression and breathe life into a tired spirit and body. Touching and being touched helps us to thrive. It takes little time to open our arms to one another with huge benefits. What a great way to strengthen your ability to give and receive affection, so give warm hugs to your partner, family and friends often.
Seal it With A Kiss
Kisses are the food of love. A loving embrace of the lips. Wordlessly, they say many things.”Welcome home.” “I cherish you.” “I’m yours.” “I’m sorry.” ” I’m here for you.” A kiss can lift the level of the moment from barren and ordinary to loving and intimately extraordinary. So, kiss and BE KISSED regularly.
Create Intimate Time
Before rushing out the door in a frenzy, get up one hour earlier with your partner and have breakfast in bed, read an inspirational passage aloud, hold each other and whisper sweet nothings into each others ears, go for an early walk, give each other a massage, make love, take a shower together. Give your partner a 20 second kiss when they walk in the door or are leaving for the day.
Hug, Cuddle, Snuggle, Touch, Stroke
|Touch each other without using your hands. You can touch with any part of your body, your hair, your feet, your arms. There are parts of your body that are seldom touched that are especially sensitive. See if you can find these parts on your partner’s body–and on your own.
Experiment with textures and touch by stroking your partner’s body with assorted items, a silk scarf, a feather, a piece of fur.
|Wash and brush your partner’s hair.
|Create an environment with lighting and sound that is condusive to wanting to make love. Soft music, flickering scented candles, a warm bath, clean, soft sheets, wearing something that feels sexy to you.
|Read erotic literature together or tell each other steamy stories.
Learn 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, go for a full moon hike, stay in hotel in your city and be a tourist. It’s amazing what getting out of the routine will do. Here’s some additional thoughts and suggestions….
|Look for props, ideas and places to go. There are wonderful resources and sources of romantic inspiration on the internet, TV, radio and in the newspaper.
Watch the sunset together. Bring a blanket and picnic.
|Learn a new dance together. Take a dance class or use a dance dvd.
|Take turns planning a surprise, mystery date.
|Watch a gourmet cooking show, then cook a meal together.
Rent a bicycle built for two.
|Celebrate your anniversary more than once a year. For example, celebrate your 1000th day together, or any of your firsts…such as the first day you first made love, or the day you started living together, or the day you first said, “I love you.”
Start with any of the above. I promise that it will make a difference in your love life!
Wishing you many blessings of love and joy,