Take a look at the dictionary definitions of romance, and you’ll see it described as a love story; a rare epic tale of chivalry and adventure between two lovers in a far-off, long ago, or entirely fantastical setting. We grew up watching cartoons and movies where knights in shining armor heroically rescue their princess, while a doe-eyed little girl bats her eyelashes and sighs, “isn’t it romantic?”. Some of us may read romance novels, where unrealistic or damn near impossible relationships unfold in the steamiest ways possible, to the point that you wonder, “if they’re spending all this time having this life-changing sex, when do they go to work or do the dishes?!? This is nothing like MY life!” The word romance has become so…well…romanticized, that we’ve put it on a pedestal as this unobtainable thing. Romance is, at a glance, epic and beautiful and perfect and ideal, and life is far from those things, so why even try? But the truth is, we strive for romance in our lives because we thrive on romance! Our bodies and souls crave that brain-tingling, butterflies-in-our-stomachs, head over heels, gushy romance! Besides, our love life is often one of the few aspects of life we have true control over, so why not put in a little work at being more romantic to try and reach that ideal? The outcomes and benefits are definitely worth it! No matter how long you’ve been with your partner in passion, try these seven simple ideas below to help rekindle the romance in your lives!
1. Get to Know Each Other:
Whether you’ve been with your lover for weeks, years, or decades, you can still always learn something new about them…always. Sit down over coffee or tea every weekend and have a themed conversation: start with a topic such as “Grandparents”, How You Spent Your Summers Growing Up”, “Deepest Fears”, “Favorite Movies”, etc. Talk about the topic from your point of view, in depth, allowing your partner to interject, agree, build on, or jump off, and just let the conversation go where it will…tangents are fine! You’re bound to get into some serious bonding, and learn new things about each other in the process. Want to take things less seriously but still dig deeper? Sit down and take some Buzzfeed quizzes together! Haven’t you always wanted to know what your age should be based on your tastes in cheese, or what Disney Prince or Princess you should marry? Take the silliest quizzes you can find, share & compare results, and discuss. Does the algorithm nail your personality, or not so much? Remember that “getting to know you” isn’t just for new relationships. People’s feelings, interests, and attitudes change over time, so even if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, some of what you find out through these chats might surprise you!
2. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane:
Remembering not to take each other for granted is a huge part of romance, so keep the flame lit by regularly waxing nostalgic with your loved one. Think about (and talk about) all those early memories…your first kiss, the night you first said “I Love You”, your first (or favorite) time having sex (bonus points if you recreate it!), and what made you really fall in love with them. Recalling memories like these triggers the same emotions and feelings as those early days of having a crush, and it really will bring a fresh new spark to your romantic life. Also, it helps to remember back to when you used to think about how lucky you’d be if you got to be with that person forever, now that you ARE with that person forever and you’re annoyed by the way they load the dishwasher.
3. Keep Date Night Sacred:
Some people think it’s ridiculously cheesy to call it “date night” when you’re going out with your spouse or long-term partner instead of patently dating, but cheesy is OK when it comes to romance! Regularly making “Date Night” an official thing is important to keeping the romance alive. Besides, if you don’t call it Date Night, how does your partner know it’s special? There’s a difference between a proper date night, and the two of you just randomly deciding to eat at a restaurant because you’re both too tired to cook. Don’t bother with subtle hints that you want him to wear something other than ripped jeans and his old college sweatshirt, or want her to keep her phone put away for the duration of dinner. What you do for Date Night doesn’t matter, and it can change every time, but lay some basic ground rules for attire and behavior on date night, and stick to it! Calling it a date night, making it a tradition, and treating it like special occasion actually makes it feel more special, and you two can spend your evening truly enjoying each other’s company instead of feeling annoyed that they’re not acting like it’s a date.
4. Brag About Your Partner:
It can be all too tempting to bad-mouth your partner when you’re out with just your friends, and slip into talking about the last fight you had, or how you’re annoyed by how he chews, but try flipping the script and talk positively about your partner the next time you meet up with your girlfriends or guy friends. Excitedly proclaim that you might not eat much at the restaurant because your hubby is a better cook and you’re still full from his last meal, or tell your buddy that complimented your new football jersey that your super-thoughtful wife got it for you, along with a framed poster of the team for your man cave. Don’t be afraid to show your glow! You might make your friends a teensy bit jealous, especially if they’re having less-than-perfect feelings about their own love lives right now, but you’ll be able to hold your head high and look forward to returning home to someone who makes you feel so awesome. Focusing on the positive, even the little things, will actually make you feel happier about your relationship and more in love with your partner, even if things aren’t perfect. Brag about them when they’re with you, too, and pay them genuine compliments as publicly as they’re comfortable with, and you’ll be writing your own romance in no time.
5. Try Something New:
Studies have shown that novelty makes the heart grow fonder. Simply doing something…anything…new together is enough to make two people feel closer. Chat about some things you’ve always wanted to try but never have before, then go do them! Take a pottery or painting class, try a yoga class, take a walking tour of a nearby town, see a comedy show (or if you’re brave, hop on an open mic night and give your own mini-sesh). Try a cooking class, salsa dance lessons, a virtual table read of a script, or even just a double date with the new couple that just moved in down the street. Whatever you do, do it together. You’ll be boosting your brain, learning new skills, and having a great time, too! As your brain creates those new pathways for the new concepts you’re engaging with, your partner will become a part of those memories, and the experience will become a serious bonding moment that your brain will cherish for a long time. Plus, you’re adding something the two of you have in common, and making more happy memories together that you can refer back to in the future when things get a little rocky!
6. Make Sex Special:
We’ve talked before about the importance of scheduling sex, just to make sure you remember to have it frequently. That can seem very unromantic, but in our chaotic lives, it is sometimes necessary. Even if your sex is scheduled, you can still keep it spontaneous and surprising by treating it like a special time, every time. Even just adding one tiny thing you wouldn’t do normally jazzes it up enough to make it super-romantic. Light some candles, start with a sensual massage, surprise them with a new set of lingerie – even if it won’t stay on very long, try a role-play scenario, or have sex in a new spot in the house. If you show your lover that you’re devoted to this time for just the two of you, and strive to make it romantic and memorable, you will have them wanting to provide for your every desire, and will keep them melting for you no matter how long you have been together.
7. Surprise Them:
Almost everyone likes surprises, even if they say they don’t. Maybe not everyone would love to have a surprise party thrown for them, but if the surprise is low-key and just between you two, not many people are going to come back with “how dare you do something thoughtful for me!”. Occasionally surprising keeps them guessing, and lets them know you’ve been thinking about them. We’re used to receiving gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and maybe anniversaries…surprising your lover with a gift you know they’ll love on a random Tuesday will set the mood for a great romantic day, at least after you’ve reassured them that they’re not forgetting a special occasion! Surprises don’t always have to cost much, either. Make your lover their favorite breakfast in bed, or sneak a sexy love note into their lunch box, and you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand in no time!
Hopefully these tips and tricks give you some fresh ideas to help you find romance, love, and joy in new ways as a couple. Keep celebrating Romance Awareness Month, and happy romancing, Lovers!
Until next time, Yours,
~The Intimacy Advisor