Romance is in the air…or is it? If you’ve been married for any length of time, romance can sometimes fall off the “to-do” list. You get busy, people’s needs are pressing on you, and you feel stressed. Any of those are sure-fire romance-busters. You know it and, usually, you have some control over them.
Yet there is something else – something that is not so noticeable – and it happens by accident. We fall into a pattern called habituation. That means that we get used to something over time and then it becomes not-so-special.
If you’re missing some of that sweet soul music, this Romance Awareness Month is custom-made for revisiting the romance. Here are five ways to get it back:
- Thank you. Courtesies come easy for couples when they are “new” together. They say excuse me, please and thank you. Is there something about married familiarity that short-circuits politeness? Maybe so. And this is the month you can bring it back! Make a point to notice what nice things your partner does. Say “thank-you” for each good thing – and say it loud and clear. S/he might be shocked at first, but pleased – everyone loves getting appreciation.
- I Love You. When was the last time you told your spouse that you love him? REALLY told him – not just a “love you” as you walk out the door or hang up the phone. Probably a while. So try this:
- Make it an event: Get your partner’s attention, look him in the eyes, smile, and say “I Love You”
- Yes, you might get a confused – maybe even a suspicious – reaction at first, but it won’t be for long. If you mean it, it’ll mean something to your sweetie.
- Take a walk – together. Go for a walk and hold hands. You used to do that…remember? Romance awareness month is the perfect time to do it again.
- Go back to the future. What is something you used to do a lot and now you don’t? Maybe you had a favorite place. Or you had picnic dinners in a local park. Go back and do it again. Pack a sandwich (or get one a local deli), a favorite dessert, and a bottle of wine and head for a local park – maybe one where you can see the sunset. Maybe picnics weren’t your thing. What was…some local free concert, a county fair or a fireworks display? Check your local event schedule, find one and go – just the two of you!
- Have a romantic movie night. Find a movie you both like – it doesn’t have to be gooey sweet or romantic movie. Maybe you both enjoy something funny, or scary, or a classic with Humphrey Bogart (yes, I’m thinking Casablanca). Get a bottle of wine, order a pizza, turn down the lights, sit next to each other and have a good night!
And here’s an extra tip: Dump the technology. Make your time together “device-free.” OK, maybe not all the time, but a specific time – like dinner. Nothing says “you don’t matter” like having your conversation interrupted by a text, post or tweet.
Maybe just you will do it at first, but don’t be surprised if, after a while, he responds in kind. And, when he does, you might be surprised at what happens next – and it could very well be the return of some of those old romantic feelings. The Five-Year Marriage abhors habituation. It’s very design is meant to keep you paying attention.
Like these ideas? You can find more tips and techniques in The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.
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