Create some zest in your love life starting here and now.
By Julia McCurley
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Then what?
Credit scores, mortgages, grocery shopping, laundry, household chores, past due bills are just some of the list of responsibilities that go along with being a CFO (Chief Family Officer). It can seem endless. Those dating scenarios of romantic candlelit dinners, unexpected bouquets of roses, surprise visits at the office seem like a distant memory of the past. However, letting the drudgery of day to day life put out the flame in your relationship is sure fire way to feel like roommates instead of soul mates.
So what is a hopeful romantic to do about the realities of co-habitation and marriage? First of all, I recommend: don’t give up hope. It is never too late to reignite the sparks. Think about it as planning a vacation. Small steps. First, you have to buy the plane tickets, proceed to make the hotel reservations and schedule it around the inconveniences of every day life. It is the same with dating your mate. You are in charge of making it happen.
As a professional matchmaker and relationship coach, here are my top 10 tips to keep your relationship as fiery as the 4th of July:
1 Put your mate on your daily To-Do list. Every day is an opportunity to do something nice for the most important person in your life. For example, when a song comes on the radio that reminds you of them, that is the perfect time to call and tell them you love them. Or, a quick text saying you hope their big, upcoming meeting goes well.
2 Keep – or start – leaving romantic notes for each other. The way my husband and I do this is with our “bathroom” book. It is a small notebook that goes back and forth between our vanities. There is no set time on when we write each other a note, so it keeps the element of surprise going. Usually the notes entail things like “I had a great weekend with you, thanks for making it so special” or “I really appreciate the way you take care of our family, it makes me feel very loved”. Sometimes, we make it a little racy but always using code words of course. Speaking of code words, that is another way to build closeness in your relationship. When we want some sexy, private time we simply tell our children that we are going to take a nap and lock the door.
3 Get a lock on your bedroom door. This has been a lifesaver for couples so many times. There is no need to give your children a premature lesson in human sexuality. And, for that matter a relative, pool boy, or whomever else may stop by unannounced. Couples need uninterrupted time, even if it is only to talk for a while without having to listen to the latest episode of Sponge Bob while you try to connect.
4 As obvious as this sounds, implement a weekly date night. It can be any night of the week and however it best fits lifestyle. I prefer Saturday nights because there is no pressure to get home early to get up early for work the next day. Schedule a standing time with the babysitter if need be.
5 Take turns planning your date night. Often my husband and I don’t share the details of the date night until that day, or even until we reach our destination. The date nights do not need to be expensive. It could be a picnic in the park with a bottle of wine, going bowling, taking a long walk, and you could even have a date in your home by sending the kids to a sleepover, and watching a romantic movie followed by a bubble bath. Light the candles, put on some romantic music, and you are ready to date your mate.
6 Be helpful. Do a chore around the house that your mate typically does. For example, if you are in charge of the laundry, the other person could do a surprise wash and dry for you. If your mate normally does the dishes, perhaps you clean up after dinner. I will admit that a man who leaves a clean kitchen really turns me on. Same with a clean garage (yes I have a garage obsession, but being married to a packrat can bring out the organizer in me). Taking a little bit off your loved one’s daily duties does more than say “I love you”. It shows it.
7 Be unpredictable. Send a Fed Ex with a love note or a racy photo to your beloved’s hotel room on their business trip. You can also send a package of their favorite candy to their office or a bouquet of flowers just to say you love them (flowers still work, gentlemen). Make their favorite meal, and change up the date night often to keep the surprise dynamic alive.
8 Be thoughtful. Remember, it’s not always all about you. This includes physical appearance. My husband likes my hair long and I prefer he is clean-shaven, even though his alter ego is Grizzly Adams. Dress the way they suggest, or the way you know they like when you want to. That doesn’t mean you have to walk around in a thong and heels or dress like a Chippendale’s dancer. Yet by taking the time to do extra grooming, spraying on their favorite scent, or dressing up for your mate, you are sending a message that they are important to you and that you are listening to them.
9 Be flexible. The reality of the grown-up world we live in is that unexpected things are going to happen. A sick kid, a cancelled babysitter, or intruding work demands can all combine to wreck our best laid plans at romance. That doesn’t have to mean your evening has to end badly. Pop in a DVD and snuggle on the couch while the kids laugh at the antics of Tommy Boy, while you hold your spouse’s hand and appreciate all of the things you have in your relationship.
10 Last but not least, be in tune with your mate’s physical and emotional needs. What each of you needs from the other may change depending on life’s circumstances, so open and honest communication is very important to keeping romance front and center.
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