If you’re thinking: “I don’t feel special anymore. My partner takes me for granted,” then you'll want some romance boosters.
Most of us pack our schedules full, and then complain that we don’t have time for one another. But recall when you were dating. The situation was often reversed—you threw caution to the wind and made one another a priority—sneaking out of work for a picnic lunch, taking a sensual walk on the beach, calling one another frequently, making smores by a campfire, dabbing on some cologne or perfume, dressing to entice, spending evenings cozying up in front of a fireplace, or finding some unique way to make the night special. Keeping one another at the center of each other’s universe is within your reach. What does it require? Here are some tips:
1. “What would be fun to do today to make my partner feel special?” Make focusing on one another into a daily loving habit—not another duty on your “to-do” list. That means—not treating one another as a “side-dish” but as the main course in your life. What does this entail? Time! Setting aside time for one another. As a psychologist, I set aside a full hour for each client. I do not take calls from my mother during this time, nor fold clothes, nor check my email, nor invite my children in to join us. Why not give myself that time with my husband each night? An hour is too much? Even a half hour, or fifteen minutes doing something we both enjoy (walking the dog together, a mini-bike ride, meeting at a café for dinner, working on a home project, sitting in the jaccuzzi together) helps us both feel important, loved and cherished. Toss in a playful touch of upbeat humor (not sarcasm) and you’ve created a warm atmosphere in your lives together.
2. Sharing best moments of one another’s day: “Tell me about your day. What did you enjoy?” Sharing positive experiences brings you closer—it helps you share what’s most important to both of you. Many of us come home with a list of complaints “I’m so stressed..., You can’t believe what that jerk did today…” Training yourselves to make sure that you also share the joys of each day makes you feel, not that you dump on one another, but that you lift one another up. Others come home and keep their inner world locked up and throw the key away—the silence from such individuals imprisons both partners. The larger point: Sharing your inner world with one another, positives and negatives (and being a good listener) helps you both feel intimate, rather than strangers living in the same house.
3. Tender touches help you emotionally connect. Maybe you don’t have time for a leisurely or sizzling night of love-making. Maybe you’re not “in the mood.” That doesn’t mean that loving touches have to dry up. Gently caressing one another on the face, light kisses on the cheek, holding hands, a playful pat on you’re partner’s bottom, giving each other mini-neck massages all help say, “You’re important.”
4. Telling each other what you cherish and admire in one another strengthens your love. Don’t leave this up to guesswork “She knows I love her—why do I have to tell her?” I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t know. She may be thinking, “I wonder what he sees in me? Does he love me for what I value in myself?” Get in the habit of sharing your tender words of admiration with one another: “I love the way you taught the children how to swim. You were so gentle with them.” or “I admire that you were honest and direct with your boss.” or “You look handsome in that new suit!”
5. Know what each other finds sensual or sexy. What you find sexy may be a turnoff for your partner. Many couples think that the initial passion during the courtship period should be enough to carry them through a lifetime of romantic tenderness. Not so. To keep the flames alive, over the months, years and decades, you both need to know what types of things are sexy for you—and what are turnoffs. Then share this info with one another—and come up with things you both enjoy—uniquely tailoring your lovemaking to please you both.
A caution about a sexless relationship: If you find that you never have time for sex, that’s a warning sign that you are not making one another a priority. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you are holding in resentments. If so, find a way to gently and accurately communicate what you’re feeling—even about the negatives—in order to keep your love vibrant and to recapture those “in the mood” feelings.
6. Small thoughtful or humorous gifts help you stay connected. Bringing home your partner’s favorite sweet corn from the farmer’s market, picking up a book you know your husband would love reading, buying your girlfriend a goofy stuffed animal that has some special meaning for both of you, sending your partner a romantic card, leaving playful notes around the home—all help you feel special to one another.