Romantic relationships can be both exciting and stressful. As you get to know one another it can often be difficult to crack the code of your partner’s individual needs, while also managing your own. As a result, many relationships fail or quickly turn from star struck lovers to platonic college roommates. No matter your marital status, keeping the romance alive when you’ve been in a relationship for some time does take work. The following are some ways to help keep you and your partners love tank full:
- Create a Morning Ritual – Develop a morning ritual with your partner that becomes a consistent part of your day. For example, learn about one thing that will be happening for your partner today or always ensure that you part ways with a kiss or an “I love you”.
- Take Time for Touch – When caught in the daily grind, we can literally lose touch with our partner. Did you know that a 20 second hug can reduce the harmful effects of stress and get the oxytocin (aka the love hormone) flowing? Or that holding hands can have a similar effect? Other simple acts such as a flirtatious pat on the behind or rub of the shoulders can keep that physical connection alive.
- Actively Admire – Compliments go a long way in any relationship and can be as easy as pointing out the small things like how your partner looks or something they always do for you. Write down 5 things you value about your partner and share it to let them know they’re appreciated or keep a gratitude list either together or separate and regularly review the things you love or appreciate about one another.
- Blur the Boundaries – Most of us have a division of labour within our households whereby each partner typically has their own responsibilities. Without being asked, surprise your partner by completing one of their tasks. Preparing dinner for your partner when it is usually their responsibility is a great way to blur the boundaries!
- Make Technology Work for You – Leave the house in a rush? Busy day ahead? Technology is not always bad for a relationship. It only takes a few minutes to send your partner a cute text, loving email, or silly meme to let them know you’re thinking of them, which is a sure way to bring a smile to their face.
- Learn Together – Having a shared goal creates commonality within a relationship, stimulates conversation among partners, and provides opportunities for closeness. Take on new ventures together, whether it be cooking classes, beer or wine-making, a co-ed sport, or training a pet, just to name a few.
- Unplug – There’s nothing that says “I’m not listening” than checking your phone for your latest text or email mid-conversation with your partner. Turn your phone on silent when having quality time together so that you give your partner undivided attention. This shows that you really value the time you have with them.
- Create a Date Night Jar – It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane daily routine and, before you know it, you realize watching TV together doesn’t always cut it. Create a date night jar by independently writing down date ideas, fold them in half, and put them into a jar. Each month pull out one card and do the suggested activity (without complaint!).
- Carve out Time – Taking time off for a vacation or staycation is not always possible (although certainly ideal!) so it is important to get creative with the time you do have together. Make it a nightly practice to check in with one another, even if it is for only 15-20 minutes per day. Check out this nifty outline by The Gottman Institute on how to carve out The Magic Five Hours for Relationship Enhancement.
Finally, if you are feeling like you need help keeping the romance alive in your relationship, reach out to our couples therapists, Dr. Holly Whyte or Dr. Janice Dicks, for individualized assistance.