This blog is the fourth in a February series from SAS Work/Life. First we had Laurie Watson talk about Finding the Love you Need. Her blog was followed up by an excellent Lunch and Learn Attachment and Dating! Next, Dr. Mona Gupta and colleagues blogged about Dating the Second Time Around. The third blog, To Have and To Hold or To Hold Out, was a very funny discussion by Caitlin Kline about deciding if he or she is "the one." Today we are wrapping up the series with a blog for those of you who are in a long term committed relationship and want to Rekindle the Romance! Those of you who tuned in last year to our February Podcast Series called "Keeping the Passion Alive" will recognize this blog as being similar to the forth podcast in that series.
My first suggestion to rekindle the romance in your relationship has to do with touch. I want to start by talking about touch because touch is such an important part of love and sex. The United States is a very “low touch” culture. There are actually researchers who study how often couples touch each other in different countries. A psychologist, Sidney Jourard, studied couples around the world who were out to dinner and recorded how often they touched each other in an hour. Couples in Paris touched each other 115 times- not a surprise! In Mexico City couples touched each other 185 times an hour. In London, the average number of times couples touched each other was zero; and in Florida, 2 times an hour- JUST 2 times an hour. It is certainly a cliché to think of the wife who says her husband never touches her unless he wants to have sex, but it sounds like there may be some real basis to that. In the US, touch is a much underutilized strategy for increasing love and passion in a relationship!
My second suggestion is to try new experiences with your partner because exciting activities that produce adrenaline can heighten your attraction to a person. Try to think of activities you might enjoy doing together that will get your adrenaline going- skiing is a great suggestion this time of year. Too much? What about horseback riding or even go-carting.
This next suggestion seems obvious, but I bet many of us don’t do it. If sex is important to you in your relationship, create a deliberate intention to cultivate a rewarding sex life. This starts with positive self-talk. For example, if we tell ourselves we are too tired and stressed to have sex, that is what we create. Prioritizing your relationship, including the sexual part, might seem like an impossible task with busy jobs, children, pets, relatives, bills, etc., etc. However, once you start prioritizing time alone with your partner you will find that you have more energy, are less stressed, and have a greater overall life satisfaction than when you didn’t make time. Passion probably won’t be maintained without dedication. You have to put effort and energy into your relationship in order to keep the passion alive.
Finally, I will end with a few more suggestions of ways to integrate touch and prioritize your relationship.
- Your partner is leaving to go somewhere. Tell them to come see you before they go. When they come to see you, give them a 6 second kiss.
- Your partner is back from their errand and is doing some housework. Without saying a word, touch their arm or shoulder and then join in and start helping them. Trust me on this, there is nothing sexier than a man cleaning a toilet!
- You have just woken up and your partner is lying next to you. Roll over, put your arm around them and tell them how thankful you are that you get to wake up next to them every day.
- Try this exercise to plan a fun weekend: Each of you write down a list of 4 or 5 activities that you enjoy. Then each person will pick 2 things from the other person's list that they would agree to do - plan out your day or weekend to do each of these activities together. Say you love hiking but your partner not so much. Or your partner likes to sit at coffee shops but this isn't your preferred way to spend your time. This will give you the chance to get to know and honor your partner's interests and what makes them unique. Even more, you are demonstrating respect and empathy for what the other person enjoys, scoring you big points in the other person's eyes all while creating shared memories.
I hope this blog has given you some ideas about how to Rekindle the Romance in your relationship! Best of luck!