Stoking the Fire is a Must
As important as communication is, without connection — touching, sensing and giving what you have learned your partner needs — a relationship is less likely to be sustainable. Connection is an all-important key component to a happy love life. Here are seven ways to keep that connection and keep your relationship hot:
- Note to self: Keep your mate’s most loving messages and texts on your phone and reread and replay if ever you are feeling less than fully satisfied with your relationship or whenever you want to smile.
Jesse was a guy who knew how to keep a lady happy. He had three rules: 1) What the lady wants, the lady gets 2) Spoil her, spoil her, spoil her 3) When in doubt, refer to numbers 1 and 2. One of this clever man’s ideas was to make every day Valentine’s Day with a card or e-mail or Post-It note at least daily. His mate, Jenny, knew she’d find something somewhere, but never knew in what form or where she would find them. Jesse’s notes could be written on a mirror, hidden in the pocket of her coat or e-mailed at a precise time so it would be the first thing she saw when she sat down at her desk at work. His notes included the following statements:
• “You are the center of my life.”
• “My challenge is to keep you in love with me for a lifetime.”
• “Sex based on love is two melting into one and waking up in heaven.”
• “You are hot. You are beautiful. You have class. You entrance me.”
Men have a lot to do with the success of a relationship, and Jesse is an example of a man who decides to be responsible for the romance level in his marriage and wins.
- Make Time to Make Love: Unfortunately, over time, most couples stop making love with the frequency they did in the beginning and call it normal. The longer you are together, the more obligation you have to keep that spark flying and that usually means spending quality time alone together. Take every opportunity you can to make love by word, deed and physical touch even if it doesn’t end in sex.
If one or both of you is too tired for sex by the time you go to bed, go to bed earlier. And you don’t need to be in your bed to make love. Have sex on the weekends, during the day on the living room floor, on a pool table or in a guest room. If you’re with lots of people, make love with your eyes. Steal glances across the room or touch each other under the table. You don’t need to be ostentatious about your public displays of affection — grossing out the kids or dinner guests is not the goal. In fact, it’s more fun when no one knows you’re doing it.
If you need to communicate to your partner that you desire more sex, try to do it in a nonverbal way first. You should know by now what it takes to get him interested, so just do it. And if you can focus on being a better and more generous lover, he’s probably going to want lovemaking more often, too. If she is pressuring you for more than you want, express how attractive she is to you. Explain that her backing off a bit gives you room to desire her. Then keep that promise.
- Kick Kids Out of your Bed: The family bed concept is terrible for your sex life and can get a bit weird as your children grow. It might bring a sense of connection to the family, but it tends to lessen the connection between parents.
Also, take things a step further and put a lock on your bedroom door. Without one, having a comfortable, relaxing sex life is hard. You will always be nervous about your kids walking in, and you really don’t want to risk traumatizing them or yourself. After all, what’s sexy about an image of the kids walking in and screaming every time you and your mate start to undress? You don’t have to keep kids out of your room at all times but make sure it’s on your terms, when your bedroom door is unlocked.
- Keep Your Pets Out, Too: Bonding over a pet you both love is great. But if one of you is bonding more with the pet than with you, you have a problem. If it’s the latter, it doesn’t mean the pet has to go, but reconsider its role in your life. Pets can come between couples literally and physically and someone who is lavishing excessive attention on the pet may be avoiding intimacy in the relationship.
In addition, some pets like to sleep right between their two owners, making it impossible for you and your partner to touch each other, and touching, sexual or not, is good for a relationship and good for your health.
- Do Things Together: Doing things together is a great way to be mutual. But make sure you’re taking time to do things together just for the sake of doing them, and not because they have to be done.
Quality leisure time is good foreplay. Carve out some time to spend exclusively with your partner. Take a class together, exercise, nap, and go out to eat or read the same book. Share a sense of adventure by traveling together. Train for a race together. There’s a special bonding and turn on that comes along with working out together because your endorphins kick in and you and your partner will share a natural high. You can get similar highs from sharing good food, laughter, socializing, learning, and volunteering. It really doesn’t matter what you do; the point is to do it together.
- Share a Calendar: This is of utmost importance. So many fights start just because someone didn’t have the right information.
He: I didn’t know about your great-aunt’s birthday lunch.
She: Well, I told you.
He: Well, I must not have heard you.
She: You must not have been listening.
This is precisely what a shared calendar can help prevent.
Sharing a calendar, either online or on paper, eliminates some squabbles. And irritation is definitely not foreplay. He can’t be mad because he cooked a big dinner without looking at the calendar to know that you would be at spin class instead of the dinner table, and you can’t be mad that he can’t come to your last-minute work cocktail party because you already know he has a long-standing weekly softball game and the team counts on him. Fair is fair.
- Enjoy Every Minute: If you are at a point where you are able to openly and honestly connect with your partner you’ve also reached a point where you’re open and honest with yourself about who you are and what you need from life. Enjoy and appreciate every minute, even the less perfect ones. It is easier to get through difficult times with consideration and respect plus the cushion of a whole lot of loving.
Dr. Janet Page is a psychotherapist working with individuals, couples, and groups in New York City and Atlanta and is available for appointments, consultation, or speaking engagements via phone, Skype, or in person. To contact Janet, click here.