First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Now, what???
Credit scores, mortgages, grocery shopping, laundry, weeding, dusting, past due bills, cleaning out the fridge, the list of responsibilities that go along with being a CFO (Chief Family Officer!) is endless.
Those romantic candlelit dinners, unexpected bouquets of roses, surprise visits to 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 a sure-fire way to feel like roommates instead of soul mates.
So what is a hopeless romantic to do about the realities of cohabitation and marriage? First of all, don’t give up hope. It is never too late to reignite the sparks. Think about it as planning a vacation; you have to buy the plane tickets, make the hotel reservations, and schedule it around the inconveniences of everyday life. It’s 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 there is an opportunity to do something nice for the most important person in your life. For example, 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 is saying you hope their meeting goes well. Pay attention to those small gestures. Lean into them. Make them happen. They matter more than you think they do—because they help you show your partner that they matter to you most of all.
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 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 private time, we 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 us so many times. There is no need to give your children a premature lesson in human sexuality. Or, for that matter, a relative or the Pool boy or whomever else may stop by unannounced. And you need uninterrupted time, even if it is only to talk for a while without having to listen to the latest episode of SpongeBob while you try to connect.
4.Implement a weekly date night
Quality uninterrupted time on a regular basis is key to maintaining a satisfying relationship you’re your partner. It can be any night of the week, whatever fits best in your lifestyle. Personally, I prefer Saturday nights because there is no pressure to get home early because you have 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
There are literally hundreds of other date activities besides dinner and a movie. Why not step it up a notch and get creative? Oftentimes we don’t share the details of the date night until that day, or even until we reach our destination. Date nights do not need to be expensive. It could be a picnic in the park with a bottle of wine, going bowling, going for a long walk, 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 good to go!
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 load for you. If your mate normally does the dishes, you clean up after dinner. I will admit that a clean kitchen really turns me on. And also a clean garage, (yes I have a garage obsession, but being married to a packrat can bring out the Virgo in me). Taking a little bit off your loved one’s daily load does more than say, “I love you.” It shows it.
7. Be unpredictable
Send a FedEx with a love note or a racy photo to your beloved’s hotel room on their business trip. Send a package of their favorite candy to their office or a bouquet of flowers just to say you love them (yes, flowers still work, gentlemen), make their favorite meal,
Change up the date night and surprise them.
8. Be thoughtful
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. That doesn’t mean you have to walk around in a thong and heels or dress like a Chippendales dancer. But by taking the time to do extra grooming, wear their favorite scent, or dress up for your mate, you are sending a message that they are important to you.
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 ends 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 going for you together.
10. Be in tune with your mate’s physical and emotional needs
What each of you need from the other may change depending on life’s circumstances, so open and honest communication is very important to keeping romance front and center. Although it’s easy to just focus on yourself and your needs, it’s crucial that your partner still feels like a priority. Being in tune with your partner is knowing when you need to stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention. Anyone can anticipate needs by just raising their awareness and focusing some attention on their partner for a moment.
Pro Tip=take the words “never, always, can’t stand” out of your vocabulary.