Take a look at these tips to keep your relationship off the rocks, and on solid ground.
Romance for the uninitiated: If your partner doesn’t initiate with you romantically and intimately, you can encourage him or her by writing down things you like on cards and putting them in a bowl. For example: give a massage, plan a date, have a shower together, create a romantic mood, offer a hug and a kiss when you see each other after work, write poetry, etc. Get your partner to take one card out of the bowl each evening and learn to become intimate. Since they’re your ideas you are more likely to respond in a positive fashion. Also it has been observed that many couples lack romance in their busy lives and many women’s desire is evoked through romantic gestures. A simple way to bring intimacy to the relationship is to put together a romance chest — include wine, candles, scented oils for massage, chocolate, etc. When you’re in the mood you can go to the box and set the scene for a romantic evening.
Touch and feel: To help connect on an emotional level with your partner take a minute each day to look into your partner’s eyes and express how you feel about him or her. Follow it up with a kiss…with your eyes open. Also spend a minute each day facing each other and pressing your hands up against your partner’s. Look into each other’s eyes. Then tell him or her something you like about about him or her. Nonverbal intimacy, even for a short time, can short-circuit the day’s frustration and put you in a positive mental state. The verbal reinforcement helps insure you are connecting on all levels.
Heartfelt gifts: Every now and then surprise your partner with a gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big but make sure when you give it, you tell your partner how much you love and appreciate the things he or she does for you. It will create a sense of gratitude and your partner will not feel taken for granted.
Banish anger: To release anger in a way that doesn’t escalate to an argument, find a target that you can pretend is the person you are angry with and throw bean bags or darts at. Verbalize what that person does to make you angry. On each throw you release your resentment and frustration both verbally and physically. This way you don’t take it out on your partner. And, by letting off steam you have a chance to discuss your feelings clearly and honestly.
Time to relax: For couples with kids it’s important that you share raising them fairly. Take turns preparing meals, running them around and picking up after them. This allows the other partner to have some down time. Make a schedule that blocks time for both the daily chores and free time. Taking time to relax will help you be more up for positive interaction with your kids, and each other.
Active listening: This exercise can help you and your partner understand and learn what the other is feeling so that you have a chance to start solving issues in your relationship. Find a quiet private place in your home. Take turns telling each other what you want to say. When one of you has spoken the other partner must repeat back what was said, NOT what they think they heard. Repeat your partner’s sentiments until you get it right. This will save misunderstanding, confusion and lots of yelling!
Treat each other like royalty: Take turns bringing each other a meal in bed. It’s intimate, and makes your partner feel special and cared for.
Partnership building: To strengthen your partnership try doing things together that need both your input. Going camping, for instance, can be fun, but you have to help each other pitch the tent and encourage each other’s efforts. A change of environment and teamwork can work wonders for the sex life.
3-point plan: When you and your partner have resorted to insulting each other it causes a lot of hurt. Both partners in a relationship need to take responsibility for being mean and hurtful. Each day turn to each other and APOLOGIZE for a wrong doing, mention something you RESPECT in your partner and then CONNECT by hugging or kissing. These three things, done daily, can really ground the relationship.
Poetry and romance: A simple way to show someone you care about them is writing a poem. It may seem old-fashioned but if it’s romantic and heartfelt it can create emotional desire.
Active together: To help reconnect, find an activity that you can both learn to do together. Look for something that you both find interesting. It will keep you connected and focused on accomplishing something NEW together.
Let go: Old issues can destroy your chances of moving into the future. Couples can write down their past issues and transgressions on small cards then attach them to balloons. Facing each other, take turns reading the cards. Each partner needs to look the other in the eye, acknowledge the issue, make a heartfelt apology and then let the issue go forever. Watching the balloon float way allows the process of closure.
Hot spots: On plain paper, make an outline of your body. Mark down on the diagram exactly what you like sexually and where you like. Be explicit. Swap diagrams and learn about your partners hot spots.
Trust the outdoors: Rock climbing with your partner can help build trust. For added adventure (and in a safe environment) one partner can be blindfolded while the other leads with words of direction and encouragement. This experience helps each partner see how they need to work as a team to accomplish some things.
Up the excitement level: It’s important to feel confident about your body and sexuality. Try taking lessons or get an instructional video for erotic dancing. It can be learned in private and helps relieve anxiety and build confidence.
Trade ‘duties’: It may be hard to believe but anything can be foreplay as long as you apply the right thinking to it. Turn an everyday chore into fun by making a romantic gesture while cleaning, cooking or folding the laundry.
Keep in touch: Couples with busy schedules often have a hard time staying connected. Calling each other and talking in a romantic way can give you a chance to build up desire so that when you meet you are ready for intimacy.
Hypnosis: Hypnosis can help with ingrained bad habits, like constantly being late for all of your dates. See if this techniques works on a bad habit you can’t seem to break.
Clear communication: To learn to communicate clearly and to listen better one partner is blindfolded while the other has to describe a picture of shapes and patterns. The blindfolded partner must try to draw the picture relying solely on the other partner’s instructions and listening carefully. It is an exercise that helps reveal that clear and precise communication is important.
We time: Couples need private time. Make boundaries in the home if living with others and schedule private time with your partner. Take a trip on a boat, or have a picnic in the park or even rent a hotel room, anything that allows you intimate time together.
Games for commitment: An outdoor ropes course can play a key role in teaching a couple to support and encourage each other on equal ground. Reaching the end of this physically challenging course depends on the pair’s ability to rely on and support each other. It is a good test for any relationship as it identifies strengths, weaknesses and how the couple works together toward a common goal.