With most of the kids away, my husband and I find ourselves with a bit of quiet time together. Over dinner last night he wondered aloud what we would do if we didn’t have all these yahoos around all the time. I’m sure we could think of something, but having a list like this on hand makes it easy to choose.
We watched a movie together. That’s basically free, entertaining, and we can lie together on the couch, sharing reactions and commentary. This is delightful, don’t get me wrong, but I’m wondering about when the kids are busy all the time or moved out, the house relatively clean and we’re left together over dinner and the rest of our lives. Will we get tired of each other?
I ask these questions so you can ask them yourself, too. Where are the strengths in your relationship? What do you need to work on? Movies, candles and massages will only take you so far. What else can we do to keep our love renewed?
Here’s a list of some things I enjoy doing and hope to do with my partner in life, and you’ll notice not all of it revolves around idealistic romance. Thinking that romance and true love revolve solely around sex is like thinking that keeping a house clean is about making sure the bed is made and the toys kept up; it’s just not that simple.
- Share coffee/tea in the morning before kids are awake (obviously a goal of mine, but when we heard a friend made the coffee for her husband before work, I noticed my husband’s eyes lit up)
- Take a bath together more than once a year
- Weekly massages
- Get hot and sweaty doing yard work or some other non-sexual workout together
- Share a shower at least once a week
- Tea and talk before bed, after kids are asleep — check in on goals, dreams, hopes, worries — just be sure to finish with resolve and happy thoughts
- Hold hands while walking
- Hold hands while driving (at least for a couple of minutes, not in heavy traffic!)
- Kiss daily
- Share the household chores
- Practice positive communication: if you have to criticize, offer five compliments before you critique or ask for something
- Respect each other’s space
- Express emotions honestly, to yourself first and then to the other
- Realize it takes more energy to be angry than to let go
- Leave notes for him to find — we like the SHMILY (See How Much I Love You) notes left in random places, and I like to leave notes on his napkins if I make his lunch
- Talk to each other throughout the day
- Go out to eat and share your food, or at least a dessert together, from the same dish
- Know his favorite foods and try to make a dinner for him at least once a month
- Occasionally give him a weekend day to do what he wants — sleep, read, video games, etc.
- Do you ever wear your sexy lingerie?
- Sort through your clutter at the same time, you through yours, he through his; this keeps both of you on task and keeps you from making possibly hurtful comments
- Make or buy him something you know he likes, a card, a shirt, a blanket, a hat, a piece of art . . . something that every time he looks at it or uses it, he’ll know you love him
- Maintain a good relationship with his parents if you have one
- Take turns picking the movie on movie night
- Be kind to his good friends
- Let him take you out on a date of his making
- Slightly embarrass him in public by telling others in casual conversation some of the wonderful things he does for you
- Whisper in his ears
- See in him daily the young man you loved from the start
This is just a list of some little things we can do to nurture our relationships. I didn’t include the bigger things we hope to do together, like go to Europe, travel all the states, go to a Zen retreat together, etc. Most of these items are free, save for your time and loving energy.
Feel free to share your ideas. I’d love to read them. Happy romancing.