Once or twice a month, I like to include a real from-the-heart post on my blog. After talking with friends and reading 15 Things All Women Absolutely Need to Hear written by my friend Summer of Dirty Floor Diaries, I started to think about not just a woman’s needs and not just a man’s needs, but a couple’s needs. Love is easy when you’ve just met someone and you’re experiencing the excitement of first kisses and first vacations, first time saying “I love you” and plans to move in together. But then there’s wedding drama and pregnancy and children and work schedules and dance class to drive your kid to and a disorganized home and… well… all that goes into being a husband and wife and parent. And then, it’s very easy to get caught in a routine that leaves little room for the most important thing of all. The thing that brought you together in the first place — LOVE.
Photo credit: Michele Anne Portraits
So how can you maintain the passion that once brought you together? (Or bring it back if you fear it’s lost?)
Reconnect with those initial moments of flirtation. Remember when all you seemed to want was that other person’s attention? You wanted to look cute, be playful, and hope that he reciprocates? Why did that end? Shouldn’t you still want his attention? Isn’t that why you chose to spend your life with this person? Try to connect with how that felt. Talk about when you started dating, look at pictures, watch home movies, read old letters.
Kiss daily. And not in just a ritualistic sorta way. I mean, yes, I kiss my husband before he goes to work and when he gets home and that sorta thing. But what about when he’s drawing a bath for the kids or while I’m preparing dinner or putting on the kids’ pajamas? We may not have all the time to physically connect on a greater level, but everyone has time for a 1-minute kiss at random.
Laugh. For me, few things are sexier than a naturally hilarious sense of humor. Those moments where you end up spitting a mouthful of water everywhere because your partner just said the most hysterical thing ever? Those can be a turn-on. Make each other laugh endlessly and don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself and each other. Just make sure it’s good-natured and fun!
Surround yourself with people who excite you. I have this thing about being around people, especially new, energetic people. I feed off their energy and excitement… and, well, I want to physically share it with my husband. The time on the golf course at an engagement party may not have been the right time to express it, but feed off of the energy of others. And don’t be afraid to talk about sex with other people. Even that can be stimulating and you may get some new ideas.
Compliment each other. After a hard workout when my husband’s arms look great and he’s got that sexy/sweaty thing going, that’s the time to remind him how hot he is! But it’s not the only time… Because he’s awesome all the time and should know that I notice all of his awesomeness. Like when he gets the kids to bed at night or comforts them when they get boo-boos. When he makes us all pancakes for breakfast and then does the dishes. When he mows the lawn so the children can play in the yard. When he makes a real difference at work. He should know that I notice all of these things and that I’m proud of him. Always. Do not reserve compliments for the extreme situations. Give them freely whenever you feel like your partner did something awesome. It will make both of you feel great!
Be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner if something you do feels good or bad. Ask him what he fantasizes about. Ask him if he finds a celebrity attractive. Ask anything and everything to better understand your partner. However, make sure whatever questions you ask, you’re willing to answer yourself.
Don’t be shy. Walk around the house unclothed, leave the door open when you go to the bathroom. This is the man who most likely saw you birth your children – It’s okay to be ‘naked’ physically and emotionally. Sometimes I still catch myself being shy and I realize how silly that is after all we’ve been through together over the last 10+ years.
Make time. This may be one of the toughest after having children because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, but you need to find them. Read a book together after the kids go to sleep, watch movies, watch a TV series on NetFlix, sit in the backyard and talk, go on a date night once or twice a month. Make time for each other – your relationship is worth it and will truly suffer without it.
Make love. This doesn’t have to be intercourse. This can be a full body massage, a bath together, just laying side-by-side in bed looking into each others’ eyes. Yes, married people with children actually do these things! Embrace, caress, and love on one another.
Have sex. Engage in some serious throw-down sometimes. Get caught in a moment and don’t worry about the pile of laundry next to you or the dogs that need to be walked. Use the couch, the floor, the table, whatever. Sex is not reserved for the bedroom. Sometimes you just have to go with what you feel and be spontaneous, try new things to excite each other!
Be honest. About everything. And while you should be sensitive to your partner’s feelings, you shouldn’t have to compromise honesty for tact. There’s a right way to say something and a wrong way to say something, but if I put on an outfit for date night and look like crap, dammit, I want to know that! If I cook a dinner that isn’t so great, tell me! And if there’s a problem much deeper than fashion and food, communicate that, too. There’s no possible way to set goals together and work on improving a relationship if both partners are not honest with one another.
Forgive. You’re both going to mess up sometimes. It happens, and the longer you’re together, the more time you have to make mistakes. If you want to stay together, if you want to make your relationship work, you must forgive. It doesn’t mean you will forget – and sometimes you will have to talk about things that you or your partner have done because it’s on your mind (even if it happened years ago). But find the forgiveness in your heart to move forward and feel confident about your future together.
No contingencies. You don’t love your partner when or if he does something. You love him wholly. We often say things like “It would be so much easier if he (insert something)” or “I never get help with (insert something else)” but your love should not be dependent upon these things. Give your partner love freely, frequently, and sincerely.