The strength of your marriage or relationship depends on the choices you make to improve it. Unfortunately, many couples have lost the spark they shared before they married or got together, and have replaced it with a humdrum routine – especially after 20, 30 or 40 years of marriage. Dating and romancing your spouse can change those patterns, and can be a lot of fun, but will require some hard work and the courage to step outside your long-established comfort zone. Planning and energy are imperative for making good times happen again.
Is it worth the trouble?
It is thought a lack of dating and romance in marriage is one of the major causes of broken relationships. Marriages usually don’t collapse overnight. They become bankrupt gradually because they lack daily deposits of love, communication and affirmation.
Below are a number of ideas to help you in your romantic expression with each other, not just for Valentine’s Day but throughout the whole year. A few of these ideas may be too outrageous for your style. It’s okay to read the ideas, shake your head in wonder, and mutter, “Some people are really odd,” but see if any of them can be adapted to suit you and/or your partner.
There are two things you need to rekindle the spark of a platonic marriage: imagination and courage! If you decide to wrap yourself in gladwrap, good on you, but if your partner falls off the bed with laughter, then be prepared to laugh too! If you write a poem you think deserves a Pultitzer, don’t be offended if your wife guffaws with laughter instead of swooning. Just be courageous and give it a go – laugh at yourself – and have fun! The biggest mistake is thinking after many decades of marriage, your partner just doesn’t care anymore.
30 Tips for Romance
1. Re-create your first date. Cast your mind back through the decades and see if you can recapture some first date magic. Where did you go? What were you wearing? What did you eat?
2. Write the love story of how you met. Get it printed and bound
3. Go back to the location you honeymooned and have a second honeymoon
4. Write your own love poem. Even a simple “Roses are red…” rendition will make him or her smile.
5. List your spouse’s best qualities in alphabetical order.
6. Do something your spouse loves to do, even though it doesn’t interest you personally
7. Write out romantic notes and leave them in places your spouse will find them
8. Mail your spouse a love letter to arrive on Valentines Day
9. Write “I love you” in the dust around the house instead of complaining about it.
10. Set up a surprise manicure, hairstyling, or massage appointment for your spouse
11. Hide small gifts your spouse will find throughout the week
12. Remember how you used to laugh at things he thought were funny? Do it again.
13. Reminisce through old photo albums.
14. Leave teasing notes around the house to create an atmosphere of anticipation.
15. Using plastic cups, create your own miniature golf course by placing the cups in different locations around the house and have fun creatively playing the game together
16. Get up one morning and head out in the car together without planning one single thing
17. When you’re the one who’s correct during a discussion, give your spouse a kiss. Focus on your love rather than who’s right
18. Send your wife a compliment through one of her friends or colleagues
19. Go swimming (or skinny dipping) in the middle of the night (not recommended for a Dunedin winter!)
20. Rewrite a love song that is popular and personalise the lyrics to your relationship.
21. Create a series of thank-you notes. Send one a day for as many days as you can think of something to thank your mate for. Some things to be thankful for are: his or her character, things he or she has done for you, his or her commitment to you. One line on a card day after day will make a big impact.
22. Make his or her favourite meal. Add a white linen tablecloth, candlelight, flowers, and music. You might even wear a waiter or waitress outfit — then ask for a tip with a wink and a smile.
23. Have an old-fashioned evening. Send a formal invitation, come to the door with flowers and chocolates, open doors for her, and perhaps find a nostalgic place to go on a date. Find a Lover’s Lane where you can park, “look at the moon,” and steam up the car windows a bit. Give her a kiss under the light at the door at the end of the evening.
24. Kidnap your spouse from work or some other responsibility—like in the middle of mowing the lawn—blindfold him or her, and then take him or her to a romantic rendezvous.
25. Serve breakfast in bed with an invitation to spend the whole day there.
26. Have dinner someplace different in your home: in front of the fireplace, on the rooftop, on the patio or balcony out back, in the attic, or under the tree in the backyard.
27. Do something on a date you rarely do. Go to the zoo. Go to the park and feed the ducks. Take a picnic to the river or park. Go to the thrift shop and buy something outrageous. Skinny-dip in your backyard pool. Do a couples photo shoot at the beach or other special location
28. Rent an old-fashioned romantic movie and pick up the story line someplace in the middle. In the forties, sex was not allowed on the big screen (even if the characters were married). At the moment in the film when you think they might have succumbed to their passions, turn off the movie, and go finish the story line in your room.
29. Renew your wedding vows privately at the foot of your bed, or pick a new place to renew them every year, and make it a romantic getaway to look forward to after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
30. Do a “Count our many blessings” evening. Each of you take turns recounting the best days you can remember, things you are thankful for in your mate or family, and what you are grateful for. This is a nice pillow talk activity as it often can take a rough day and turn it into one that makes you more in the mood for intimacy.