By Susan Menahem, LCSW
Clinical Executive Director
No matter how long you’ve been together, who doesn’t want the excitement and intoxicating feelings of love, romance and intimacy lingering throughout their relationship? Well, have no fear, because if your relationship romance meter is stalled in the dead zone, I’m here to help you revive it. As a therapist, I can’t tell you how many people come in for couples counseling asking me to help fix the intimacy problems in their relationship, so have no fear, you’re not alone!
OK, so here goes, the top 10 sure fire romance spicer- uppers…. Ready? Well, the truth is — I don’t know. Wait a second now, don’t click out just yet. The truth is, I don’t know – but you do!
Here’s a story…. I was in a couples therapy session with a couple I’ll call Mary and John. Mary was just beside herself. In an effort to spice up the romance in their relationship, she purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of lingerie from a very expensive shop. Much to her dismay, John barely noticed. When I asked John about it, he said “Lingerie??? I have never been turned on by a woman in lingerie! Now if she came to bed in one of my dress shirts with a pair of high heels that would be a different story!!”
Hang with me for one more story, the punchline is coming. Another couple, we’ll call them Vinnie and Fred. Vinnie was a handyman and Fred was an artist who worked with oil paints and portraits. Fred began the session by complaining that Vinny never did anything to show his love for him. Vinnie was dumbfounded and visibly hurt. His reply? “Are you kidding me??? Where do you think that studio came from? I converted our garage into a beautiful studio for you with the perfect lighting, heat and air conditioning, a slop sink and a full kitchen! If that isn’t love and romance than what is??”
The fact of the matter is that you can probably find hundreds of lists suggesting ways to spice up a relationship but you’re never going to find a list of things to spice up YOUR relationship. Only you know what gets you going and only your partner knows what gets him or her going. A generic list is going to be just that … generic.
Here’s where the “top 10 sure fire romance spicer-uppers comes in.” You and your partner are each going to create your own lists of 10 things that if someone did for you it would be intimate and romantic. The items on your list have to be specific and measurable. In other words, “be sexy” is neither specific nor measurable because as we saw with Mary and John much of this is very subjective. Next, you are each going to exchange lists and commit to doing one thing on your partner’s list per week. Now, no judgements on what your partner thinks is romantic. If he wants you to read to him at night or if she wants you to wash her hair, so be it. Be inventive and really give some thought to the things you would like done for you. You can either decide that everything on the list has to be completed before there are repeats or you can just give your partner the cart blanche.
Lastly, if you have to tell someone how you like to be romanced is it still romantic?? Answer: Absolutely. Let’s remember, just because you’re into someone doesn’t make that person psychic. People don’t just “know” this stuff and as we saw with Vinnie and Fred, what one person thinks is romantic may not be what another person thinks is romantic. The fact that your partner read list, picked something from that list and made it happen just for you … I dare you to tell me that’s not romantic!
So, go get cracking on those lists and have some fun with it … you’ve still got some time till valentine’s day! Oh and by the way, in case you’re wondering, rekindling the intimacy can absolutely help spice up or revive your sex life! (Come on, you know you were wondering!)