Whether you’ve been married for years or in a new relationship, Zelda West-Meads, agony aunt for You in the Mail on Sunday, offers advice for spending quality time together.
Married for years or in a new relationship? Zelda West-Meads, agony aunt for You in the Mail on Sunday, offers advice for spending quality time together
Do you remember when you first met your partner? You couldn’t keep your hands off them and felt a tingle of excitement every time you went out on a date?
These days, does it seem as though all your conversations are about who is collecting the children from swimming or a party or what sort of new sofa to buy?
With a bit of effort and TLC, there are lots of ways of bringing the spark back into your relationship.
1. Communication, communication, communication
When you first fell in love, you probably talked for hours, discovering everything new about each other and sharing how you really felt. Once you are together all the time, the business of life takes over and you stop doing this. It’s really important to keep talking and, perhaps even more importantly, to keep listening. The closer you feel emotionally, the more romantic you will feel towards each other.
2. Be best friends as well as lovers
Share the good and the bad with them and be there for each other. To have someone to turn to when you need them most, and vice versa, makes you love them even more and want to be with them.
3. Date nights with a difference
It’s really important to make time for each other, but don’t just go on date nights – go on date adventures. Research shows that if couples do exciting things together, that excitement can be transmitted into the relationship. So as well as romantic dinners, from time to time, test your limits – try zip-wiring or sea kayaking together, or sign up for salsa classes.
4. Keeping up appearances
If you were going out on a first date with your partner, would you wear a scruffy tracksuit and have unwashed hair? Of course you wouldn’t. You don’t need to look like a supermodel 24 hours a day or spend hours at the gym, but it’s important to make an effort. Both partners should wear nice clothes often – and always smell beautiful!
5. Make time to make love
The closer you feel emotionally, the more you will feel like making love – and vice versa. It’s important not to let sex slip off the agenda. Talk about what you both really enjoy and what gives you pleasure. If you have children, put a lock on the bedroom door – it will make the prospect much more relaxing.
6. Resolving arguments
If you have too many arguments or shout and scream at each other then romance heads for the door mighty fast. So learn to discuss difficult situations calmly and listen to what the other has to say. Both be prepared to change and understand each other's needs.
7. The Language of love
Tell your partner that you love them, not just once In a blue moon but every day. An unexpected kiss as you pass, a gentle caress to show you are thinking of them, holding hands when you go out, cuddling up together when watching television.
8. Don’t just be parents
It’s hard, but try not to be consumed by your children so much that you forget to be lovers and partners too. Teenagers can put even more demands on your relationship than young children, but at least they go out. Make the most of these times and do fun stuff together. Or go back to bed, and I don’t mean just for a nap!
9. Be appreciative and spontaneous
If they do something nice for you, be grateful. Be kind to each other. Little things can really make them feel loved so buy a book or a CD for them that you know they would really like and surprise them with it.
10. Plan for the future
When your children do eventually leave home, work on your relationship and how you would like it to develop with your newfound freedom. Have the courage to talk about what is good in the relationship and what you would like to change. Make plans, whether it’s changing jobs, moving house, or exciting and romantic holidays for just the two of you.