Where did the romance go? If you're like most couples, including
my clients and myself, you get home from a planned date night
feeling wonderfully upbeat. The next night you can barely remember
where you went to or what you ate.
Sporadic attempts at romance are just that - temporary and
easily forgotten. From date night to a Valentine's Day weekend
getaway, each has tremendous value, while we're doing it. But when
we return home to our predictable routine of working and caring for
our children, those special one-on-one moments with our honey
Does this mean that a marriage with children is in trouble if
the couple doesn't have those heart throbbing romantic highs once
shared in the dating phase? Absolutely not. When kids are in the
mix, married couples should expect a more tempered, but certainly
visible, daily romantic connection.
There are two kinds of romance, the one that spontaneously
happens to you because of a special setting, like watching a sunset
over the beach, or gazing at each other through a candlelit dinner
with soft music in the background, and the one you make
happen anywhere, by consciously choosing to say the right
words at the right time to your mate. The first type of romance
readily happens during the dating period, the second type requires
greater awareness and effort if you and your spouse want keep your
romantic attraction alive for the long-run.
The things we say and do, and don't say
or do, can spark or block a loving connection. Our daily word
choices become what I call a couple's "daily communication
routine," as described in Fight Less, Love More. Hard-pressed for
quality time with our partners and spouses, it's easy to fall
victim to a poor communication routine. To stop this from
happening, today I ask you to pay attention to your established
communication routine. Then, if needed, include these loving
comments in your conversations with your honey. Ask your spouse to
do the same and the results will astound you.
First, let's put our mate first, every day. When one of you
walks in the door, immediately greet each other (not the little
kids or your computer first). Or, if you see your kids first, greet
them, but don't stop there. Find your spouse. A gentle touch on the
shoulder with a simple "Hello, how was your day?" warms up the
night. If you're on the phone when your mate gets home, end the
conversation. Yes, your spouse's arrival takes priority over
Second, say "good morning," and "good night" to each other every
day. These statements bring to mind that it is a good day or night
because you are together and with your special someone. Not
surprisingly, in our online research we found that 25 percent of
couples don't consistently say goodnight to each other, and of
those, 70 percent had thought about breaking up in the prior
Finally, show love by highlighting your mate's positive
character traits. Pick one out every day, and if you think that's
hard, simply look for the little things. Make comments like, "I
love you for (fill-in-the-blank)." As an example, one day I told my
husband, "I love you for leaving a new tube of toothpaste on the
bathroom sink for me to use. That was really kind." And one of my
favorite compliments (which my husband knows) is to hear him say
some variety of, "You are such a good mother because you have so
much patience with the kids." Interestingly, in our research, when
we asked people whether they'd prefer their mate compliment them
for being good-looking (a visual compliment), or kind (a character
compliment) 84 percent answered, "Kind."
A positive daily communication routine is the way to keep love
alive, when you don't have time for a vacation or a hand-in-hand
sunset walk in the park. For romance to thrive during child-rearing
years you have to choose it, or lose it.
Relationship advice from best-selling author Laurie Puhn
See more of Laurie's stories here.
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