People in long-term relationships often complain about the lack of romance in their lives.  Careers, kids, money, and other practicalities of life crowd out the time and attention the couple originally devoted to each other.  Experts and friends advise these folks to prioritize the relationship, to communicate with each other, and to remember to woo their partners.

All of these efforts are, of course, important.  But honestly, don’t they sometimes sound like more duties to put on your huge “to do” list?  And let’s face it, most husbands are probably not all that excited to sit in front of a calendar planning out date nights, to engage in relationship heart-to-hearts on a regular basis, or to figure out how to call a babysitter so he can plan a surprise night-out.  When the woman ends up putting in more effort, the whole thing backfires and nothing changes.

That may be why, despite our best intentions, we often fail to live up to the promise of recommitting to increasing the romance in our love lives.  Perhaps the key to success is to make it feel like fun rather than work.  So how can we do that?

First, we should acknowledge the popularity of romantic fiction heroes, pin-up girl posters, and pornography suggests both men and women like romantic fantasy in one form or another.   Moreover, both probably want a little fantasy introduced into regular life.  That desire doesn’t diminish an appreciation and need for real love and relationships, but it just might enhance it.images-7

Second, we should also recognize partners might have different ideas about romance.  Generally, men are physically motivated, while women require emotional stimulation.  Maybe your man wants you to dress up in sexy underwear or a naughty-costume, or experiment with edible lotions and oils.  Maybe you want him to make you feel sexy and pursued, the way you did in the beginning.

So let’s barter!   Take one hour to make up a short list of fantasies you’d like to experience over the course of the year, and let your partner do the same.  Exchange lists, but don’t ‘schedule’ them.  Let that be part of the surprise.  But once someone initiates one, try to take turns.

I’ll start you off with two suggestions.  One for him and one for her:

For Him:  Masks

No, I’m not talking about kinky sex.  I did, however, read an account that intrigued me.   Apparently taking away sight during sex will increase the stimulation of the other senses.  A long-married couple both donned sleep-masks while making love.  Afterward, they reported reconnecting with the feel, scent, taste and rhythm of their partner in a way they’d long forgotten.  It turned out to be surprisingly sensual after years of the same-old routines in the bedroom.

For Her:  Little Surprises

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I LOVE flowers.  I’m particularly fond of tulips, Gerbera daisies, and peonies.  The other day my husband made his monthly Costco run.  Naturally he returned home with too many paper products, but he also presented me with a bouquet of flowers.  His sweet, unexpected gesture told me he’d thought of me when he saw them.  Being thought of counts for a lot!  Whimsical small gestures will go a long way to making any woman feel loved and, almost more importantly, liked!

Now, get off the internet and go barter!

Of course, you can help this lady out by sharing one or two of your own suggestions here (leave a reply)!

xo-jamie