If we don’t master these tools by Valentine’s Day, we can keep working on them, as the Dr. might suggest.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and while I’m not a big Hallmark kind of guy, I DO know that many of the couples that I counsel come to see me because they want to reignite their relationship and have more romance and passion in their lives. And after 20 years of counseling couples, I believe that I have a few tips to offer you. Hint: It’s NOT about candy and flowers!
Just as there is no quick fix to weight loss, there is no quick fix to reigniting your relationship with romance and passion. Just as with weight loss, you must create Lifestyle Changes and create new Habits that will result in romance and passion beyond your dreams.
And while I can’t make any promises, I bet that if you begin to implement these life changes NOW, you will probably begin to reap some of the rewards by Valentine’s Day!
So let me share three of the tools that I use with my couples in my face-to-face counseling practice as well as when working with them via Skype or telephone coaching.
The first one, probably won’t sound as sexy as the next two; yet believe me, when you truly master these, and truly apply them with your partner on a regular basis, you will definitely open up to sharing passion.
Relationship Tool #1: Appreciation
Yes, appreciation and gratitude are fundamental qualities of long-term successful relationships. Yet for many, this is so challenging. Perhaps it’s because as children, we were exposed much more to criticism than to compliments by our caregivers. We knew that our parents loved us, but we didn’t always hear it from them or hear it from them frequently enough. Perhaps your current relationship is similar? Perhaps you know that your partner loves you, yet they have a hard time letting you know. Or letting you know in a way that you can hear it, in a way that you can feel it and let it in.
The second tool is based upon the clinical research data of Dr. John Gottman, a world-renowned researcher on marital stability at the University of Washington, Seattle. His research revealed that happy, stable couples have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. In other words, for every negative remark or comment, there are five positive ones. This develops what Gottman calls a “reservoir of positive feelings.”
We “bank” these positive feelings and they help counteract the negativity, which is in all relationships to some degree. We ARE human, after all.
And the specific way that I recommend that you get started is to “Have fun!” Believe it or not, this might be particularly challenging to you and your partner.
Many of the couples that find their way into my office have become stuck in old, rigid patterns of interaction. And, it gets old, it gets tiring, it gets tedious and it gets BORING! There is NO PASSION in tedious and boring.
When we first meet our partners, we are open and laugh and share in very child-like and loving ways. This is a good thing. So, let’s get back to doing what works! Let’s have fun like children do!
Relationship Tool #2: High Energy Fun
The second tool then, is the tool of High Energy Fun. The point of high-energy fun is to recapture that spirit of fun, of silliness, of spontaneity that children have. It’s silly, it’s frivolous, it has no extrinsic value. And yet internally, intrinsically, it is what keeps us alive and vital and connected. There’s nothing like a belly laugh to open you up, and put you in a good place. From there, with an open heart, anything is possible in a relationship.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to spend five to ten minutes, twice a week with your partner doing some type of High Energy Fun activity which will cause you not only to smile or giggle, but to burst out into deep belly-laughs! It may take you some practice and you’re going to have to move through your resistance, yet I encourage you to give it a try.
Okay, now let’s get to the third to reignite your relationship. This is a tool, which is a more direct practice of romance and passion, designed to fill you to overflowing with sexual heat.
And it will be a stretch for many of you, yet I encourage you to try it out, stick with it for a while and see how your relationship can benefit from it.
Sexual intimacy, like emotional intimacy is about discovering new parts of yourself and sharing them with your partner. So this tool is about stretching and trying on new attitudes, experimenting with new ways of being together sexually.
Relationship Tool #3: All-Day Foreplay
What do I mean by “All-Day Foreplay”? In America, the statistics seem to be that the average couple has less than 19 minutes of foreplay prior to lovemaking. And generally, it has become pretty routine. And that is the average, so half of couples have less than that!
You all know what I’m saying. I bet you can predict it like clockwork. Maybe it starts with your move, whatever that might be. Maybe a yawn or a stretch, or “look how late it is” or something pretty mundane to get into the bedroom if you’re not already there. Or reaching for your birth control method of choice. How romantic!
There’s the process of getting out of your clothes or taking off your partner’s clothes. Then there’s probably 5-10 minutes of kissing if you’re lucky. Maybe a lick on the ear or a kiss on the neck. Maybe some heavy petting. Then a minute on each breast, and a little time working down the belly. Then a few minutes of oral sex. Maybe you’ll take turns or maybe it will be simultaneous. That’s it. Foreplay is over, time for penetration, assuming you make it that far. And then bedtime.
Boring, predictable, routine. All-Day Foreplay takes this all to another level.
If you begin to add these techniques into your relationship “tool belt”, I guarantee you will reignite your relationship and have great passion. Appreciations will take less than 5 minutes/day. High Energy Fun will take ten minutes a few times/week. And All-Day Foreplay, well, that will GIVE you back so much energy and aliveness, that the time you spend investing in it will return to you one-hundred fold.
So please, practice these three tools. Don’t just think about it, make a change. Start NOW!
This article originally appeared at The Passion Doctor.
Photo by Moonlightbulb.