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How quickly we grow up and forget all of the little things that used to make our hearts pound: marathon make-out sessions, writing love notes, spending hours creating the perfect mixed tape, going out in groups -- did we mention marathon make-out sessions?
So many of the issues we have in our adult relationships could be resolved if we just took some tips from our teenage selves. Case in point: We reached out to some real couples who are doing just that -- with positive relationship results.
1. Make out
Yes, sex is pretty great. But remember when kissing was the main event? When was the last time you and your spouse hunkered down for a spit-swapping session where someone wasn't watching the clock or the TV wasn't on in the background?
"When you've been married long enough, sex can sometimes become something else to cross off the to-do list. We spent a week away with some newlywed friends and at first my husband started overdoing it on the PDAs, mocking our lovebird buddies, but we found ourselves flirting with one another more and taking their cue in finding little passionate moments out of our usual pattern." -- Carla and Richard, married 17 years, Toronto
2. Write love notes
Remember how your heart would skip a beat when a cute boy would nonchalantly drop a folded piece of paper onto your desk? Or when you opened your locker to discover a note slipped inside? We never outgrow that feeling of excitement at receiving an unexpected message. Whether it's a lovey-dovey sticky note on the bathroom mirror, a funny text or a simple "Hello" waiting among your morning emails, notes never go out of style.
"We have a white board in the kitchen where we leave each other messages like 'defrost hamburgers for dinner' or 'pick up milk' -- but, mixed in with the day-to-day stuff, my husband will often write a sweet 'I love you' message or draw a goofy cartoon to make me laugh. I appreciate that he makes the effort to let me know he is thinking about me." -- Jenny and Michael, married four years, Ottawa
3. Make a "mixed tape"
We don't expect you to go out and invest in ancient technology and sit by the radio hoping for your spouse's favourite songs to come on so you can record them to package with your handwritten liner notes. What you can do, though, is something that will replicate the sentiment, time and feeling that your high school self used to put into those handmade mixed tapes.
Think of something that is as personal and meaningful to your spouse and create it for him. Maybe it's a special meal, maybe it's a playlist on his iPod of the songs that represent your relationship or maybe it's an inside joke. Whatever it is, its meaning should be as loaded as that compilation of music.
"My husband has mocked my attachment to my collection of VHS tapes mercilessly over the years, but I had so many classic films that I just could not bear to part with. For our anniversary a few years ago he presented me with the DVD collector's editions of each of my favourite movies. So now on those rainy days we watch Bogie and Bacall clearer than ever, together." -- Pat and Elizabeth, married 35 years, Montague, P.E.I.
4. Go out in groups
As important as it is to have one-on-one time, going out with other couples is a great way to have fun and remind yourself exactly why you fell for one another in the first place. There is nothing like being out with a group and seeing your friends laugh at your spouse's terrible jokes and watching how other couples interact to really appreciate your partner and the special connection you have.
"We have a great bunch of friends who we see once a week at bowling. It's nice to get out with other couples, but I'm always glad to know who I'm going home with no matter how many gutter balls I roll." -- Dave and Suzanne, married 22 years, Okotoks, Alta.
Next time you're reminiscing about the good old days, take a moment to ponder your teenage relationship milestones. Improve your marriage and surprise your spouse by finding ways of working your teenage smooth moves into your current romantic routine.