40 ways to add romance to your relationship

By: Cheryl Embrett

© Productions Author: Canadian Living Credits: © Productions


40 ways to add romance to your relationship

By: Cheryl Embrett
"‘How was your day, beautiful?' he murmurs as he walks in the door. Before I can answer, he brushes my hair behind my ear, then softly pulls me in for a kiss, his lips gently brushing mine. He smiles seductively. ‘I've been wanting to do that all day.'"

Who wouldn't like their relationship to read a little more like a romance novel some days? But the reality of our busy, nonfiction lives filled with work, chores and parenting keeps getting in the way. Book some time to renew the spark with these 40 fun, flirty (and mostly free) suggestions.

1. Plan a romantic scavenger hunt

Hide clues around the house ("Roses are red, violets are blue, look behind my favourite picture of you"), accompanied by foil-wrapped chocolate hearts or candies. Have a special gift at 
the end. If the last clue leads to the bedroom, for example, leave a small book of love poems tucked under her pillow.

2. Take an interest in your partner's interests
If there's 
a sporting event you know he would love to attend, surprise him with tickets and go as his date. My husband still raves about the time 
I took him to a Buffalo Bills game and tailgate party wearing a team sweatshirt and cap. (Did I mention I 
hate football?)

3. Serve heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast
If you don't 
have heart moulds, use a spatula to shape the batter. Serve them by candlelight – even if it is 7 a.m. On weekends, mix mimosas to add to 
the experience.

4. Create a game
Design a personalized crossword puzzle for your sweetie with romantic clues such as, "Where did we have our first kiss?" It's easy at

5. Start cuddling
Hit the snooze button to buy yourself at least five minutes to cuddle before getting up.

6. Create cutesy love notes using props from around the house
Try sugar packets ("I'm sweet on you"), playing cards ("You're the queen of my heart") or fireplace matches ("I'd love to light your fire"). Don't worry about sounding cheesy: That's part of the fun.

7. Kick up your heels and go dancing
Or tango, waltz or salsa at home. "We love to go to the kitchen and dance together," says Victoria Shepherd, a mom of two in Toronto. "The kids think it's really gross when they catch us kissing, but it helps us remember that we're a couple, not just parenting partners."

8. Cycle together
Rent a bicycle built 
for two.

9. Surprise him with a simple act

While your partner is taking 
a shower, throw a fluffy towel in the dryer so it's warm when he or 
she reaches for it.

10. Write an old-fashioned love letter
Tell him all the things you love most about him. Spray it with perfume 
and seal it with a kiss (using your reddest lipstick).

11. Create a romantic playlist

Make a romantic playlist 
of your partner's favourite 
songs and sneak it onto her iPod.

12. Shop at the right place

Go lingerie shopping together and let him choose.

13. Show your partner you're paying attention
"My husband does adorable little things that show he knows me," says Luana McDonald. "One day he picked me up from work with a bouquet of asparagus – my favourite – and cooked my favourite meal of 
steak and asparagus. Another time, 
I complained on Facebook that I 
was low on peanut butter – another favourite – and he picked me up a giant economy-size one. What's not 
to love?"

14. Surprise your partner with an adults-only weekend
Arrange for the kids to spend a couple of nights with their grandparents so you'll have the 
house to yourselves.

15. Spend more time together

Spend a Sunday afternoon watching your favourite romantic flicks together. Or play hooky from work during the week and sneak off to an afternoon movie.

16. Relax together

Book a full-body couples' massage. If that's not in 
your budget, set up a home spa with massage oils, scented lotions 
and relaxing music.

17. Linger in a warm bubble bath (or hot tub) together
Light candles and open a bottle of something cold and bubbly.

18. Take a train ride together
There's something incredibly romantic about train travel, especially if you book a sleeper. After a candlelit meal in the dining car, let the clickety-clack of the wheels and the whistle of the horn lull you to sleep.

19. Spruce up your bedroom

Treat yourselves to a sumptuous new bedspread or faux-fur throw and a set of luxurious high-thread-count sheets.

20. Send a sexy gift

Mail a lingerie gift 
to your partner's office.

21. Remember the good times
Take a stroll down memory lane and visit some special places from your early dating 
days. Or pull out your photo albums and reminisce.

22. Try something you haven't done in a while
Play footsie under the dining room table or sneak a kiss when you're waiting in line at the grocery store.

23. Schedule regular date nights
Yes, it's cliche, but when was the last time the two of you had some quality time without work or family life interfering? It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. "We have a standing lunch date on Saturday, just the two of us," says Helena van Nooten of Toronto. "When our two girls were young, that was the best time for their godmother to babysit. Now the girls take care of themselves, but Chris and I still do lunch together most Saturdays."

24. Focus on the positive
OK, so your partner forgets to pick up after himself and he watches too much TV. But he's also smart, funny and good with a hammer (which are all reasons you fell in love with him in the first place, right?). Remind yourself of that often, and tell him, too – maybe with an out-of-the-blue text or old-fashioned handwritten note.

25. Re-create your 
first date.

26. Greet and leave each other with a kiss
Lock lips whenever you say hello or goodbye. 
A quick peck on the cheek should be reserved for friends and relatives.

27. Plan a getaway
Pore over travel books together and plan your dream vacation. If Tuscany is your chosen destination, for example, 
sign up for some Italian lessons with your cara mia.

28. Go stargazing
Download SkyView, a free mobile 
app that will help you locate stars, planets and constellations (including the one that matches your sweetie's zodiac sign).

29. Be a kid again
Take a ride on the ferris wheel when the fair comes to town.

30. Pamper each other
Pamper, pamper, pamper. 
Maria Goulart says her husband brings her a cappuccino in bed every 
morning. Sweet!

31. Seize the moment
I've always wanted to go on a European river cruise, but there never seems to be enough money in the budget. On a recent birthday, my husband borrowed a neighbour's canoe, packed a hamper full of my favourite foods and rowed me down the Humber River in Toronto in 
the rain. It's one of my most 
romantic memories.

32. Take a morning shower together.

33. Plan a horse-drawn sleigh ride for two
Snuggle under 
a warm blanket and enjoy a Thermos of mulled wine.

34. Try something new together
Join a team, take a cooking class or buy a season's pass to the symphony. Every winter, Colleen Fisher Tully and her husband, Bill, spend Friday nights playing recreational dodgeball in Toronto. "A marginal bit of danger coupled with teamwork showed us just how close our relationship is," says Colleen.

35. Snuggle 
up for 
an afternoon nap 

36. Find ways to say "I love you"
Leave an "I love you" note in her lunch or gym bag. 
Or write it with chalk (or snow) on the driveway.

37. Work out together
Get sweaty together. 
A couples' workout will get those feel-good endorphins pumping.

38. Hold 

39. Dine alfresco
"After a beautiful fall morning of checking out yard sales, my husband surprised me with a delicious picnic lunch on the beach," 
says Kim Smith of Dartmouth, N.S. "We watched surfers ride the waves and children run after seagulls, and we felt very connected." Don't have a beach in your neighbourhood? Eating takeout in the park can be just 
as romantic.

40. Take a leisurely stroll
"Going for weekend walks in the neighbourhood gives us a chance to chat about what's going on in our lives," says Tom Hedefine of Toronto. "We stop for a tea or coffee, drop into local stores and just enjoy time together. It's a real life and relationship recharger."

This story was originally titled "Random Acts of Romance" in the February 2013 issue.

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40 ways to add romance to your relationship