Spice it up with some mystery
Plan a mystery date with your man to add some excitement and give you both something to look forward to. Set a day, but ask him to leave all the planning to you. He'll love the fact that he doesn't have to do anything but show up. Plan a date that revolves strictly around him. "Tending to each other's interests is really important," says Hendrix. Take him to do something you’ve neglected in the past like rock climbing or ice fishing. Don't be afraid to get creative: draw a map with directions and include instructions on what to wear and when to show up. Even if you live together, take separate vehicles. This will add flavor and spice to your date – just make sure you get there before him!
By doing something selfless you're showing your man that his interests are just as important as your own. This will encourage him to do the same for you. The next step is to set a day every week where you alternate planning secret dates.
Rev up your sex drive
Romance in the bedroom is one of the first things to go in a long-term relationship and can often play a significant role in divorces and breakups. Remember how ravenous and passionate you were when you first met each other? You can have that again. Quickies before work or after you've put the kids to bed shouldn't be the basis of your sex life. Find the time to lock yourself in the bedroom for an afternoon delight between the sheets. As little as 10 minutes of passion can do wonders for your relationship.
Pick your battles
We know to pick our battles at work and with family, but when it comes to relationships we feel justified in expecting getting everything we want down to a T. Communication about what may be bothering you is crucial but so is keeping your mouth shut. Next time you get annoyed at your partner not taking out the garbage, instead of nagging consider what he has done to keep you happy that week. Chances are you've missed many small gestures along the way because you're too busy focusing on what he didn’t do.
"There are two realities in a relationship, and both are valid. In most relationships, one person always wants to define when, how and what. With time, their partner begins to resent this. It's important for the one defining reality to be aware there's another point of view and if it's not forthcoming to solicit it," explains Hendrix.
Page 1 of 2 – Are you the type to hold a grudge? Find out how forgiving your mate can help rekindle the spark between you on page 2.
Forgive and forget
We all know the saying but few of us live by it. Instead we forgive but continue to dwell on a problem for weeks, months – even years. As a result, feelings of resentment, anger and frustration percolate just below the surface and we punish each other for the same mistakes.
"Rough patches produce emotional memories to which we attach strong feelings," says Hendrix. "When we dwell on a mistake it gets charged with added energy and becomes dominant. Consciously decide not to recall that memory and move on. Don't continue to hold your partner accountable."
Stick confidently by your decision to forgive and forget about it. Don't guilt trip him for something that's happened in the past to get what you want and certainly don't expect to get away with something because of his past mistakes.
Some of us download a lot and unconsciously neglect our partner's need to express himself or herself. "The talker isn't usually a good listener. They don't realize their partners, who often become resentful because they always only listen, want a turn," says Hendrix.
If he comes home and wants to tell you about his day at work and you know you'll be bored to death, suck it up. Consider all the times he's patiently rubbed your back as you vented about your girlfriend's catty attitude. If he feels you're tuned to him, he'll notice your efforts and return the favor. "To have a fun, loving relationship, take turns. It's that equalizing of availability to each other that increases intimacy and respect."
Spend time apart
This may seem counterproductive at first, but give it a chance. Comfortable relationships aren't always exciting simply because we get too used to a routine. We need time apart to explore personal interests and passions. Send him off on a trip with his friends for a weekend, or go on a spa retreat with your ladies. Maintaining your personal friendships is necessary for the overall well-being of your relationship. Also, consider how much more you'll appreciate what he does around the house when he's not around to do it.
"Couples have to respect each other's privacy and figure out how much time apart is relevant to them. Sometimes, they can even take private time on vacation. But after, they need to come to an agreement that there will be intentional reconnection time," advises Hendrix.
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