Romance, after all, requires a certain amount of leisure, and when you're pulled in all directions, it can feel like there's not enough time. Mares outlines six tips to help you find the time to bring romance back into your relationship.
1. Set a schedule
There's nothing sexy or impulsive about scheduling "together time," but when spare moments are in short supply, there's not much choice in the matter. "Unless people are finding it easy and they have enough leisure time to be spontaneous, the only way you can get romantic is if you schedule it," says Mares. "Now that doesn't mean you have to have sex, because that kind of pressure can be stressful... but just spend time together," she suggests. Make this work for you by having a predetermined, reoccurring date, like a weekly movie night or monthly getaway, where romance is top priority – no excuses!
2. Factor in some fun
Let's face it, it's hard to be attracted to someone you now only see him or her elbow-deep in diapers or attached to their work BlackBerry. Hectic work schedules and the routine of running a household or family often precipitate a romantic slump. Discover a fun activity that you enjoy doing together and incorporate it into your routine, being sure to include sex. "One of those activities would hopefully be sex, which is not only fun but fulfills a physical need," says Mares. Of course, romance doesn't have to be only serious and sultry: any activity that gets you smiling and laughing together can be just as effective.
3. Forget your finances
Financial stress has a tendency to overshadow all other facets of life, including relationships, and many marriages deteriorate when a couple is more focused on paying down their mortgage than they are on bonding as a family. "Most people think that at some mythical time in the future, they're going to retire and finally enjoy their lives... and of course by that time, if they haven't maintained their relationship, they've fallen out of love or at least become quite distant," Mares says.
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4. Perform regular maintenance
"You need to find the time, energy and opportunity to address problems," says Mares. "Disagreements, hurt feelings, misunderstandings... these things happen in a relationship, and can become a big problem if you don't address them." Harbouring resentment or bottling up your emotions are guaranteed ways to kill your mood when a romantic occasion arises. Talk about your issues before the boiling point is reached, and involve a third party such as a marital therapist or counsellor if the situation requires it.
5. Get some sleep
As if you needed another good reason to press the snooze button – the physical and mental benefits you reap from clocking seven to eight hours of sleep every night will do more for your romantic life than a piece of lingerie ever could. Sure, kids, work, and life can get in the way of long visits with the sandman, but sleeping should be at the top of your priority list when time allows. After all, when are you more likely to be frisky: when you're tired, cranky and stressed or when you're rested and refreshed? As Mares says, "Don't expect your love life to sparkle till you're able to be well-rested."
6. Spend time apart
If you want to see the ballet and your husband wants to see the Bills game, you should do both... separately. It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to maintain a healthy romantic relationship you need to have things you enjoy doing independently of each other. "A relationship can become claustrophobic if it's the only significant one that people have, and they don't have the opportunity to go do other things," says Mares. "You partner won't seem as much like an exciting other person if you share everything."
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