Communication is generally accepted as one of the most important elements of a successful relationship. Certainly the cause of romance benefits directly from the development of communication skills by allowing us to convey appreciation, respect, encouragement, and love. These expressions may be transmitted in a variety of ways including: body language, in writing, and, of course, verbally.
• Everyone loves receiving mail. Yet in this age of e-mail, faxes and cell phones, how often do you receive personal correspondences in your post box? Take time to write your dear one a hand-written note, greeting card, or postcard. Put on a stamp, and send it through the good old-fashioned mail.
• If it is okay with your spouse's employer, email him or her a quick update on what's going on in your day. This is a easy way to stay in touch, and since it can be read at one's leisure, does not interrupt important business.
• Leave a short love note for your sweetheart, tucked in an unexpected place, such as a shirt pocket, briefcase, lunch, or purse. "Sticky notes" are great for leaving quick expressions of love on a bathroom mirror, computer screen, or steering wheel.
• Remember Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke? That popular television program featured the most subtle of romances. Yet the characters' subtleties were highly communicative. Try a warm look from across a crowded room, a blown kiss, loving smiles, knowing nods, timed winks, and flirtatious glances.
• Strong verbal cues demonstrate security in a relationship. As often as possible, tell your beloved that you want, need, and love them.
• Common politeness is often neglected in day-to-day interactions. Get back in the habit of using phrases like "please," "thank you," "you're welcome," and "excuse me."
• Get in the practice of noticing the little things. "Boy, that shower looks great; thanks for cleaning it." Timely compliments show that his or her efforts are not taken for granted.
• Compliment your partner at least as often as you did when you were dating.
• A brief phone call will also be valued before an important meeting or interview to offer encouragement and boost confidence.
• Upon returning home, meet at the door and greet each other pleasantly with "Good to see you," or "I thought about you a lot today." Wait to discuss the ills of your day until after you have both had some time to relax.
• At least once a week, as an after dinner treat, retire to your porch, patio, deck, or den to get reacquainted.
• Begin a disagreement with a hug and words of commitment, "First, remember that I love you. Now, let's talk about what is going on."
• Declarations such as "You were right," "I will always love you," "You amaze me," "You are so smart," "You are so sexy," "You are my best friend," "You are my favorite person," and “What a cool idea," need to be said on a regular basis.
• Sometimes the most powerful words you can say are simply "I'm sorry."
• Tell your spouse when he or she is doing things right: "I love it when you call me your bride" or "I appreciate the way you stuck up for me just now!'
• Say only positive things about your partner to other people: "My husband's a great cook," or "My wife is so thoughtful."
Excerpted from Retro Romance by Cheryl and Joe Homme. Copyright 2003 by Collectors Press, Inc. Excerpted, with permission by Collectors Press, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.