Refresh your romance for fall
What better time to breathe new life into your relationship than at the start of a new season? If you feel like your twosome needs a seasonal tune-up, we're here to help. We turned to Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., "Dr. Romance," licensed psychotherapist and author of Lovestyles, How to Celebrate Your Differences, for some tips on how to re-energize your romance for fall.
Over an extended period of time, dust and dead weight can accumulate in even the best marriage, Tessina explains, so taking the time this fall to clear out the cobwebs and re-energize your connection is a great idea and the perfect way to start a new season. A regular housework schedule and regular weekly talks can help lessen your problems, keep the resentment level down and keep the communication open, and taking the time to revitalize your romance can do the same thing. Here are a few tips for doing just that.
Tidy up your intimacy
Intimacy is a cornerstone of a good relationship so Tessina suggests making the most of any face to face time you have. But don't think that you need to go out to dinner or do something elaborate in order to reconnect. As Tessina says, it's the little things that count. "Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted," the psychotherapist says. "When this feeling is created, barriers fall."
- Take time to listen to each other. Couples disconnect when they don't feel interested in each other anymore. To reconnect, make an effort to listen and understand each other's needs and wants.
- Touch as often as possible (put your hand on your spouse's leg while driving, give him little squeeze now and then, hug and kiss each other, etc.).
- Create a cuddling space in front of the television, on the porch swing or in your bedroom and use it.
- Make positive comments about your partner's looks or the day's activities.
Get on the same side
The most powerful thing you can do to keep a marriage strong is form a partnership or team where both parties feel respected, cared about and needed. If you feel like you've drifted apart, remember that you're on the same side and it's up to you to make this relationship work – together. If you really want to restore the marriage, begin not by complaining but by seeking to understand your partner, Tessina explains. Once the connection is there, you can begin to work out the issues. "Like shoring up the foundation of your house for earthquake safety, creating a healthy partnership gives your marriage a solid foundation."
Get rid of the baggage
One of the best things you can do for your twosome is wash away old resentments and air out grudges. Talk about what's bothering you in a rational way and find solutions to nagging problems. Ask clearly for what you want, and let your partner know why it's important to you, Tessina says, adding that if you can't find a way to agree, go for a counseling session. "Resentment will destroy your marriage – for the price of one session, before the problem gets too large, you can save it."
Focus on the positive
Putting every flaw and annoyance under a microscope is not going to help strengthen your relationship. In fact, that's the first step towards watching it deteriorate. Instead, Tessina recommends focusing on the positive aspects of your partner and the life you have together. Let your partner know you appreciate what he or she does, his personality traits (his sense of humor, generosity, practicality, work ethic) and the companionship he offers. "The more you praise what you like, the more you'll get of it," she explains. "We all want to be appreciated."