These days it seems that we are busier than ever. We seem
to be in a constant state of motion, always racing off to
work, or zipping out to run errands, or to take the kids to
their various activities.
Inevitably, something is bound to get lost in the shuffle
of all this non-stop running around-and that something is
often your relationship with your significant other.
Taking good care of yourself makes you feel better
... and better able to give of yourself to those
This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, we
sometimes fall into the unfortunate habit of taking our partners
(and the love they give us) for granted. We assume that they
will just "always be there for us," whenever we
need them, so we begin to neglect the relationship, rather
than nurturing it and doing all that we can to help it continue
to thrive and grow.
Once we start taking our intimate relationship for granted,
though, the romance is often first thing to go.
If your life has become overly hectic and stressful, and
if you think that the health of your relationship with your
partner may be suffering as a result, please consider trying
some-or perhaps even all-of the strategies described below
to reinvigorate your romantic life.
1. Physically demonstrate your love for each other on
a daily basis.
Some couples who have been together for a long time tend
not to hold, caress, massage, kiss, or cuddle as often as
they once did. (Remember, not all touching between romantic
partners needs to be regarded as foreplay, though of course,
sometimes that's exactly what it is).
Think back for a moment to all the sweet, tender ways you
demonstrated your love for each other during your dating days.
try to reincorporate all those small but meaningful gestures
back into your relationship.
A little letter or poem in your own handwriting is a powerful
way to rekindle the sparks.
We tend to forget that as human beings, we require quite a
bit of tactile attention, particularly from our romantic partners.
Just think, each time you lay eyes on one another, you have
a fresh opportunity to show your love.
Even if you are both about to run off in opposite directions,
there is always time for a quick kiss or a brief cuddle --
especially at the beginning and end of each day.
So, be sure to give
your partner a nice shoulder rub, or a foot massage, or a
back scratching session, for no particular reason (other
than the fact that it will make them feel good).
And instead of sitting in separate chairs while you watch
your next movie on television, sit together on the couch,
so that you can cuddle, and perhaps even steal a little kiss
every now and then.
These small but tender gestures take very little time or
effort, and yet they can make each of you feel warm, happy
and cherished for hours afterward. They also have a cumulative
effect, in the sense that each little kiss and caress builds
on top of the one that came before it to continually fortify
and deepen your relationship.
2. Write your sweetheart a love letter.
Perhaps you wrote dozens of love letters and love poems to
your significant other years ago, when you first got together.
Or maybe you have never really been in the habit of expressing
your love for your partner in writing.
Either way, now is a great time to start! And in this case
I'm not talking about a quick e-mail, dashed off in five minutes,
or a little post-it note stuck to the fridge that says, "I
love you. Remember to take out the trash later."
Go to the store for some nice stationary, come home, sit
down at your desk, and before you even put pen to paper, give
yourself an adequate amount of time to think about exactly
what it is that you love about your partner and why. Then,
just like you did back in school, write a little outline of
everything you'd like to include so that you don't forget
anything. And once you've completed your brief outline, start
working on a rough draft.
The reason I advise you to write your love letter in long
hand (rather than typing it on the computer, as you may be
tempted to do) is that writing in longhand is a much more
intimate, sensual experience.
When you are forming the curve of each letter with your own
hand, you tend to feel more connected to the writing experience,
which puts you in exactly the right frame of mind to write
a heartfelt, meaningful letter to the person you love with
all your heart.
Allow yourself to stroll back down memory lane, and then
pour those memories (and your feelings about all of those
memories) into your first draft. Once you have completed your
rough draft, it's time to transfer it to your nice stationary.
Nothing can communicate just how much you care quite as well
as a tender, thoughtfully crafted, hand-written love letter.
You may want to give your partner the letter on a special
occasion like Valentine's Day, or on your wedding anniversary,
or you can just give it whenever the mood strikes, because
no matter when you give your partner a gift this personal
and intimate, it is sure to be deeply appreciated.
3. Take good care of yourself.
One of the biggest reasons we tend to neglect our intimate
relationships with our partners has to do with a lack of self-care.
When you are constantly taking care of others, you may not
be taking adequate (or even minimal) care of yourself. After
all, there are only so many hours in the day, and it seems
that nearly all of those hours are booked up with some activity
or other, which means that you have to make a deliberate effort
to carve out some precious time for yourself.
Self care means different things to different people.
Some people feel deeply rejuvenated after a long walk in
the woods, while others prefer to go to the spa for a facial
or pedicure. You may be partial to meditating for a half hour
each evening, while your partner may find it more relaxing
to go for a run, or to escape into a fast-paced mystery novel.
When we take proper care of ourselves, what we are actually
doing is recharging our batteries, which in turn makes us
feel better equipped to take care of others.
No matter which method(s) of self care you choose, the important
thing is to actually follow through with it.
After all, the more you take care of yourself, the more rejuvenated
you will feel throughout the day, and the more you will have
to give, not only to your relationship with your significant
other, but also to your relationships with all of your loved
ones and friends.
SixWise.com contributing editor Rachel G. Baldino,
MSW, LCSW, is the author of the e-book, Loving
Simply: Eliminating Drama from Your Intimate Relationships,
published in 2006 by Fictionwise.com, and the print
book, Welcome to Methadonia: A Social Worker's Candid
Account of Life in a Methadone Clinic, published in
2000 by White Hat Communications.
Her articles have appeared in Social Work Today, The
New Social Worker, New Living Magazine, Conflict911.com
and other publications. After earning her MSW from the
Boston College Graduate School of Social Work in1997,
she provided counseling services, first at a methadone
clinic, and later at an outpatient mental health treatment
Ms. Baldino has been quoted about managing anger in
relationships in Kathy Svitil's 2006 book, Calming The
Anger Storm, which is part of the Psychology Today Here
To Help series. She has also been quoted in such magazines,
newspapers and online publications as For Me Magazine,
Conceive Magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The
Albany Times Union, The Tallahassee Democrat, Bay State
Parent Magazine, TheBridalBook.com, Babyzone.com, Momstoday.com,
The Newhouse News Service, and Indianapolis Woman. She
lives with her husband and children in Massachusetts.
to Make All Your Relationships Work
9 Types of Romanic Love: Which Type Do You Believe In?
to "Drop the Drama" and Master the Art of "Loving
Simply" in Seven Easy Steps