Innovative Ways to Keep Love Alive
READY FOR ROMANCE
by Leslie & Jimmy Caplan
2 tender voices
Food for positive thoughts
A little time in a quiet space
Falling in love is the term we use to describe the sudden deep connection we experience with another human being. It can be so intoxicating that, in the beginning, the possibility of ever falling out of love is unimaginable. Successful couples know that romance can grow only when those initial feelings of connectedness are recognized and nurtured through communication and caring.
Whenever possible, take about fifteen to twenty minutes before retiring at night to simply be with your partner without any outside distractions. (If this seems daunting, promise yourself that you’ll try it for a month, on one designated night a week.) Turn off computers, stereos, and TVs; turn your full attention to each other. It’s a great way to stay current by airing differences or concerns, discussing positive ideas and insights, or reviewing interesting stories from books, magazines, or newspaper articles. You may want to recite poetry or serenade your partner. If you are not married or living together, hook up by phone. This is one of those times when instant messaging and e-mail are poor substitutes for the real thing. Heart to Heart is a way of checking in at the end of a long day. It safeguards romance by encouraging you to continue the communication and caring that started at the beginning of your relationship.
3 sincere compliments
Give and take
1 bed, 2 pillows (optional)
Over time, couples may forget about one of romance’s basic rules: express regular praise in a loving manner and keep criticism to a minimum. Not just thinking about but telling your partner the things you admire in him will convey the all-important message, “I don’t take this relationship for granted.”
Find a few minutes of quiet during the day, or at night before falling asleep, to sit or lie quietly together and comment on three things about him that please you. While it’s easy to compliment physical appearance, give it some thought and show additional consideration by focusing on his behavior and character traits. Let her know you’ve noticed the special things she has said or done. Perhaps he will want to reciprocate immediately afterward, or the next time.
Be sure to state your compliments in a positive light, and accept them graciously when you’re on the receiving end. This means acknowledging the praise with a simple “Thank you,” nod of appreciation, or gentle kiss. Never downplay what you are being praised for with a comment like, “Ah, it was really nothing.”
Not only will your partner find the listening easy and bask in the warmth of your appreciation, but your comments will also remind you of your own good fortune. If done as part of Heart to Heart (previous recipe) before going to sleep, it can be the perfect way to end the day!
Going for Broke
1 day together
Empty pockets and purses
Ability to control the desire to spend
Joy in exercising your creativity
Here’s a recipe that surprises a lot of people: Spend one day together without spending any money whatsoever. Do what you might normally do, but avoid using cash or credit cards for any purchases, including food. A day of financial fasting will do both of you a lot of good beyond saving money. You’ll discover that you’ve probably been wasting money on frivolous or unnecessary purchases as you examine the impulses for spending that arise. But, more importantly, you’ll find that you don’t have to spend any money to have a great time.
Your happiness, as individuals and as a couple, depends much more on your creativity than on what’s in your wallet or purse. Without money to spend, you can cook together at home or ask close friends or relatives to cook a meal for you. They’ll be fascinated with your reason for inviting yourselves over! Or you can play cards or sports, make love, go window-shopping, or take a long drive — if there’s enough gas in the car. A fun day of Going for Broke will remind both you and your partner that many of life’s experiences may be enhanced by money, but your happiness does not depend on it. Your greatest lesson in romance is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to express your love. True, money can be helpful; but it alone can never substitute for creativity and kindness.
1 hour minimum to immerse
1 hot bath with all the trimmings
Wine or champagne, fresh fruit, poetry (recommended)
1 gift-wrapped bath accessory (recommended)
Sea mud or clay (optional)
2 terry cloth robes (optional)
The early Greeks and Romans popularized communal bathing as part of their daily routine, and the Turks added the steam; but it wasn’t until the dawn of the Renaissance that couples began to enjoy private baths with hot water. We can thank the French for replacing the round tub with a longer, oval-shaped design; and that, coupled with the availability of clean, hot, soothing water, is what allows us in today’s world to lie back and really luxuriate.
Don’t overlook this sensuous setting for romance. Taking a bath together can take on special meaning with a few small gestures: clear away any bathroom clutter and replace it with flowers and candles; add bubbles, colognes, essential oils, or herbs and teas to the water; introduce exotic soaps; listen to your favorite music; and have your wine or champagne glasses and fresh fruit within easy reach. You might want to include a gift-wrapped bath accessory like a massager brush, heart-shaped loofah sponge, or bath tray. Painting each other’s face and neck with sea mud or clay adds a delightful and playful activity and accentuates the therapeutic benefits of the experience. For a literary touch, take turns reading poetry to each other or catch up on your favorite reading material.
Allow for at least an hour to get the most out of this one. Let your cares rise gently and evaporate like the steam. Afterward, feeling warm and relaxed, you may want to wrap yourselves up in terry cloth bathrobes and cuddle in front of a fire or in another favorite spot. We’ve found this to be an ideal time for the Easy Listening recipe described above.
From Ready for Romance. Copyright © 1996, 2003 Leslie and Jimmy Caplan. Excerpted by arrangement with New World Library. $14.00. Available in local bookstores or call 800.972.6657 ext. 52 or click here.