As the frozen grip of winter begins to loosen its grasp, our thoughts turn to Spring and to sprucing up things up around the house. A long winter of neglect and putting off needed repairs can take a toll on our homes.  So too, disregard and a lack of effort can damage marriages and intimate relationships.  Taking some time and paying some attention is needed to put them back in tip top shape.

Although it is easy to take our partners for granted, it is important to remember that, without ongoing care, relationships, just like houses, can fall into disrepair.  Romantically, what was once a roaring fire can dwindle down to an occasional flicker or, worse, the romantic flame can go out altogether.

Unfortunately, many folks erroneously believe that good relationships just happen and that passion and romance just naturally fade. Nonsense !  Harmonious and passionate relationships take constant effort and repair.  Fortunately , there is a lot which can be done to restore that loving feeling and renewed passion for your partner.  Here are the 3 C’s for rekindling passion and romance in your marriage:

1)  Communication — Honest communication is a fundamental pre-requisite for not only nurturing a good relationship but also for keeping romance alive and having great sex.  For example, over time annoying habits or conflicts can build resentment.  If irritants or problems  are not openly discussed, the resentment will not go away on its own ; it will simply grow and deepen.  Unresolved anger is one of the leading romance killers in a relationship.   Learning how to speak honestly with your partner about problems in a non-name calling or blaming way is a key skill for all couples who want to keep desire alive in their marriage.

2)  Consideration  — One of the most romantic and sexiest things a person can do is kindness and consideration that makes life for your partner a little easier.  In addition to little gestures like sending flowers or love notes, doing chores, running errands  and helping with the kids around the house are powerful ways to put your partner “in the mood”.  As one client told me, one of the sexiest things she ever saw was “her husband with a vacuum cleaner in hand.”

3)  Creativity — A frustrating fact about human nature that it loves routine and predictability. This natural tendency is frustrating because it is also true that sexual desire thrives on novelty.  And we aren’t just talking about sex here.  In addition to boring lovemaking routine, folks sometimes fall into neglecting their personal appearance or wardrobe selection.  We all try to look nice when we are first courting but after a while it is easy to fall into a rut where we wear the same tattered outfits over and over.  Sadly, we look may nice when we go to work but when we come home to our spouse we sometimes forget that they enjoy seeing us in nice attire too and may have grown tired of seeing us in those old ratty shorts or sweatshirt .

In addition to lovemaking and personal appearance, it is important that couples be creative in dealing with complicated schedules. Heavy demands from work and children can put a serious crimp on romance.  Couples who are successful at keeping the excitement in their relationships say that that have to become intentional and creative about carving out and protecting special times for romance and intimacy.   Planning and using a calendar as well as having reliable child care resources are essential to reviving a relationship out of the doldrums.

Here’s the thing: relationships are like gardens. If you want beautiful produce or flowers, it takes effort.  Although we would like to think that marriage is natural, in fact it is just the opposite.  Overcoming selfishness and inconsideration is hard work. Without it, just like with a garden, all you wind up with are bugs and weeds.  ;  )

Rev. Michael Heath , LMHC, Fellow AAPC                        4/2/2018