As Valentine’s Day approaches, the media will flood us with all sorts of romantic hype and I’m glad. Frankly, many couples, who have been together for a while, suffer from a romance deficit. So today I want to talk about why romance is so important and essential for lasting and satisfying intimate relationships.
Unfortunately, even though marital therapists realize the importance of romance, many couples don’t. When asked, however, most partners say that they would like more of it in their relationship.
Sadly, many suffer from erroneous beliefs about romance. For example, many falsely believe that, once the romantic spark is gone, it’s gone for good with no way to get it back. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to rekindle romantic feelings and restore passionate excitement to your marriage.
Given all of the misinformation surrounding romance and desire, here are the facts as well as some tips for increasing it in your relationship :
WHAT IS ROMANCE and Why is it Important ?
To begin, it is important to understand what romance is all about. Romance is defined in the dictionary as a “feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love”. While it is certainly that, psychologically it is much more.
Romance is also about all of the words and actions which convey love to one’s beloved. In a marriage, communicating the feeling of romance is as important as feeling it. In fact, a major marital complaint has to do with the lack of romantic gestures which results in one or both partners feeling unloved and not appreciated.
Given the fragility of the human psyche, even though one understands that one is loved, one also needs to be able to feel loved. Romantic gestures are so important because they convey the essential love message on an emotional level.
Knowing and feeling love calms a primordial anxiety and allows us to be reasonable and considerate in intimate relationships.
SOME TIPS TO PUT MORE ROMANCE INTO YOUR MARRIAGE
Schedule Time for it . Make romance a priority. Since we all have busy lives with many responsibilities and obligations with work and family, time for romance with one’s partner will not spontaneously occur. It must be planned in advance, put on a calendar and protected. Date nights don’t have to be frequent but they do need to happen.
Be Considerate . Sometimes people have the false idea that romantic behavior must always involve roses and candle light dinners. While there is nothing wrong with these gestures, conveying reassurance of one’s love for the other many times takes the shape being considerate and doing little things to show him or her that you are thinking of them. Vacuuming or doing the laundry or picking up something from the cleaners can be received as a very romantic gesture.
Don’t Forget to Say it . Saying I Love You is important because these words mean more than simply the logical meaning. The words I love you, however, do not simply convey a fact. Indeed, there is a reason a heart is the symbol of Valentine’s day. They not only affect the right side of our brains , they also touch our hearts. The impact of the saying “I love you”, does not merely convey the rational meaning of the words for someone. Romantic words reassure in deep and profound ways.
Don’t forget the “little things“. Romance is not something that requires grand gestures or actions. Sometimes it is just a little thing like dropping a text or making a phone call for no particular reason to say that you were thinking of your partner.
Flowers for no reason or cooking a favorite meal can be very romantic and not a big deal. Again , given our insecure psyches , small tokens that say I miss you, I’m thinking of you or I love you give reassurance and calm primordial fears.
When it comes to sex, don’t be afraid to try something different. In addition to all of these other factors, sex is a big part of romance too. Sometimes, we become too busy for sex or, when we do, we get into a rut of doing the same old things.
Also, given how busy that our lives can be, in addition to planning date nights, it is a good idea to plan times for physical intimacy, too. Scheduling time for intimacy is not simply for having sex. It means blocking out periods of time for leisure and just being together without demands or stress. How to Be Romantic: 8 Ways to Show Someone You Care – 2023 – MasterClass
And one more thing …
One of the most pernicious myths about sex that kills romance is the absurd belief that passion inevitably wanes. Many erroneously think that passion declines naturally just by getting older or from having the same partner. Even worse, many people are convinced that when sexual interest or enthusiasm fades, there is no way to get it back.
Nonsense ! Neuro-chemically speaking, while the initial rush of phenylethylamine (PEA) calms down over time, in loving relationships the bonding effect of oxytocin can continue to grow over a lifetime.
It is important to understand that diminishing sexual interest is most often the result of romantic neglect and/or built-up resentments. Paying attention to some of the tips we have listed can have a remarkable effect on a couple’s love life, no matter how long it’s been in decline.
For many couples, trying out some of these suggestions will do the trick. If they don’t, there is no reason to despair. Seeing a professional who is experienced in dealing with intimacy problems can often work wonders. Romance and good sex may not be the most important things in life but they’re near the top. Think of romance as the vital element which not only sustains and enhances sex but also deepens intimacy and the deep and satisfying joy of a couple’s life together.
A Valentine’s Day Primer for Couples who want more Romance in their Marriage . | Pastoral Counseling Syracuse NY (www.revmichaelheath.com)
Rev. Michael Heath ,LMHC , Fellow AAPC 2 1 2023