Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Cynthia Hanson for Life & Beauty Weekly

It happens to even the happiest of couples: After years together, you do the same things over and over — right down to the takeout pizza on Friday nights. You can finish each other’s sentences and predict with absolute certainty what he’ll buy you for your birthday. But it doesn’t make for a very exciting relationship!

“Routine can provide stability in a relationship, including knowing what to expect from our partner,” says Kimberly Moffit, a psychotherapist and relationship expert who has appeared on Oh So Cosmo, Global TV news, CITY TV news and CBC’s Steven and Chris. “If the relationship is serious, routine can also help us feel more ready for commitment, marriage and parenthood. But if couples follow too many patterns, it can make a relationship lose its romance,” she says.

What’s to blame for the rut? “A lack of effort can result in a rut,” says Moffit. “It’s important for couples to stick to a plan of setting romantic dates together, taking time to eat meals together and changing up their usual activities once in a while.”

If you can’t recall the last time you held hands or received flowers for no reason, it may be time to kick your marriage out of the ho-hum zone. Here are five ways to help you keep your relationship exciting — and increase your happiness and intimacy.

Get Your Groove Back First
Too much time together can be unexciting; if you’re together most of the time you don’t have anything to catch up on, says Moffit. “By taking the time to do your own thing — for example, working out, joining a musical group or playing a sport — you are not only increasing your attractiveness to your partner, but making yourself happy!” she says. Do things that energize you: Get extra rest. Spend time with a friend. Go for a manicure or pedicure. Taking better care of yourself will help you devote more energy to your partner.

Revisit Romance
Remember when you had the time and freedom for dinners out and spontaneous weekend getaways? Those romantic pleasures may be harder to come by, but you can still keep your relationship exciting by recapturing some of the emotional rush of those early days.

“We don’t always have the opportunity to get away for an evening or weekend. So take the time to schedule — yes, schedule — some quality romantic time with your partner during the week,” says Moffit. “After the kids go to bed, light a few candles, play some music and talk about your future together. What trips do you want to go on? What are your goals for the year? Connecting on this level will help you feel more intimate and improve the quality of your relationship.”

Stay Connected
Affectionate texts and emails throughout the day — “Luv u” or “Heard your favourite song” — are a reminder that you care. “There is no such thing as hearing ‘I love you’ too much in a relationship, and doing so can always put a smile on your partner’s face,” says Moffit.

Also try lightly touching your partner’s arms or hands when you’re talking. This sends the message that you want to be close and you’re still attracted to him. Notes Moffit: “It doesn’t matter whether we’re in our 20s or 80s — we all need to feel attractive in our relationships.”

Be Surprising
Inject some unpredictability into your lives by treating your partner to a surprise once a week — be it a cupcake from your favourite bakery or a full night out. “Surprising your partner with something thoughtful or special shows them you’re thinking about them,” says Moffit. “You’ll feel their gratefulness the next time they have the opportunity to surprise you — and who doesn’t love to be surprised!”

Research also shows that couples who learn new things as a team become more intimate, so look into a class or sport you can do together. (Zumba, anyone?)

Mix It Up
There’s nothing wrong with takeout pizza. But pizza from the same restaurant every Friday? “It’s important to try new things, whether in life or in pizza choices,” says Moffit. “A lack of creativity can result in habit overkill, and can leave us feeling bored and unmotivated. If you find yourself in a tradition-rut, try changing it up one Friday night. New traditions bring new memories, and these are important in every relationship,” says Moffit. So, go for Thai food for a change, or cook at home. After all, in life and love, variety is a potent spice!

Cynthia Hanson is a journalist who writes for many national publications, including Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents and American Baby. She is a frequent contributor to Life & Beauty Weekly.

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