TODAY   |  April 26, 2012

Keeping the spark alive in your marriage

It’s easy to get distracted by the daily tasks of managing your family, but you can still bring the romance back into your relationship. Psychologists Elizabeth Lombardo and Jeff Gardere suggest steps you can take to capture that intimacy you felt when your love was new.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> things you can do to help bring the romance back.

>> elizabeth lombardi, and jeff gardere is a psychologist as well. good morning. good to have you here.

>> good to see you both.

>> this is something you all see in your practices a lot. the biggest mistake i think a lot of couples are making is they're not prioritizing their marriage. they're prioritizing their lives, their kids, everything else going on, right?

>> right. and so you have to take that time to spend some alone time together, alone together. too often we hear the so-called experts like us talking about kids come first, kids come first. kids do come first, but if you don't spend that time together, then it doesn't matter about the kids because there won't be a marriage for the kids to be part of to enjoy.

>> and you talk about, a lot of people have this mentality that it's all or nothing. that's really the wrong way to go.

>> it absolutely is. you want to be great parents. one of the best ways to be great parents is to be a good, strong couple. be on the same team. be together. you're going to be much more effective as parents.

>> all right. so you don't have to spend a lot of money to spend time together. you don't have to have a big, grand plan, a big date night. you say first things first is start setting some time aside to be together. jeff ?

>> that's right. and what i like about that is that you can cue into one another and have that adult talk. it's not always talking with the children or taking care of the job and so on. and it lets that person know, your partner know, that you do love them. you are interested in making that marriage work and that intimacy, that emotional intimacy is just as important. though maybe not as fun as the physical intimacy .

>> in fact, you also talk, elizabeth , even just the simple thing is via text.

>> send a text, say i love you, check in, see how the meeting with, reminisce about a brief encounter you had. let him know you're thinking about him.

>> the number one complaint i hear from my patients, the women say the men just don't text enough. and it's just like the men don't talk enough.

>> right.

>> it is just a very easy thing. three words. "i love you." "how are you doing?" but do that maybe three, four, five times a day. i think there's a new program out there. you can write the text in the morning and then they release them through the day so guys, try that one.

>> get it all done at once. all right. you say you should find time to do fun things together, learn to have fun again.

>> if you have fun when you go out, and you should try to go out, have those date nights. you don't have to spend a lot of money. but if you're having fun together, that means more fun in the marriage, the more excited you are. and the thing that i love and i know al is on board with this, work out with your spouse. i mean, we all need to exercise. and that's a great thing because you're doing it as a team.

>> we took a swim lesson together yesterday.

>> wow.

>> you were terrific. oh, you mean you. one of the things i think we overlook because it's human nature , we tend to complain about what we don't like about our spouse, but we need to find the best in the things that we love about our spouse.

>> absolutely. when we're stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted, we tend to focus on the negative. and that makes us feel negatively towards the other person. so i really challenge people to look for the positive things in your spouse. and every day write down at least one thing that you appreciate in your spouse. just one thing. and at the end of the week, share it with them. let them know what you love about them.

>> or you can even text it to them.

>> exactly.

>> strength based and not deficit based where you're looking at all of the bad things. if you begin to look at the positive things and count your blessings as to what your partner does, then all of a sudden, some of the negative things they do don't really matter as much. and you're giving them a lot of positive reinforcement and reward. so they can keep doing the good things.

>> keep that line of communication open. keep talking to each other. jeff gardere, elizabeth , great to have you both here.