Spring is a time of rebirth and blossoming. From the buds that are finally appearing in our gardens to the clean smell of rain in the air, spring is a time to focus on growth and awakening.
Some of us use this time to take stock of our homes, as we spring clean those hidden nooks and crannies that were forgotten during the long, cold winter. However, our relationships often need this minute attention to detail as well, as those dreary winter months might have done quite a number on the excitement and spontaneity in your marriage.
If you want to reignite the passion in your relationship, it might be time for a little spring-cleaning! Here are some tips to get you started:
Dust off your appearance
We are all guilty of letting our grooming habits slide when in a long-term relationship. Between work and parenting, trips to the beauty salon or new clothing purchases often slip to the bottom of our to-do list.
While your partner loves you unconditionally, he still wants to crave your physical body. Spring clean your appearance by dusting off those old grooming habits. This could entail a trip to see your long-forgotten hairstylist for some sexy new highlights, a visit to the mall to discover a daring new dress or must-have jeans, or even just a free makeover at the makeup counter. By rededicating yourself to your outer appearance, you will find that your self-esteem and confidence are instantly boosted, while your new look might just encourage your partner to do a little spring-cleaning to his own appearance! Physical attraction is what separates you and your mate from just being roommates … so get out there and get your sexy back!
Dust off your moves
Confidence is not easy to come by, and chances are, the bulky layers you wore over the winter made you feel more like hibernating than dancing. Get your groove back (and shed those inevitable winter pounds) by joining a daring dance class, such as a pole-dancing class or burlesque class. Many of these classes are female-only and taught by female instructors, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious while busting a move. Moreover, as you dance and grind your way to a sexy repertoire of dance moves, you will begin to feel more comfortable in your own skin, both inside and outside the bedroom. And the best part? Your partner will love seeing you practice your new moves at home!
Dust off your old stomping grounds
Remember the old haunts you and your partner used to frequent when you first started dating? Whether it was a neighborhood bar or local restaurant, you can re-create your courting days by returning to your old hot spots. Tell your partner to meet you at this spot separately, and when you greet him, pretend you are first dating all over again. He can pull out your chair, ask about your favorite drink, and even pick up the check as though you are on your first date all over again. Seeing how far you have come since those first blissful days of dating is sure to be sentimental and remind you of why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
Dust off your wish list
Sometimes the daily grind can make you forget the big picture, especially when it comes to your relationship. One fun way to reconnect with what you really want and need from your partner is write down five things that you really love and appreciate about his contributions to the romantic part of your relationship. (For instance, maybe he gives you back rubs after a hard day, or sends you loving e-mails when you are apart.) Then, write down five things that you would like to see more of in the relationship (e.g., more alone time without the kids, more romantic dinners, more commitment to keeping date nights a priority, etc.). By exchanging favors and requests at the same time, you will both feel loved and important — and you will also receive valuable feedback on what part of your relationship needs some improvement.
Dust off your suitcases
When was the last time you and your partner got away from it all? Parents often find themselves spending the majority of their vacation time at kid-friendly locales like Disneyland, but these attractions do little for passion and romance. Instead, leave the kids with the grandparents for a weekend (or a week, if you can swing it!), and go out of town. It doesn’t have to be far away — maybe just a trip to the nearest big city, but make sure you try new things, eat out at new restaurants and splurge a little on a nice hotel room.
Why? Being alone together and away from your routine will help you get out of a rut and rediscover each other in a new light. If a trip is out of the question right now due to money or work responsibilities, you can still take advantage of the longer days and shorter nights by taking a walk through the neighborhood together, checking out a new outdoor bistro, or simply spending a little time outdoors to reconnect to your earthy, sensual side. After months of being cooped up inside, you will both love the feeling of the warm sun and gentle spring breezes.
Staying connected to your relationship and always striving to keep the romance alive is the cornerstone of any long-lasting, healthy relationship. Even if you aren’t usually the romantic type, you will find that a little bit of thoughtfulness can go a long way toward making your partner happy and keeping your relationship strong.
Dr. Laura Berman is the director of the Berman Center in Chicago, a specialized health care facility dedicated to helping women and couples find fulfilling sex lives and enriched relationships. She is also an assistant clinical professor of OB-GYN and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She has been working as a sex educator, researcher and therapist for 18 years.