OK, so it’s that time of year again and whether you’re in a relationship or not there has probably been some thought put towards Valentine’s Day and being in love. Maybe you’ve even dedicated some thought towards your current or past relationships and pondered over how healthy, happy, functional and connected you’ve felt with your partner. Maybe you’re excited to celebrate with your lover, or maybe you cringe at the thought of yet another boring, empty and awkward occasion. And this is precisely what I like about Valentine’s Day; it provokes many of us to think about our relationships and where we stand in them. And while for some it can be a very happy and loving time, for others, Valentine’s Day shines a very painful light on their own personal and relationship struggles. I find that if we consciously dedicate time and energy towards our relationships throughout the year, February 14th simply becomes yet another occasion to express the love and connection that we’ve already been nurturing for the last 12 months.
So here are 5 tips on how keep the love juices flowing all year round:
Be intimate. And this doesn’t mean have sex. Intimacy is when you can be at that deepest level of connection with your partner. It is when you can be truly vulnerable with your partner and reveal who you truly are by sharing personal information and experiences, your views on life and your emotions and feelings. It can also be expressed non-verbally through a soft touch, a knowing glance, an exchange of energy or a shared sexual experience. And while it’s not always comfortable to be at this deepest level with your partner, living intimately is the glue that keeps long-term committed relationships connected, interesting, fulfilling and satisfying.
Talk, Talk, Talk. Being able to talk to your partner about anything that is going on for you is a super important skill when in a long-term relationship. And when it comes to sex, research has shown that there is a positive relationship between increased frequency and quality of couple’s talk about sex and their level of sexual satisfaction. We’re all unique individuals and have our own communication style and idiosyncrasies, so it’s essential to learn about how your partner communicates both verbally and non-verbally so you connect with them in the ways they understand.
Work through any difficulties or issues in the relationship. This means that if there is something that’s bothering you about your partner that you let them know in a soft, loving and regulated way. A great place to start is by sharing your feelings using “I feel…” statements. And if things are getting a little out of control seek the help of an experienced qualified therapist to guide and support you.
Create the perfect lovemaking environment. Making an effort to create and recreate the ideal environment for sexual connection is a must. Consider some of the following and remember to talk to your partner about any changes before you make them.
Location- Where do you like to make-love? Can you shake it up a little?
Timing- Is there a preferred time for sex? Do you prefer the morning, afternoon or evening?
Privacy- Is there a lock on the bedroom door? Are there children or other family members around?
Sounds- Are there noisy distractions? Will other members of the household hear any sexual activity? Why about some relaxing music?
Smells- Are there any particular aromas that you like such as scented candles, perfumes or burning oils?
Lighting- Do you like soft lighting, a fully lit room or no light at all?
Clothing- Are there certain items of clothing that you or your partner like to wear?
Erotic stimuli- Movies, toys, aids, lube and anything else you like...
Activities- Are there activities that you both enjoy doing together? E.g. dancing classes
Have fun. We can all get bogged down in the routine of life. Having fun, being playful and having a light-hearted approach with our partner not only contribute to the health of our relationships but also to our own personal happiness. Brainstorm 10 fun and enjoyable activities with your partner and block them into your calendar so you don’t forget to do them!
In short, by regularly and consciously investing in your partnership, you’ll feel those warm, fuzzy and squishy love feelings expand into your relationship all year round.