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What is 'romance'?

Romance In Marriage

Sheri Meyers (Marriage and Family Therapist) gives expert video advice on: What are some tips to rekindle romance in marriage?; What are some easy ways I can show my spouse I love them?; How can I encourage my partner to be more romantic? and more...

What is 'romance'?

Romance is a partnership love story. It is your love story. Romance is how you maintain love in your relationship or marriage. It's the exchange. It is the language of love. Romance is vital to a thriving, passionate relationship.

Why is romance so important to keeping a marriage alive?

Romance is vital to keeping your marriage alive because it is the language of love that you speak to each other. The important thing is to know your partner's language, because what may be romantic to you may not be romantic to your partner. It feels like you are speaking separate languages. It doesn't even matter how long you've been married. You need to know what your partner's romantic turn on is. If your partner loves presents, that's the way your partner is going to feel loved and romanced. You might like to play with your partner or have more attention in terms of the physical world, in terms of doing things together, in terms of sharing experiences. Your partner will need to learn that that's how you like to be romanced. Romance is a language and it is the language of love and it is vital to your relationship and marriage.

What are some tips to rekindle romance in marriage?

To rekindle the romance in your marriage, you have to remember three As: Attention, Appreciation, and Acknowledgement. Those three As are what will start the fire of your romance. Let's take them one at a time. Attention is attention to love, because romance is fuelled by love. How do you express your love? You can say it daily. In fact, a good prescription is to say it three times a day, every day. And say it at different times. It is cheating to say, "I love you! I love you! I love you!" That doesn't count. Romance is saying, "I love you", showing "I love you", feeling "I love you", at least three times a day. It is really important to show your partner appreciation in a marriage, to be grateful for all the things they do. Also, it's important for your partner to be grateful for all the things you are doing. That acknowledgement - that recognition that you are important, what you're doing is important, that because of you, life is so much better - makes your partner want to do more and feel accepted, loved, and appreciated for what they are doing. Recognize your partner to rekindle romance in your marriage; recognize each other and really express your appreciation out loud. Don't assume that they know. Say it, and say it in words and show it in your actions, such as hugging and loving and saying thank you. Often, we think affection is sex, or we think that because were making love we are expressing affection. It's certainly a level of affection, but affection means staying in touch, other than just as a precursor or foreplay to sex. It's walking by each other and stroking each other. It's sending a kiss across the room. It's taking a walk hand in hand. It's hugging each other and holding each other. It's expressing affection with your words and with your actions. It's saying, "I love you," through touch, through contact, and through staying in touch. That is how to rekindle romance in marriage.

What's the most common obstacle that keeps couples from being intimate?

The biggest obstacle that keeps us from being intimate and romantic is fear. We get scared or our partner upsets us and the walls around our heart go up. Fear is the greatest enemy to love; it's the opposite of love. In those moments of fear in a marriage, just remember love. Look at your partner, see what is good and think, 'I'm here to love. I'm here to love you.'

What are some inexpensive ways to have a romantic date?

Often, we think that romance costs a lot. We look at Valentines Day with its flowers, diamonds, clothes, gifts and cars! But romance doesn't have to be expensive. It can be taking a blanket outside, sitting under the stars and having a picnic. It can be holding hands as you walk down the street. It might be renting a romantic DVD and watching it together. Romance could be reading love poems or a novel together. It's sharing time and attention, and appreciating each other in our marriage. That's truly romantic, and that's all free.

What is the difference between 'real' and 'romantic' love?

I am often asked, "What is the difference between real love and romantic love?" Romantic love is what gets us to fall in love. Romantic love is the falling in love. Romantic love is, "I love you because you are so beautiful or handsome. I love you because you're such a good person." Real love starts happening once we really get to know our partner, once we settle in with our partner. Real love is rising to love. Real love is saying, "I love you in spite of..." It's the acceptance of our partner, some good and some bad. It's knowing that this is who our partner is and, loving them anyway. That's real love!

What are some reasons why love can become less passionate?

Sometimes couples come to me and say, “Our love has changed. It just doesn't feel the same.” This is something you can expect in a marriage, because romantic love feels real passionate; the fires are going, our hormones are surging us, we're looking and lusting, and romance feels so easy. As we get to know each other and our brains literally settle down, that's when we start feeling and settling into love. It's a whole different feeling and experience. Suddenly, romance is something you have to think about, it's something you have to work at. When this transition happens, this is where real love truly is born. This is where all possibility of true depth and intimacy begins.

Is it a good idea for married couples to schedule 'date nights'?

I find it really funny that when we meet each other and we are falling in love, dating isn't a problem. It's a natural thing we do. We want to spend time with each other. Then we get married and it seems like such a hassle to schedule time together to do a date night. Just like when you were forming your relationship, you have got to feed it. The food of marriage and romance is love, attention and appreciation, and that's what date nights provide. They say, "I love you. I appreciate our time together and I want to give you lots of attention, lots of love." Plan a date night regularly and, most importantly, on that date night, do not talk about ordinary, mundane things. Do not talk about the kids. Do not talk about work. Do not talk about money or household chores. Date night is about romance in your marriage. It's about bringing out the lover in you and the lover in us. Do what's fun. Have fun. Have a great time. Get away. Make date night like a mini vacation. One fun thing to do is to plan a mystery date, and each of you take turns doing this, where your partner has no clue what's going to happen. You are in total charge and you are taking care of your partner, and it can be anything. I heard a story once of a woman who left a note for when her husband came home to take a shower, put on some clothes and get ready by 7 o'clock that night. A taxi came, picked him up and took him to a restaurant, and then she got a hotel room nearby. That was a great date within a marriage.