Invite Romance Back Into Your Relationship

When you strengthen your bond with your spouse, you strengthen your entire family.

By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria | Ph.D. from The 7 Stages of Marriage


  • 3.

    Do that thing you used to do.

    Revive the pastimes the two of you loved best during your courtship days or early marriage. Pull out the music you enjoyed together and dance in the dining room. Go canoeing. Play Scrabble. Wear your sexiest lingerie under a dress when you go out to dinner — and let him know. Eat Chinese food in bed. Have bread, cheese, wine, and kisses by the fire.

  • 4.

    Got kids? Get a babysitter.

    A calm, mature, trustworthy babysitter is worth her — or his — weight in gold. And finding one can be as challenging as prospecting for that precious metal. Ask neighbors, friends, and relatives for leads or contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross for ways to find graduates of the organization’s babysitting classes. Nervous? Test-drive a new sitter by letting her or him care for your child for an hour or two while you’re nearby in the house or the yard. Branch out the next time to a short foray away from home. Find out what the local pay rate is; once you’ve got a solid relationship with a great sitter, reward them and cement your relationship by paying a bit more than the going rate. Even better than one babysitter: Develop a stable of two or three to boost your odds that one will be available when you need a date night.

  • 5.

    Get away for the night ... or the weekend ... or the whole week.

    Quiet sex is okay. So is afternoon sex or sex when the kids are out for the evening. But nothing beats unhurried, loud, whenever-you-want-it sex, followed by a cuddle, a nap, a shower, more lovemaking, a wonderful walk. For this luxury of uninterrupted time, you need to get away — or find a trusted friend, relative, or overnight camp so that the kids can get away. “We went to Florida last December for a running and walking marathon event,” Don Howard says. “It was exciting and really helped our marriage. I was amazed by how that weekend, just two nights alone together, really recharged us.”

  • 6.

    Date at home.

    Don’t overlook pockets of child-free time at home. Instead of watching TV, doing the dishes, or catching up on e-mail, use the hour or two while your baby naps or your older child is at school or an after-school event to get together with your spouse. Or take advantage of the natural shift in your teenager’s sleep pattern (they go to bed later and wake up later). Enjoy a Saturday morning date while your teen snoozes.   What to do on your time together? Make love. Have lunch together and ban talk about the kids, the house, and the finances. After your kids go to sleep, slip out to the deck or patio for a glass of wine and a little stargazing. “One of the best things we devised when our children were at home was the home date,” says Susan Vogt. “We’d strategize ways to be really awake after they all went to bed. Sometimes we’d take turns taking naps during the day so we wouldn’t be too exhausted to make love. As our children grew older, the trick was figuring out how to have the whole date before they got home from their activities in the evening!”

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