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


  • 7.

    Date on the cheap.

    Paying a babysitter $4 to $10 an hour can turn any date into a major financial outlay. Consider it a fixed expense and cut costs elsewhere by making the date inexpensive or even free. The Vogts took picnics to a local park and enjoyed the view of the lights coming on at dusk in Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River. They’d also surprise each other with romantic, offbeat dates; one of their most memorable involved driving to the local airport for an hour of people-watching. You could hike; bike; window-shop; swim at the local pool, lake, or beach; or even go sledding or skating in winter.

  • 8.

    Expand your definition of a date.

    Dressing up for a candlelit dinner is just one option. The true criterion for a date? Anything that lets you focus on each other. That could be weeding the garden while you chat amiably, a weeklong trip to Bermuda, or 10 minutes over morning coffee. Research shows that while women tend to want more conversation with their mates, men would like to do something together. Find the happy medium: Combine the two in a fun activity that allows you the freedom to talk at the same time.

  • 9.

    Keep it romantic and fun.

    Resist the urge to settle relationship issues or hash out problems with finances, kids, the house, or the cars. For busy Cooperation stage couples, it’s tempting to use any scrap of free time together to tick something else off your endless to-do list. Don’t do it! Remind yourself that this is sacred couple time. Laugh. Play. Find out how each of you is really doing emotionally. Connect. The to-do list can wait.

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