Step 1, 2 and 3 are available in the blog archive to the right
If you have been following Steps 1 to 3 then things will probably be looking different in your relationship. What will be required for this to be sustainable is for you both to be present to your communications and to re visit the different steps when difficulties arise. Don’t just sit and stew pointing the finger at your partner! It’s up to you to make it work. You are not a victim! The next step will only have real impact if you have followed the previous three steps and if you have been rigorous in completing these then you will often find that the issues I address in the next step will have arisen already.
Below are some ideas/techniques that I know have worked for couples I have worked with and have worked in my relationship with my wife. No written material can replace what I can offer with personal coaching but if you and your partner are prepared to draw a line and say ‘enough’ to how it has been between you and you are now willing to embrace a new approach then I am confident that this material will make a huge difference to your relationship, whether you feel that the relationship has hit the rocks or you just want to bring some joy and excitement back into it. There will be more steps to follow.
This step is about romance,inspiration and fun!
So Valentine’s Day. What’s that all about? One day a year where we agree that we should be romantic. It’s even for some of us expected. As though not participating in it might be seen as some negative statement about the status of our relationship. You can also look at it as a lovely day when we get to acknowledge our love for our partner. Your choice really. However what it does I think demonstrate is an acknowledgment that romance is important to us even if just for one day. So I just want us to explore romance for a moment.
The romance I want to address- as this course is all about our relationships, is the romance created by two people to connect and bring a closeness to their relationship. Romance however doesn’t have to be about or for another. People talk about the romance of Paris or Rome for instance. So romance can be about a place and it can also be about a way of being. People can be romantic in their approach to life or in their speaking and their tastes. One persons view of romance can also of course be diametrically opposed to another’s. The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of romance is ‘a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love’ This quote from Virginia Wolfe I find very romantic “Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you”. But to some it may occur as too understated or too obvious and lacking mystery and in fact romance. So romance within a relationship has to connect with the other persons feelings, their likes and dislikes, their tastes really, to land as romantic. A romantic gesture can be as simple as a meal cooked for another. The requirement however would have to be that this was something out of the ordinary and not something the other person did day in and day out. The romance of Paris I’m sure would fade if one was living there for a prolonged period of time. So the unexpected surprise of a gesture or word that ignites a feeling of love or a feeling of desire, would be one useful way of defining romance. So when was the last time that you ignited these feelings in your partner? What is it that would ignite these feelings in your partner?
I’m clear that some relationships have survived for many years without any romance being present. But at what cost to that full and complete experience of connectedness with each other? I know what romance provides for my relationship with my wife. It means that our love for each other instead of diminishing over time has grown. It also has our life together be exciting and fun. Now the problem for most of us humans is that we don’t wake up into a romantic world. Life can often show up as rather prosaic and dull. So romance needs to be created. Your going to need to use your noggin to get connected to how you could generate romance in your relationship! Really give it some thought. It’s also going to require you to give up any resigned thoughts about how your partner is going to respond or that it’s really too late for all of this or putting time considerations in the way or tiredness or any other justification. Maybe for you it will be that tit for tat response of “well they are never romantic so why should I be” or “they just aren’t built that way” or maybe for you it's " they will think I'm foolish". Actually discussing that romance is missing in your relationship and that you now want to create more romance would probably occur for your partner as romantic. You of course don't even need to call it romance. It could be talked about as having more fun, excitement and passion in your relationship.
Pretty much everyone will respond to romance it’s just that you have to get it from their perspective to see what action or words will connect with them. I’m tempted to give a list of suggestions here but it really isn’t about that. It’s whatever is going to work for you and your partner. It could be as simple as telling them that you love them if that is something that you rarely do or it could be a surprise holiday to some exotic location. However this isn’t just a once only action but something that you can be doing regularly to bring that va va voom back into your relationship. To some people just listening and really understanding what they are dealing with can be romantic and even if you don’t think that it is then take it on board as it definitely won’t do any harm to your relationship! Being romantic doesn't always mean that you need to be taking actions that you see as romantic. It can be how your are consistantly being in the relationship.
A complaint that generally arises (no pun intended) when relationships are not working or have become predictable and boring is that the couple have ceased to have sex together or rarely do. It’s obvious if you are not communicating with each other then this is going to impact your sex life but also if romance is missing from life then that generally has an impact. If this is the case for you then I suggest that you go through the different steps starting from step one and be in communication about this. It can be an issue that brings up all sorts insecurities and concerns. Sex can become a very serious, painful issue loaded with meaning. However it’s just sex and has no intrinsic meaning and like most other things in life you can have fun with it and be creative. Remember how it probably was for you both when you first started out together? Well it can be that way again if you are willing to bring some creativity and excitement back into it. Maybe if you haven’t had intercourse for a while then agree with each other that you are going to just touch, talk and explore for a period of time without going all of the way. Light some candles, play some music, bathe together, massage each other with oil. I don’t know! Whatever does it for you really but get in action and stop being right about your point of view because it’s not working! The damage generally caused in our relationship arises out of us not being in communication and being resigned about what is achievable. Get in communication and do it in a nurturing and respectful way. If you are worried or scared to do this then really look at the impact of not being in communication. Can you be with that? Remember how it may have been between you both at one time and rekindle that.