DR. CELESTE CATANIA-OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
In the beginning, we could not wait to go out with our significant others. Dating was fun, exciting, and something we looked forward to every week. We actually went out of our way to make these times enjoyable and spontaneous. Yet, over time we somehow become “regulars” at certain restaurants and “Netflix and chill” becomes a literal translation.
Sometimes we tend to forget what we once adored about our partners. The key is to continue noticing your spouse and remind yourselves that you actually enjoy each other’s company. Dating each other can help.
Start by surprising each other with a date. Take turns planning these outings. Remember to be positive and open-minded during your dates. Refrain from sharing negative opinions about where you are going, the food you are eating, or how late it is getting. Be a pleasant date. For some reason, we tend to get a little too comfortable with each other over the years and we can sometimes lose our manners, making our partners feel unappreciated and undervalued.
Make eye contact with each other—actually look at one another. See your partner and hold that hand you once squeezed so tightly. If you are feeling daring, surprise your partner with a kiss. Push yourselves out of your comfort zone.
There had to be a time when “butterflies” were regularly felt the moment you saw each other and laughter is what made you realize how wonderful you are together. People can become intimidated when too much time passes by and they think it is just “too late.” This can add anxiety and pressure, sometimes resulting in both individuals not wanting to initiate any form of change.
Some couples even get used to going out in groups or with other couples. This can be due to both individuals feeling uncomfortable about going out alone, especially if you tend to bicker when it is just the two of you or perhaps you don’t know what to talk about when you are alone. Going to watch a movie can be a good start for the two of you in this case, as not much talking is required at a movie theater. A comedy will bring laughter and undoubtedly lighten the mood.
Doing something different can be fun as well. Go to a local food festival, buy tickets to a concert, or challenge yourselves to sky-diving! Sky-diving may be a bit too much but immersing yourselves into unfamiliar settings can actually bring you closer together, especially when you are both experiencing something for the first time.
Be aware that your partner may unknowingly “deny” your idea to go out somewhere. This may be due to your spouse not being used to changing things up, not realizing you are putting yourself out there, or the fact that your partner is so exhausted with everything going on in life that the thought of adding something else may feel too overwhelming.
Either way, keep trying! Little gestures help to keep the romance alive and well. Eventually, all the pieces will fall into place and create a beautiful picture of who you once were and will continue to be as a couple. This picture may change over the years, but it will always remain unique and beautiful.
Celeste Catania-Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.