Keep your love alive! Use these guaranteed, tried and tested tools.
This is the last piece in this series on tools for building romance at any time but particularly during the pandemic. We started the series focusing on ways to be a team player, followed up with the most helpful attitude to take and now we are finishing up with concrete actions. Without the right attitude and being a team player, these actions may not have the oomph they would, so be sure to read the first two pieces if you have not already! Remember you can follow the guidelines below, and they will be even more effective when you are wearing the right mindset!
Have a weekly date night where you are as uninterrupted as possible. Go to a restaurant- even in the pandemic you can at least sit outside and make sure you dress warmly if you’re north of Mason Dixie. If you can’t make it to a restaurant for whatever reason, don’t make excuses, have a date night at home after the kids go to bed. Make it romantic, this is not the time to talk about budgets- make another date for that! This is time to dream together, to support one another, to plan for your relationship perhaps. Think of how you dated in the “in love” phase, what did you talk about? Though “in love” is a limited time offer in ALL relationships, you can recapture elements of that time when you are intentional.
Both of you, dress to impress whatever that means to you. Don’t take date night too casually. No, you don’t have to wear a suit or formal dress- unless you really want to ; ). Do not wear sweat pants, however. Dress in a way that tells your partner that you respect and honor them. Dress in a way that lets them know that you are taking date night seriously.
Closeout the world on date night. Avoid the phone and texting if at all possible. If you need to be in touch with the house or family in case of emergency, set it up so that it’s obvious that it is them. The idea here is you don’t want to be picking up the phone every ten seconds, you will be giving your partner your full attention. Don’t waste your time talking about politics or the weather. Make each date night special partner time!
Ask one another about what is important. Ask her about her day, what is going really well at work, with the kids. Ask him about what was best about his day. Avoid monosyllable answers like “yes” or “no”. Explore their answers, ask for more details. Show authentic interest in their lives, what is important to them. Again remember when you were “in love” and act as if you have that level of interest. Often when we act as if, the rest of us soon follows.
In order to really talk, you will need to practice listening. This is more than having a listen of the right questions, it’s also about hearing and processing what it is your partner is saying, listening for what really matters to them. In order to do this, practice listening. The key to practicing is that you can and will always get better at it. When they speak listen for one feeling and one fact in the thread of what they are saying. If your partner really loves to talk, or perhaps is used to not being acknowledged, interrupt them to repeat back what you have heard by saying “excuse me, sorry to interrupt you, I just want to make certain I am understanding you correctly” and then say something like “it sounds like you are very X (feeling) due to Y (fact)?” Don’t be put out if they go “no, no, no, it’s really more about …..” Then do it again, tell them the feeling and fact you are hearing. Keep doing this until they go “Yes! Exactly”, or some similar response. Help your partner to know that they are heard.