The best way to keep the flame burning is with small and regular romantic rituals.
Most people save romance for big dates like Valentines Day and anniversaries.
But daily love rituals are what keeps the relationship going on a day to day basis.
It's all about making each other feel valued and loved. Even if you are extremely busy, most of these take just a few minutes a day.
This is part of the hard work required to make a relationship work.
The importance of these romantic rituals cannot be overstated. You have to keep doing them even when you don't feel like it because you are busy or angry. To withdraw from the ritual is like withdrawing your love. Maintaining the ritual is a very small dedication and show of commitment but it is cumulative and has a huge positive effect over time.
You probably already do some of these. In that case recognize the importance of the ritual and make sure you always do it. Don't ever let it slip.
If you feel like your relationship could benefit from some additional romantic rituals then have a look at this list for ideas.
The Waking Ritual
This is a very common ritual that you perhaps have already. For me it is as simple as leaning over and giving my girl a kiss as I get out of bed and head for the shower. I stopped doing this for a little while unconsciously and it actually caused quite a lot of friction in the relationship. I couldn't work out what was wrong until it blew up into an argument and she told me. Once I started again things quickly sorted themselves out.
The Leaving Home Ritual
Make sure you have a little ritual before one of you heads out the door in the morning. Again this might as simple as a quick hug, a kiss or an "I love you."
The Home From Work Ritual
Stop what you are doing and greet your partner when she arrives home. The ritual could be physical affection, asking about her day or taking her coat. A hug and a ten minute chat is a good way to check in with each other at the end of a long day.
The Going To Bed Ritual
What this is depends on if you go to bed at the same time. If you do then your ritual can be reading, chatting, snuggling, kissing or anything. If one of you goes to bed earlier than the other then make sure you still have a little ritual to signal goodnight.
Try and eat at least one meal together each day. Normally this will be dinner but depending on your schedules this might not always work. Sharing a meal is a great chance to connect, catch up and see how each other's day has gone. Watching TV is also a ritual, just one that is more passive and less intimate.
Sunday Morning Coffee Date
I find this to be a great way to spend some time together and unwind. After a bit of a lie in we walk down the road for a coffee and a chai latte.
I'm not a big fan of going over the top for anniversaries. But a small little acknowledgement is appropriate. Men are notorious for forgetting anniversaries, but if it means something to your girl then it is only a small effort to remember to acknowledge it. It shows that the years are ticking by but you are still happily in love.
Regular Date Night
A difficult one to schedule in on a regular basis, but make missing date night the exception rather than the rule. If weekly is too much then fortnightly should be manageable. It's easy to let dates slide as the relationship ages, so by making a regular ritual out of it, you help keep things fun and exciting.
Walk and Talk
My girl and I do some of our best talking on the move. Whether it's walking to the shops or cafes or walking on the beach it is a great way to connect. All the other distractions are out of the way so you can focus on each other. Yet if there is a break in conversation someone doesn't get up to do something else, because you are walking.
Send Each Other Texts, Emails or Selfies
This can easily be a mid afternoon ritual every workday. It is a reminder that you are thinking about each other and looking forward to seeing each other that evening.
Made famous by Marshal and Lily from How I Met Your Mother sending each other details of what they ate for lunch everyday.
I'm not a big fan of doing this but my girlfriend is. She leaves sticky notes for me all over the house, but generally on my computer screen on on the front door. They are quite nice and writing this reminds me that I should probably write one for her.
Share New Year's Resolutions
Having shared goals or even just coming up with individual goals but sharing them with each other is a great bonding experience. You can set a yearly ritual where you will share your New Year's resolutions and hold each other accountable.
Get To Know Each Other Chat
Even if you have been together for quite some time, there is always more to learn about the other. Spend some time without electronics or other distractions for quality conversation. Set a rule that you can't talk about work, chores or any other mundane day to day topics. It has to be about sharing your deep thoughts.
Learn Something New Together
Having a shared hobby that you learn together is a great ritual bonding experience. Many couples choose a sport that they can share lessons, practice and games. Golf and tennis are common favorites. Others like bowling, running, swimming or horse riding. There is no limit.
Don't join an old women's book club, but run your own little one. My girl and I have reasonably similar views about the world in terms of politics and economics. We often link each other articles, videos or even books about news and current affairs and we always have a chat about it later.
Quick Board Game
This is an awesome after dinner ritual. A quick game of cards or something like Connect Four is a great little ritual, especially if you can find something where you are equally matched and competitive.
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