This guest article from Psych Central was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
On Valentine's Day most couples make fancy dinner reservations, buy lovey-dovey cards and express their appreciation for each other. But what happens on February 15th? One day a year doesn’t make a romantic relationship.
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Plus, there are plenty of ways to keep the passion alive all year, which helps to genuinely strengthen your relationship. Below, three experts share their tips for year-round romance.
1. Show your appreciation every day. “From morning until night, couples have the opportunity to offer words of affirmation, appreciation and adoration to one another as well as the chance to offer nonverbal cues as well,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. Nonverbal cues are anything from a wink to a kiss to a smile. Every day Sumber asks himself a question that’s valuable for everyone to ponder: What can I do to celebrate my partner today?
2. Surprise your partner. Small surprises also make the everyday special, according to Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of Emotional Fitness for Couples. He suggested leaving a love note on the fridge, in the shower or in your partner’s pocket; leaving a loving or sexy voicemail; or sending a card to work. Sumber recommended breakfast in bed, flowers or even a singing telegram at work.
3. Carve out time to be together. “At the beginning of a relationship, the excitement and anxiety of connecting with a new partner makes time together a top priority,” said psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D. “When that urgency goes away and we start to feel comfortable, time for the relationship becomes a lower priority.” And, of course, it becomes especially tough to find spontaneous pockets of time when you’re working, taking care of a family and already feeling exhausted.
But as Howes said, “if we don’t make time to feed the relationship, it withers.” Schedule a time each week for just the two of you — with few exceptions. See a movie or dine out. Or do something more low-key like talking, listening, cooking or just lying on the couch together. “The idea is to make each other a priority,” Sumber said.
4. Devise your dream getaway. Together, look at brochures or websites and discuss what a great getaway would look like. “Even if you don’t have the time or money right now, the process may be just what you need to inspire yourselves,” Goldsmith said.
5. Take turns planning dates. This way one partner isn’t doing all the planning and organizing. “It also allows us to think about what our partner might really desire that we may not be doing often enough,” Sumber said.
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