Couples Therapy

Twenty Ways to Introduce and Keep Romance in Your Relationship

Janet Miller Wiseman, LICSW, CDFM

Whether  you are beginning a friendship,  a prospective relationship or you’re in a relationship that is becoming, oh, so stale, these twenty ways to introduce and keep romance in your relationship are bound to help.

Let’s begin with the story of a couple in Havana, Cuba, with whom I was staying in an Airbnb type of arrangement after a formal 10 day tour of the island designed to learn about traditional and alternative medicine. The wife in the home confided in me that she was close to divorce; her husband was so embittered by the Communist regime that he was very difficult to live with on a daily basis.

During my formal Cuban tour, before I set out for three weeks on my own, I was given an herbal aphrodisiac by an elderly Cuban woman. I gave the substance to the hosts in whose home I was staying. The next day I offered to take them to a cabana, can-can presentation of dancing Cuban ladies and couples dancing danzon, casino and to the son. They were in a much better mood and even held hands on the way to the dance presentation. At first they sat on opposite sides of the table, until I got up and insisted they sit side-by-side. They then engaged in conversation about life before the 1959 Communist Revolution of Fidel Castro, reminiscing and laughing. This is where the twenty steps to enhance, introduce and keep romance in your relationship begins:

  1. An aphrodiasiac – whether a Cuban herbal remedy, or  foods as aphrodisiacs and gestures like: a.Almonds, avocados, asparagus b.Bananas  and basil c. High content cacao chocolate d. Figs e. Garlic f. Honey g. Oysters h.Addyi (flibanserin) which increases sexual desire for women or  h.Viagra or Cialis for men i. Deep kisses that say what I am wanting j. embraces and hold-tight hugs
  1. Conversation – whether reminiscing about when you first met; what attracted you to one another, what is still attractive, how you see that the other has matured, seasoned, ripened. You might talk about what the big challenges were that you have overcome together; in the case of the Cuban couple, what it was like before the Communist Revolution in Cuba and surviving the regime in the present. Sharing special topics that you or the other one is especially interested in is stimulating to the mind and much more.
  2. You, a man in the United States, sends your lady flowers – a dozen red, white, or orange-tipped roses the next day.
  3. She surprises you the next night with a picnic at an isolated sculpture park …having prepared mojitos, steak-tips salad, potato salad, mangos and grapes, and double chocolate whipped cream cake. She brings a copy of the Kama Sutra Indian Guide to Sensual Pleasure to read together.
  4. You text her the next day, with thank yous and comments about her generosity, graciousness, and attractiveness. You tell her you are bringing home a book on Tantric sex tonight and tell her to “get ready!” You text each other often this day and every day thereafter.
  5. That week you settle a controversy about whether you should donate your old car to a charity or sell it to a third party.  You need funds, but you also want to be charitable. You decide to learn about the tax deduction by donating the car, versus the Kelly Blue Book Value for selling to a third party. Whichever is the higher sum, you decide to do.
  6. You schedule intimate time, around your work schedules and children (if you are parents, getting baby-sitters like grandparents and siblings to do sleep-overs at their home for your really special times together).
  7. You talk to each other about what you have physically loved in your intimate lives and what you want to experiment with in the future.
  8. You are physically gentle and tenderly intimate.
  9. You light candles and play your favorite music.
  10. You cuddle up under the covers, share your nighttime dreams, day time aspirations, the mistakes you’ve made in the past, how you want to improve, simple observations of funny family scenes you’ve seen while lunching outside at your work-places, challenges with colleagues and with the projects you are undertaking at work.
  11. When you need to ask that the other alter some words or behavior, you speak softly, soothingly,  graciously in a non-critical and non-threatening manner.
  12. You call her within the next week to say, “Don’t make dinner, get dressed up, I’ll be home at 6:15”. You take her to the opening of a new 4 star ethnic restaurant.
  13. She sends you an over-the-top  hilarious thank you card for the dinner.
  14. You are  right back at her with a more hilarious card.
  15. She sends you a gift of two bath-size towels for your new outdoor jacuzzi, with a copy of her new article/blog for her website.
  16. You write a poem for her and leave her a thank you note for the towels and ask if she wants you to copy edit her latest blog.
  17. You decide to make a party for her to introduce her to your colleagues, relatives and friends.
  18. You continuously thank each other for the nice things you’ve said about each other, the things you’ve done for one another, and the support you give each other every day.
  19. You discuss that affairs are not about sex, but about feeling good and confident about oneself. You decide to dress like you’re having an affair and be in as good physical and mental condition as if  you were having that affair… but with one another.

The couple in Havana, Cuba began with reconnecting sexually, holding hands, conversation and reminiscing about the past, and then holding hands again while returning to their home. I can only hope that they reconnected on a deeper level and that couples beginning friendships, prospective relationships, and reviving existing relationships may use some of the steps above, and design many more of their own, to build solid and passionate connections between themselves.