However much I love my husband, there are times when I know I neglect us as a couple. With all the pressures of family life, it's easy to let your relationship take a back seat. It's easy to concentrate on the kids and give them 100% of your focus. But one day they will leave home and you will find that it is just the two of you. You owe it to future-you to pay some attention to your marriage, creating a strong foundation for the future and setting a good example to your children so they can go on to have good relationships in their lives.
I was lucky enough to have a transatlantic phone consultation with relationship expert and love guru Matthew Hussey as part of the date night campaign with Head and Shoulders. He told me some great tips on how to keep our relationship fresh and offered some helpful suggestions on how to make magic moments that will reconnect us and provide a framework upon which to grow together. Making new rituals will help condition us into making our relationship better and build a relationship that will withstand the test of time.
1- Take time on your personal grooming so you look good and feel good. Pamper yourself before a special date and enjoy making yourself look beautiful. (And if your other half complains you are taking too long getting ready, just remind them that you enjoy making yourself look beautiful for him!)
2- Give your partner a compliment. Think of something new to compliment them on and mean it. Think about the little things that you love about them and let them know. Make them feel loved and cherished and never taken for granted.
3- Recognise the different types of affection that you share with your partner and aim to add some extra ways to touch them that will keep them guessing. Ian and I are really quite demonstrative and if I ever reach out to gently stroke his back or squeeze his arm, whilst we're doing the weekly grocery shopping or some other mundane task, it always makes him smile and silently reminds him that he is loved. It's an unexpected chance to connect in everyday moments.
4- Live in the present and dream of the future! Look forward to something together. Plan a trip, discuss your retirement or plan a date night! Think of something that excites you that you can talk about and take mutual pleasure in. Don't dwell on the comfortable familiarity of yesterday. Look towards tomorrow and focus on the good things you are yet to enjoy.
5- Connect to each other through a shared activity. Maybe take a course, learn a language, research something that interests you. Having something new and different to talk about (other than work, money or the kids) that will inspire interesting and new channels of conversation. Doing so helps you to grow yourself and open up the world to you both.
6- Rekindle early habits and set new routines into motion. Don't focus on a one off grand gesture, instead work on a new set of practices that you can adopt into everyday life that will bring you together as a couple, help nurture your relationship and make your time together filled with special moments.
It's not rocket science, but it never hurts to remind yourself of the importance of devoting time to your marriage. We've been married for 16 years now and our third child is due to leave home next year, leaving us with just two chicks in our nest. We are edging closer to the day when it is just the two of us and when that day comes I want it to be an opportunity to really explore and enjoy our time as a couple. Working on our relationship now and holding onto the reasons that made us fall in love in the first place (some 30 years ago when we started dating for the first time) reminds me just how lucky we are to have each other. We are soul mates, best friends and true loves. Our time together is precious. We need to remember this fact and not allow ourselves to slip into boring ruts that threaten to take the sparkle off of what we have. Occasional date nights will definitely help put the romance back, allowing us to enjoy each other away from the responsibility of home life...if only for a few hours.
You can find Michael's website at howtogettheguy.com where he shares some of the secrets of attraction and where you can sign up to attend one of his highly successful and popular seminars.
The Date Night campaign that I am part of is being sponsored by Head and Shoulders who sent me the lovely pampering products!