May 23, 2012

Date Your Mate Month

Did you know May is "National Date Your Mate Month." (Did you just roll your eyes???)
You still have a week left to celebrate! If you haven't planned a date with your honey this month, here are some ideas to keep the fire stoked in your hot (or maybe even lukewarm) romance.
Today was one of my "coffee shop writing" days, where I pretend all the fellow Starbucks lovers are my co-workers. Among the crowd was a young, unmarried pair, both UCLA students studying for their classes. The boyfriend sidled up to the blonde wearing headphones, wrapped his arms around her with a soft caress, kissed her hair, and breathed in a deep, intentional breath. She reached back to stroke his arm.
For a moment, I was jealous of their carefree love. Often my husband and I get into a solid routine and forget to nurture those tiny moments of affection. A simple way to get that feeling back? KISS.
According to Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing, a good kiss can send you back to those romantic, blissful days. "Lip contact," she says, "involves five of our 12 cranial nerves as we engage all of our senses to learn more about a partner. Electric impulses bounce between the brain, lips, tongue and skin, which can lead to the feeling of being on a natural "high" because of a potent cocktail of chemical messengers involved."
The longer the kiss, the better. Be brave! Try kissing for ten seconds and see where it takes you.

Get out of the "Date Night" RUT
Do you use your nights together doing errands or hitting the same restaurants? Or have you blown off "Date Night" altogether? Time to shake it up!
Remember how vulnerable you felt when you two first dated? You were somehow nervous and excited at the same time? It's not impossible to make your long-term love seem refreshed.
When we do something new and exciting, our minds spark with higher doses of dopamine and cortisol - both important chemicals that were spinning us high as a kite when we were falling in love. The trick to bringing that spark back? Try something new - maybe even something that seems risky and exciting - and those chemicals are sure to be back.
Leave Work at Work
For one night, do your best to focus on each other without bringing the struggles weighing on you from your crazy, haggard workday. If that means taking a timeout to decompress, do so. The more time you spend focusing on each other, the less it will feel like your co-workers are at home with the two of you.

Kick the Kids OUT and Focus on Each Other
Same rule applies here. For one night, get a babysitter, keep the television off, and talk about each other. Because here's the thing - you might not know as much about your partner now as you did when you were courting.
Don't believe me??
Partners tend to talk less and assume more the longer they've been together. That's because we get busy. We think we're exchanging ideas and sharing our thoughts but really we're just talking about the mundane tasks of the day. And that's why couples who've been married more than 50 years are less likely to predict their partner's preferences than newlyweds. Simply, new partners talk and listen. But older partners need to go back and ask the same questions they did when they first dated. People change. Interests change. Even tastebuds change.
Go back to the types of conversations you had when you first dated. Get to know each other again. Ask about the little things. What's their favorite food? Favorite book? What does their bucket list look like? You might be surprised!

Close the Bathroom Door!
Remember the days when you were dating and you wouldn't dare pass gas in front of your partner? For one day, see what life is like if you hide the picking, burping, or whatever lovely habits you've become accustomed to sharing. Let me know if you notice a difference!
Happy Dating!

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