Valentine's Day is here, and our focus is once again on couples and relationships. Staying together is an eternal challenge that every devoted couple faces and finding ways to maintain that togetherness is one of mankind’s constant quests. After all, love, caring and affection are at the heart of everyone’s happiness and fulfillment.
Flowers and chocolates for the ladies, and gadgets and tools for the men are the tried and tested techniques for putting the romance back into a love affair. And most of the time, they can help do the trick. But for the long haul, it takes more than gift giving to ride over the bumps that all unions must, as a matter of course, go through. So, for this love month of February, why not start on these techniques to keep the flames of love and desire burning brightly.
If the weather is nice, take a run or a long walk together. You can catch up on your busy days while catching a breath of fresh air. If you're looking at snow and low temperatures, get memberships at a gym that you and your partner will be comfortable in and plan schedules that allow both of you to be available at certain times. Pump up your heart rates, increase the energy levels and enhance physical endurance. You may have different fitness goals – to lose weight or build muscle mass – but the benefits of exercising together are many:
Bonding – After spending almost the whole day apart due to work and other responsibilities, getting fit together is a great way to bond and spend quality time. Plan a schedule that is doable, like three or four times a week, so that your goals are reached and you are encouraged to continue.
Motivation and Support – Having someone along when you exercise is a great motivator, more so if that someone is the one you love. Helpful comments on each one’s progress add support for the exercise regimen and ensure continuity of your program.
Total Benefits – A fit, trim and healthy body wards off lifestyle diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and obesity. Regular physical activity also increases the production of hormones responsible for increasing the libido and feelings of happiness while reducing stress.
The kitchen need not be for making meals only. It can also be a venue for spending time with your partner while planning meals that are tasty and healthy. Take turns drawing up a menu for dinner and shopping for ingredients. You can both prepare and cook the meals while educating yourselves on what’s healthy and what’s not. If one of you is not into cooking, just agree to be there. It’s the presence that counts, too. Here are tips for couples cooking in the kitchen:
Plan healthy meals – The perfect meal is one that is high in essential nutrients and low on saturated fats, salt and sugar. Keep a mental calorie count to prevent over-indulgence that leads to obesity. Make yourself familiar with the new dietary guidelines for Americans based on the MyPlate pattern.
Choose fresh and organic ingredients – Pick up fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned versions. Go for organic rice and whole grains, and avoid white bread and baked confections. These choices are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals that keep you looking young and feeling full of life. The antioxidants and phytonutrients prevent diseases by boosting the immune system.
And lastly, don’t forget the red wine and candles. Not only will you reap the benefits of resveratrol, you'll evoke a romantic ambiance while taking care of each other’s hearts, literally and figuratively.
Put Some Spice Back in the Bedroom
If your sex life has gone from exciting to ho-hum, it’s time to come up with new ideas. Bringing in a little kink or acting out a fantasy both partners are comfortable with can do a lot to rekindle dormant desire. Read magazines or go to websites to learn something new and try them out on your partner. Besides, having sex is another great way to stay healthy! Just 30 minutes of sexual activity can help you burn up to 85 calories. More ways to bring back the lust are:
Buy sexy lingerie - Lacy, provocative and risque nighties and underwear are always a sexy sight and will start off a night of eroticism. Add bright red lipstick to match the clothing.
Set the mood - Ambiance plays an important role in conditioning the mind to be in a loving mood. Show affection and ask how each other’s day has gone. Avoid starting petty quarrels; they shatter good vibes and destroy the setting for a warm and amorous environment.
Stress is an unavoidable presence in everyone’s lives. Dealing with it determines how it can affect your relationship and still remain together. Deep breathing and thinking positive thoughts are effective stress beaters. Better yet, join classes together so you and your partner can get rid of stressors and enjoy each other’s company.
Yoga and meditation are Eastern practices that the western world would do well to follow. Take it from David and Victoria Beckham, a power couple who credit yoga for keeping them together. Get a guru to help you with meditation and discover how to achieve inner peace as a couple.
If you’ve missed out on New Year’s resolutions, make Valentine’s Day your chance to have a fresh start on your love life. Believe it or not, relationships can last forever and not just until the next valentine.