Reviving the Romance

One of the more common complaints I hear among my couples, particularly those with sexual desire differences, is a lack of romance. What is romance? Why is it so important?

What is Romance?

I like to describe romance as “words or actions that create a feeling of being loved.”  It is a special and complicated kind of language within a relationship. We attempt to learn and speak our partner’s language as they learn and attempt to speak ours. As you can imagine, this also means that sometimes our romantic gestures might fall flat if we’re not speaking to our partner. Flowers and dancing to classical music might work for some; for others, it might be planning a trip to ice skating. Sometimes it could just be your partner bringing home a silly little trinket that made them think of you. Notice that I’m also keeping this gender-neutral. It is not just for the sappiest of women, as it is often portrayed. Romance can be experienced by all: men, women – no matter the gender identification. But for whatever reason, it is also one of the first things to go in a relationship when the hustle and bustle of building a life together happens.

Why is it Important?

In Gottman’s terminology, romance is an opportunity to not only turn towards your partner but also to share fondness and admiration and your knowledge of their love maps.

To put it simply, it is a chance to show up for your partner, to demonstrate that you know and understand them deeply and that you care about them. If that’s the feeling you get when your partner is around, emotional connection, trust, and sometimes even physical connection will follow.

What is Romance?

So How Do I Revive the Romance?

First off, you need to know your partner. Are rom-coms cheesy or cute to them? Do they find love songs sappy or sweet? While all gestures are appreciated as thoughtful, you want to try to hit the bullseye on the target, so it feels romantic. Try asking and answering the following questions: 

-What movies or shows do you find romantic? Why? What parts? 

-What sorts of things (words, actions, gifts, etc.) feel romantic to you?

-What is the most romantic moment you remember having? What made it so romantic? 

-What romantic things does your partner do that you see and appreciate now?

-Name one romantic gesture that would mean a lot for your partner to give you.

Planning something romantic sounds daunting to many, so it may be difficult to know where to begin. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. Think of a normal thing you would do, then ask yourself: how can I take this one step further? For example, you are going out to dinner like you do every Friday. To take it one step further, you could plan to go somewhere new, recreate the first date, plan something fun after dinner, show up with flowers beforehand, feed your partner bites of dessert, or suggest taking a loved-up photo. By giving these examples, you can see how knowing your partner is so important.

Amanda Linan, LSW
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Linan is a Licensed Social Worker. She has experience counseling on a variety of issues, including relationships, sexual issues, substance use, mental health, and medical conditions and disabilities.

On her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, and weight training.

About Amanda Linan

Amanda Linan, LCSW, CST, has been working in the field since 2010 in various capacities, which has garnered education and experience with sexuality, relationships, mental health, disabilities, substance use, and trauma. Amanda is a Certified Sex Therapist and specializes in relationships and sexuality. She is Level I, II and III trained in Gottman Method.