May 25, 2009

Don't Be Too Pooped To Pucker

Romantic marriage rule #1: Don’t be too pooped to pucker
Do you have 20 seconds a day to devote to your marriage?
If you can manage one-third of a minute a day, they suggest dividing it between a passionate kiss when you part in the morning and another when you meet again at night. Most people find it’s a longer lip lock than they expect.
A kiss is important because how couples greet each other “sets the emotional tone for intimacy for the whole rest of the evening,” said Parrot, who co-wrote “When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages” with her husband, Les. “If you start off with ‘What’s for dinner?’ or ‘Did you get the mail?’ that sets a different tone.”

Time Together:
Finding time for each other can be challenging for parents, who sometimes sacrifice romance to the demands of children and busy schedules.
Parents today “really take their parenting role seriously, often at the expense of their own relationship,” David Arp said. “It’s always, ‘Next month we’ll have time for us.’ But it never quite happens.”

“Parents let the ‘goodies’ the fun, friendship and intimacy that brought them together in the 1st place fall by the wayside,” Jordan said. “Life gets very hectic, and children and work clamor for attention. A relationship doesn’t until it’s in bad shape.”

For many new parents, the sudden switch from “all-us” time to “all-baby” time is difficult, Parrot said. “You trade in your couple relationship for a family-centered relationship,” she noted. While for most it’s a positive trade, parents might mourn the loss of their close coupledom.

Date Night:
Postponing romance until kids leave the house shouldn’t be an option. Romance when kids are around is tepid, at best. So parents always end up with the well-worn favorite: date night. “When parents schedule time together regularly, they’re amazed at how different their lives look afterward,” said Jordan. “They’re much less angry with each other. It really makes a difference.”
The Jacobson’s go out to dinner or get dessert so they can talk instead of seeing a movie. Sometimes they walk or sit by the lake. A different setting helps you focus on your partner —”Oh right, that’s why I married you” —rather than the mundane details of the day,” said Jacobson, whose children range in age from 10 to 17.

If parents don’t make an effort to stay connected in small ways, however, the slights and problems build up and they end up fighting during their precious alone time. “Separate the business of the relationship from the pleasure of the relationship,” Jordan advised. “Otherwise, the first time you’re away from the kids, you’ll end up in an argument about an item from the checkbook.”

Understanding the three facets of love passion, intimacy and commitment can help parents understand what might be missing from their relationship. Then they can spend their date time filling that need, Parrott said. She and her husband rate their love life on a scale of 1 to 10 using each of the 3 factors. “Many times, my passion is a 2,” said Parrott, who has a 4-year-old son. “Parents have lots of opportunities for passion to be do used.”
In that case, she said, seeing a movie is probably not going to be a fulfilling date. “We don’t have time as parents to be sloppy in keeping love alive,” she said.

“You see so many marriages crumbling,” Jacobson said. “You have to be proactive and take care of your marriage. It’s not something that’s just going to happen.”
Having friendship as the basis for their relationship helps them communicate quickly about important things without wasting time fighting, Jacobson said. “It hasn’t always been perfect,” she said.

“But no matter how many years go by, our relationship feels quite fresh. One of the secrets of staying in love is falling in love over and over. You can learn the same things about a person, but on deeper and deeper levels.”
Stephanie Dunnewind