New relationships can be full of romance, racing hearts, excitement and butterflies. As time goes on-intimacy changes and deepens, but oftentimes romance can take a back seat to life responsibilities. In my practice I work with a lot of couples who are struggling with problems and dissatisfaction in their relationships. I will hear commonalities such as, “He never talks to me anymore,” or “She just doesn’t appreciate how much I do for this family,” or “How can I ever trust him/her again after this!.” Typically problems and dissatisfaction lead back to a common missing piece. What the majority of people are really saying is, “I don’t feel cherished anymore.”

Traditional wedding vows promise to love AND cherish and these ideas are separate for a reason. Even if you are not married, these two things are key to any committed long-term relationship. Love is a feeling and cherish is an action. This week I am going to focus on sharing some tips to strengthening your relationships and improving communication and connectedness through the act of cherishing.

First things first- what does the term cherish mean to you? Take some time to think about it and talk about it with your significant other. Ask each other the question- when do you feel cherished? Webster dictionary defines the word cherish as: to hold dear- feel or show affection for- to keep or cultivate with care and affection- to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely.

Ultimately it means to nourish, foster emotional connectedness, have compassion, boost each others ego, value each others company, being thoughtful, being interested in each others desires and excited about each others achievements, spending time, being helpful romantic and affectionate, creating new memories and reminiscing on older ones, taking a team approach to life, honoring commitments, the list can go on and on.

Sounds great right! Most of the things listed above are present in the new glow of a relationship in an attempt to get to know each other and determine if you are a good fit. New relationships are full of excitement due to the emotional risk of developing some vulnerabilities with a person. Oftentimes couples, after having been together for some time, begin to develop a pattern of predictability. With the assurance of committment, the individuals can begin losing sight of the importance of these things in the health of a relationship. People become comfortable with the hum drum of life and feel like they don’t have any extra energy left for the little things.  Your relationship shouldn’t evolve into a business arrangement with job duties of producing income, performing sex, cleaning the house, and parenting. A little bit of romance with a mind of cherishing will go a long way.

Romance is a state of mind. If you have the right mindset you can make cleaning the car romantic, but if you have the wrong mindset-you can turn a candlelight dinner into a fight. Ultimately it’s all about the little things. It’s time to recapture the fun in your relationship. Remember – relationships are NOT self-regulating. They are delicate creations that require attention, self-adjustment and regular tune-ups.

Read below for 40 quick and easy tips to spice up the intimacy in your life. If you keep at it- each partner will feel more cherished and in turn your connection will strengthen.

1. Rent a bicycle built for two

2. Make a toast to one another every time you hold a wine glass

3. Go out dancing- or practice in the living room

4. Write a love letter

5. Serenade him/her

6. Write romantic reminders on your daily to-do list. This part of your life is just as important as your other tasks listed.

7. Hide notes in little places (in his jeans pocket, by her car speedometer, in the medicine cabinet)

8. Make your spouse go on a wild goose hunt for his or her next gift with clues

9. Make up new pet names for each other. The sillier the better

10. Visit the local art gallery, museum or public garden together

11. Eat breakfast by candlelight

12. Shower together

13. Check the morning newspaper for his or her horoscope. Cut it out- write in the margins and stick it on the bathroom mirror or by the coffee pot.

14. After you say goodbye turn around and blow him a kiss

15. Touch more. Hold hands, brush her cheek, stroke his arm, rub his neck, kiss her nose, sit on his lap.

16. Share a bubble bath

17. Spend a whole day in bed watching funny movies.

18. Surprise him with the latest new book by his favorite author

19. On her birthday- send her mother a thank you card.

20. Program a sweet message on his phone and set the alarm to go off during his lunch break

21. Brush her hair

22. Say, “I Love You” at least three times a day

23. Carve your initials in a tree

24. Fulfill one of your partner’s fantasies

25. Throw his or her towel in the dryer while they are in the shower and bring it nice and warm when ready to get out

26. Be silly and act like kids. Toe wrestle-draw funny faces on the eggs in the refrigerator together-kiss every time you see a red corvette

27. Write a love message in the steam of the bathroom mirror

28. Go through revolving doors together

29. Stop nagging and complaining even if you’re right

30. Stop judging, correcting and lecturing

31. Don’t take each other for granted

32. Lay in the grass and make pictures out of the cloud formations together

33. Fly a kite together

34. Eliminate all interruptions. Turn off your phones and eliminate the TV. Ship the kids off to a sitter and stay home and connect

35. Read out loud to each other

36. Go to the costume store and rent each other costumes

37. Be each others biggest fan. Compliment each other often

38. Keep your own life exciting and maintain your individuality. Have a life outside your relationship

39. Don’t position yourself between your partner’s passion. Don’t force your partner to choose between you and his football or between you and her photography. “If you can’t beat ’em- join ’em!” Read a book about their passion or ask questions to get to know more about the things that interest your partner

40. Draw a picture of each other- doing your very best.

At the end of the day relationships take work- but it doesn’t have to be work that isn’t enjoyable. Romance isn’t buying diamonds and flowers (although those things are most certainly appreciated every now again), it truly is the little things in life that make it worth living. Communicate with each other how you like to be loved and make the effort to let your partner know that you appreciate them through frequent small gestures. You will notice a difference in how you relate to each other.

Signing off and wishing you all happy healthy futures.

Be a great day today folks…. and don’t forget to check out my website!