Written by Paula Brečak for Self Studies
One of the persisting myths around relationships and sex is that if they are right and “meant to be,” they will just happen - easily and spontaneously. And while spontaneity might have been a part of your Summer love and presented itself easily when usual obligations took a hiatus, Fall resists it and asks for routine and planning, things not often associated with romance, passion, and intimacy.
Back from the Summer haze, you are setting up your routines and tasks, your lists and plans, energized and motivated by the sense of starting anew. The to-do lists and filled-in calendars often include work obligations, family plans, workout regimes, and socializing with all the friends you’ve missed in the past months. What they, however, usually forget to consider, is time for your relationship. Whether you’ve spent the Summer connecting with your existing partner or starting a new romance, as the Fall rolls around, those activities fall down on your list of priorities and are replaced with more practical responsibilities.
To not let your connection, playfulness, and pleasure slip away under the piling tasks, we suggest putting your relationship on your to-do list as well (and not at the end of it). When your days are filled from early mornings to late nights, it is not realistic to expect that chances for intimacy and romance will just present themselves. You have to find time and energy for them, just as you do with everything else that is important to you.
Schedule Romance During the Day
As you leave connecting with your partner for the end of your to-do list, you also often leave it for the end of the day. The idea that many people share is that they will check in with their loved one once everything else for the day is done and settled. As you both get cozy in your bed, this is the time when you will talk to each other and, every so often, have sex. However, what usually happens is that by the end of the day you are so exhausted and drained that you cannot even think, let alone have a conversation or make a sexual fantasy come true.
Don’t make each other an afterthought. Don’t count on the idea that you will always have time for each other eventually. Because that eventually will come far too rarely and in between those occasions, you might lose touch with one another.
Schedule pockets of time for romance and intimacy and make them happen in the morning or during the day. Perhaps you can set the alarm for half an hour early and use that time for cuddling and morning sex? Perhaps you can schedule a rendez-vous during your lunch breaks or take advantage of an empty house once you leave your children at their afternoon activities? Plan time with your partner for when you know you will have the energy and will be able to be present and truly enjoy the moment and their company.
Practice Your Love Languages
Learn each other’s love languages and practice them, even making them sexual. Love languages are the way we communicate and receive love. They include: acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation. Integrating your partner’s love language into how you communicate and act around them doesn’t have to take up much of your time. It only requires you to become aware of what means the most to them, whether it is you picking up a chore when they are exhausted, or holding their hand, bringing them a treat you know they love, scheduling a date only for the two of you, or expressing how much you appreciate them through words. If you do the things that will resonate with your partner and signal them that you love them, it will contribute to your connection and relationship in times when it might be difficult to make each other a priority.
Dates don’t have to be long and elaborate. If your schedules are overflowing, then lengthy dates might have the opposite effect of the desired one, making you stressed about spending a lot of time on a date when there are other things requiring your attention. Instead, set up speedy intimacy practices that you can easily squeeze into your schedule (but do actually schedule them). Examples of such practices are skin-to-skin cuddling, long kisses, looking into each other’s eyes for 10 seconds, sharing one thing that made you happy during your day. Make sure this time is only about your connection, do not multitask and unload the dishwasher while sharing your happy moment of the day or scroll through your phone while cuddling. Be present and be involved. These may not sound like much but they will add up and help keep you connected and close even when it seems like you do not have much time for each other.
Play Together and Forgo the Pressure
While putting time with your partner on your to-do list can help you remember that your relationship needs tending to as well as everything else in your life, don’t let this practice pressure you. Writing down your planned moments of intimacy will assist you in keeping your relationship active and intimate, but it should not become a chore.
Sex and dates should be fun and playful. Adding them onto your to-do list isn’t so you would have one more thing to worry about and tick off. It is so you don’t forget that people need tending to as well. It is so you are sure that you give time to yourself and to your relationship. If you need help getting there, you can always include a couples game like the Connect Card Game or on a new sex toy.
Self Studies Challenge
To help you get started with putting your relationship on your to-do list, we are giving you a #SelfStudiesChallenge.
Find a hobby that you both enjoy or would like to try and schedule a time to do it together.
This can be going roller skating or running together, baking bread, going to a museum or a gallery, joining a paint and wine workshop or doing one in your home, gardening or taking up a quick DIY home project. Don’t make it too complicated, but choose something you are excited about. This will give you a chance to do something that helps you relax and recharge, and it will also give you a chance to connect with your partner and get used to scheduling time to spend together.
Share this article with your partner, so you are on the same page when it comes to setting aside time for your relationship.