Romance, Guy Style

Couple-Relaxing

Romance, Guy Style

We all know what women find romantic. But what about when it comes to men?  How you do sweep a guy off his feet? Flowers, candle lit dinners and moonlit buggy rides aren’t it. It can be difficult to guess what gifts or gestures he’ll appreciate. But not to worry, here are some ideas. Here’s romance, guy style. First, when you do something nice for your guy, don’t expect something automatically in return. It kills the mood. You don’t want him to show up with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and just after you swoon say, “Hey, what are you going to do for me?” Instead, make sure a gesture or a gift is just that, an expression of your affection. Of course he’ll be overjoyed and won’t be able to wait to shower you with gifts and appreciation. But let it come naturally. Don’t force it or expect it.

For gesture ideas, why not cook him his favorite meal or bake his favorite dessert? Not so handy in the kitchen? Take him out to his favorite restaurant. If he’s a sports guy, take him to a sports bar where they have the best burgers for the game. For guys, it isn’t about a one size fits all thing like flowers or candy. It’s really about tailoring what his hobbies or interests are to your gift or gesture. Get to know your guy and what he likes and ideas will come up.

Tickets to the game or the concert, a nice watch, a weekend away, a ski trip, a party on the beach, a surprise camping trip to a national park he’s been itching to make it to, a massage, all of these will show him how much you care. Guys often plan dates, outings and so on, though certainly not always. But why not turn the tails on him and plan something that will knock his socks off? If you want to do something little, why not leave a little love note for him, or even a steamy one? Leave them in his briefcase, knapsack, jacket pocket, in a book he’s reading, his luggage or his satchel. Some guys don’t like it when things are too sappy. Others are the sensitive type. Know which type your guy is and write your notes accordingly. Why not write something funny or witty?

Sometimes just lazing around together can be romantic. Sitting by the pool with drinks, easing into a hot tub or coffee and a long brunch in a great café will do the trick. Don’t forget that for guys the physical aspect is an important part of romance. Surprising him in lingerie is always a great way to wow him. And it will make you two closer, too. Isn’t that what it’s all about? For more advice read, 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife by Arlene Pellicane.

Being More Present in your Relationship

Happy Couple

Being More Present in your Relationship

It’s so hard to completely be there with your partner when there are so many things in today’s world calling for your attention. Most of us feel like we’re being pulled in several directions at once, all day every day.  Text messages are going off, we’re thinking about that big presentation we have to do at work, a child is sick and the cat pukes on the carpet. All of this and your spouse is mad at you for zoning out when they just told you a funny story about their work.  Sure there are lots of things clamoring for your attention. But what is going to sustain you? What gives you more love and joy than your relationship? It really deserves much more than most of us give it on a daily basis. A relationship needs time and energy invested in it to grow and prosper. Otherwise we fall into a rut. So how can we be more present in our relationships? First, stop multitasking. Researchers at Stanford University uncovered recently that multitasking doesn’t work. It just makes you do so many things poorly. Instead, focus on completing one thing at a time. Delegate and prioritize. Find ways to organize yourself and manage your time wisely. That way when it’s couple time you’ll have more time for it and less on your mind so you can stay more focused on that special someone sitting before you.

When it’s time to spend time with your partner, turn off your electronic devices. Unless you are gaming together, no one should be looking at their smart phone or tablet during date night. You should be staring into each other’s eyes instead. Why not relax together? Find a hobby you are both interested in that you can pursue together. Have fun, be lighthearted, get excited about something and go for it. Laughing out loud and enjoying things together are a great way to be present, live in the moment, reduce stress and strengthen your bond. How about a romantic weekend away? You could stay in a B&B in the country, a bungalow by the beach or go camping in a national park. Look for shows, concerts, plays, sporting events or stand-up comedy shows that interest you. Throw them on the calendar and talk about how excited you are getting as it draws near. Why not go to the spa together? Enjoy a couple’s massage. Cook together and really focus on the sensual pleasure of cooking, the sights, smells and tastes. Dance around the house and act silly sometimes. Spend time talking about each other’s day. Eat dinner together and discuss things. Instead of veging out in front of the TV at night, turn it off and talk to each other. Go through old photo albums and talk about the past. Taking time to really be present is one of the greatest joys you can have as a couple. To learn how to become more present read, Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Scheduling Sex Can Stave off Divorce

schedule

Scheduling Sex Can Stave off Divorce

A new British study finds that more and more of the island residents are scheduling sex. Due to busy lives the British are finding a weekend day to pencil in a little nookie. They say that the demands of their job, children and home life often push sex to the back of the line, or take it off the agenda altogether. The report states, “Britons in relationships have sex, on average, six times a month, and many think they are stuck in a rut when it comes to sex, with 17 percent of all respondents admitting to scheduling sex, with routine times and days of the week appointed to ‘keep the spark alive.’” A third of the island’s inhabitants say they aren’t satisfied with their sex lives.  53% said they were satisfied, 32% weren’t and 15% were unsure. Although it sounds at least initially unromantic, experts say that scheduling sex can help increase physical and emotional intimacy and stave off divorce.  Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality in San Francisco Janice Epp, Ph.D. thinks that scheduling sex is the best way for busy couples to maintain intimacy, a human need.

In an interview with The Huffington Post’s 50 blog Epp said, “I frequently see a lot of very young couples who are working 14- and 15-hour days and they’re wondering why they’re not having sex. And the couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are not used to looking at sex as valuable. They’ve had all these years of putting sex behind everything else. You have to be willing to make it a priority.” A surprising 22% of women ages 50 to 59 last year didn’t have sex at all according to a Kinsey Institute report. 20.6% of men reported being in a sexless marriage. But a sexless marriage doesn’t often last. To save your marriage and your sex life, pencil it in says Epp. Instead of looking at it as a romance killer, think of it as something to look forward to, like reservations for a play or an exciting event. Epp says, “Some people say, ‘Sex should be spontaneous!’ to which I say ‘B*ll…You plan other things in your life and you don’t complain about it. You can do the same with sex.” The date should land on a day when you are both relaxed, when you both have a lot of energy. Whether it’s in the morning on Saturday when the kids are at extracurricular activities or Sunday night after a long, relaxing weekend together keep that appointment, but find ways to make it exciting and interesting. Lavish in the idea and think about what new territory or position you’d like to explore.

Sex dates aren’t the only thing couples can do to keep the spark alive, “connecting dates” are also important according to Epp. She went on to explain, “Whether it involves sex or not, it involves connecting on some intimate level. What I want [couples] to do is to have some alone time together without any interruptions. They’re not to talk about work, or children or how the stock market is doing. It can be cuddling, it can be touching, it could be massaging. It could just be holding each other.” This allows couples to relax, reconnect and deepen their relationship. Soon the stresses of the day and domesticity melt away and you and your lover are reveling in time spent loving one another. Once you start reconnecting again on a deeper level, you can expand these out to further develop the marriage. “[Now that the couple has] motivation to carve out that time, I send them on weekend dates. Get away for a weekend once a month if you can.” Having sex dates can really be fun. What’s more it can give you a time to be husband and wife without all the other things that crowd it out. Remember that even if it’s scheduled, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t apply pressure. Instead, relax and have fun. Remember as Epp says, “Sex is perfectly natural but it’s not always naturally perfect.” For more on this topic, pick up a copy of Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch.

Forming a Retirement Plan as a Couple

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You certainly can’t depend on social security as a means for sustaining you throughout your golden years. One of the most important things you can do in your life is saving for retirement. Financial experts state that the best time to start is as early as possible, generally when people start working full time in their twenties. Even if you are farther along, saving for retirement should start right away. One of the biggest issues couples fight about is money, that’s no surprise. So it’s important for you to sit down with your spouse and decide how you will plan for retirement. If you and your spouse have different visions of what retirement is going to look like, how to save for it and how much to put away per paycheck you could have a problem. Having a sit down meeting or more than one with your partner about saving for retirement and forming a plan as a couple is probably one of the most important things you can do to secure your future. What are your plans? Do you want to live a simple life? Take part in some of your hobbies? Travel or indulge is some dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish but never had time for? Write it down and then share it with your partner. Ask what they envision. Do your visions fit? If not, how can they both be accommodated?

Then there are some more practical questions such as when is it best to retire, how much will you need to live comfortably and what compromises will you both need to make to make your retirement dreams come true? Once you have a figure in mind it’s time to get busy figuring out how you are going to reach that goal. What is your income status? Are both of you working? How much will you put away from the paycheck or paychecks each week, two weeks or month depending upon how often you are paid? If one of you isn’t working or you have children certainly those things need to be taken into consideration. Next look at the retirement options available to you such as an IRA, you or your partner’s company’s 401K plan and others and see which one best fits your needs. Commit to a certain amount that is put away and don’t veer off. Have a system put in place that you both like that will help you retire. Keep in mind any financial situations such as if you are planning to have a baby, start a business, put a second mortgage on the house and so on and take that into consideration when doing your calculations. Revisit the issue every five years and see if your plan is on track or if you need to adjust or even revisit it. Saving for retirement, having a plan and putting it into place will ensure that the golden years are the happiest of your life. For more advice on this topic, read The Big Payoff by Sharon Epperson.

A Date on a Budget

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It’s hard to plan dates, especially when you have a tight budget. People always think of wine, lavish candle-lit dinners, a horse drawn carriage ride, or even a weekend away. But a date doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. If you are dating someone who has these champagne tastes and won’t settle for something below this high water mark, maybe it’s best you consider someone who is a little more down to earth and realistic. A date doesn’t have to include any of those things to be wonderful. All you need to do is show attention to detail, make simple things magical, and voila, you have the perfect date. Dating on a budget can be easy. It’s all about how things are portrayed. The simplest acts can mean the most. And the best dates are the ones where the two people can spend time together, comfortably, exploring their interest in one another.

First, make sure you have the right mindset to pull off a great date. Don’t think of it as a cheap date. Think of it as a great date with a low cost. If you are flexible, enthusiastic, and know how to sell your romantic interest on what you are planning, you can pull this off without any snags. Why not cook a romantic meal rather than go out for one? Some people find it romantic to cook together. They make it playful and fun. You could even wear nothing but an apron if you want to spice it up. If your partner always cooks, give them the night off. Let them relax. You could even surprise him or her with a candle lit dinner at home or your apartment.

Pick the right music. Have a little dance together in the living room or kitchen. Afterwards, give them a tour of a local nature preserve, park, the beach, or a great vantage point to see the city scape. Walk around and explore. Stargazing is an inexpensive and very romantic date. Consider the weather. If you play an instrument or sing, why not a serenade? If not you, ask a friend to do it for you. Playing board games together or watching movies is fun. Giving your romantic partner a massage is always good. Why not have some wine or coffee and stay up and tell secrets? Art projects are inexpensive, fun, and expressive. A photo shoot or a photography project, say taking shots of Christmas lights or fall foliage, is enjoyable and creative. There are plenty of ways to have a great date on a budget.