"Come on Tammy! Please come out with us," Sera whined. Over the period of two hours, Sera had been trying to convince me to go out to the bars for girls night. She had it all planned out; first we would go to The Bear and meet-up with some friends, then we would head over to the Crazyhorse Saloon and finish the night off at Normal Street Bar. She promised that the evening would be "chill" and that it would be good for me to get out of the house. So I relented and said yes.
It was the weekend after Valentine's Day, in early 2001. My original plan was to spend the evening at home, cuddled up under the covers with a book. At the time, I was finishing up my bachelors degree at California State University Chico. The reading and writing requirements were really heavy, so I didn't go out much anymore. My girlfriends were always complaining that I was more interested in my books, than dating or going out with them. And I have to admit, there was a little bit of truth to that assertion.
Books were safe and dating scared the hell out of me. At the time, I thought getting involved with someone would add way too much complexity to my life. In reality, I didn't want to get my heart broken again.
But I digress, let's get back to the story. By the time we got to the bar I was excited to be with my friends. They sky was clear and the air was cold and crisp; it was the perfect night to hang out at The Bear. The open patio was the best place to talk, drink beer, eat greasy fries, and people watch.
I remember the exact moment I saw Logan. He was standing behind my friend Dave and had on a black cowboy hat, a worn brown leather coat, and had big, bright blue eyes. Dave introduced us and we ended up engrossed in conversation for the rest of the evening. From that night on we've been inseparable. It's hard to believe that was ten years ago.
If you've been in a relationship for a long time, it's easy to start taking your partner for granted. We all fall into daily routines, get busy with work, and other obligations. So don’t take your partner for granted. Instead, try these simple tips to spice up your love life:
1. Make time for a date night.
Set aside one day every week specifically for your partner and go on a date. For instance, Logan and I used to go on weekly dates, but we let the habit fall to the wayside. So from now on, we're going to set aside one evening every week for us.
2. Go on spontaneous trips.
Remember, you don't have to plan everything. Be spontaneous. Go for a walk with your partner and see where you end up. It might lead you to an amazing restaurant or into a deep conversation you didn't expect.
3. Have sex.
Yup, I said it and I’ll say it again. Have sex. Kiss, hug, and show your partner some love. You'll be happier if you do.
For more on this topic read: Which comes first: sex or happiness?
4. Try something new together.
Two words - Bollywood dancing.
Last weekend, Logan and I learned how to dance Bollywood stye, from Prashant. My Jai Ho moves were horrible, but I didn't care. It was a blast being out on the dance floor with Logan!
Trying something new with your partner gives you a chance to learn more about each other and have a whole lot of fun too.
I'm constantly working on the art of listening. I do my best to be fully engaged in conversations, but I've been know to fall off the wagon. For example, this happened last week. I wasn't fully engaged in my conversation with Logan and I ended up asking him the same question three times. My mind was somewhere else and I wasn't fully present.
If you don't listen, it's hard to truly connect. If you're not listening, you won't hear how your partners day went, if they are struggling at work, if they are worried, sad, or happy. Active listening is the key to intimacy.
Over the last ten years, I've learned a lot about myself and Logan. The most important lesson being . . .
Keeping your romance alive is simple, you just have to devote time and energy to your partner. This can be a difficult feat in this very busy and over-scheduled world, but the resulting joy will be well worth the investment.