Tag Archives: Intimacy

Romance 2.0

I’m feeling whimsical today. Maybe it’s because of the perfectly sunny fall day. Or maybe it’s thanks to that last Tate’s chocolate chip and walnut cookie I just ate. Or maybe the upcoming release of Accidentally Hers has me focusing on romance.

I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. The point is I’ve got romance on the brain today, so I might as well be productive about it.

As a woman who has been in the same relationship for twenty years and counting, I know how it can sometimes feel like there aren’t any surprises left. If there are things I don’t know about my husband, it’s because he’s hiding them, right?

Well, maybe not, actually.34252037_s

When I step back and think of it, we’ve both changed a lot over the years. Sure, we’ve been together for those growth cycles, but I can’t say we’ve always discussed them in detail, or that I know he who really is now as opposed to who he was when we married. Honestly, who has time for philosophical discussions when one is stuck in the middle (of life, of careers, between needy kids and aging parents)?

With so many important matters vying for one’s attention, relationships often get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list, and you talk less and less about non-essential things. But those dreamy, non-essential things are precisely what people spend so much time discovering about in the beginning of any relationship. What if that on-going dialogue is the key to keeping a relationship fresh?

With this idea in mind, I thought it would be fun to make a short list of little things anyone can do to boost his/her real-life romance and renew intimacy:

  1. Daydream together (what if we won the lottery, where would you most love to retire, if you could be granted one wish, who’s your current real-life hero…). You know, just make it fun and see where the conversation leads.
  2. Give your undivided attention to your partner when you ask about his/her day. I mean it! Look him/her in the eye and really listen.
  3. Hold hands while driving/riding in the car.
  4. Make a list of your partner’s best/most admirable traits and surprise them with it.
  5. Ask him/her what you can do to make their day better.
  6. Make his/her favorite dinner on the weekend, when everyone can relax and enjoy it.
  7. Send a sexy text (no, not a “sext” pic) in the middle of the day to set the mood for later that night.
  8. Make a list of relationship goals (be specific, like twice-a-month date nights, one weekend per year road trip, and so on).
  9. Let each person choose a movie (in my house that would be heavy drama for me and anything with Will Ferrell for my husband) and then watch them each together (no complaining allowed…or at least keep the eye-rolling to a minimum).
  10. Role reversal! Basically, walk in the other person’s shoes for a day. Cooking, laundry, yard work, whatever. Get an appreciation for what your partner contributes to making life a little easier in the household and talk about it later.

Hopefully these little efforts will yield big payoffs in the romance department. And don’t be shy. If you’ve got an idea to share with the rest of us, please do so in the comments!

XO-Jamie

Investing in Relationships

The old adage “you get what you give” can be applied to many things, but most especially to relationships. It’s usually pretty easy to identify when you feel like someone has let you down or isn’t giving you enough attention and support. But how often do you step back and ask how you might be neglecting those who are important to you?

People who know me well would likely agree that I’m an initiator. I plan lunches, getaways, parties, and pretty much look for any opportunity to connect with friends and family.

Of course, life happens and sometimes one truly can’t follow-through on a commitment to catch up with a friend. But rarely will I decline a social invitation because of being “too busy.”  Honestly, like all middle-aged women, I am very busy with my family and career.  Yet investing time in friendships is critical to my sanity and happiness. 16848434_s

In the decades since my youth, I’ve noticed how fragmented society has become. Extended families no longer live in the same town and only infrequently get together. Friends move in and out of neighborhoods within a few years, making it difficult to maintain a deep level of connectedness. People (including me) tend to rely on social media and texts instead of phone calls and drop-ins to keep in touch.

I haven’t found the perfect balance, but I know one thing with certainty. I don’t want to wake up five or ten years from now–once my kids are out of college and on their own–only to realize I don’t have any close friends or family members left because I’ve neglected them along the way.

Toward that end, I’m looking forward to spending Memorial Day in Vermont with my husband’s family and then taking a weekend trip to a lake house in the Catskills with some gal pals in early June. I’ve also planned two major family vacations this summer with various members of my own extended family. And while I look forward to the workshops at the National RWA convention in July, I want to also take time to get together socially with some of the writers with whom I’m in constant “virtual” communication throughout the rest of the year.

In addition to those big plans, I’m going to reinstate my weekly lunch dates. I’ve let the winter doldrums and my writing deadlines interfere, but now I’m inspired to get out and rotate through my various friends for lunch dates in the coming weeks.

Am I alone, or have you also let potentially precious moments slip through your fingers because you’re overwhelmed by your to-do list?

xo-Jamie

Identifying Love

How does one identify love? You can’t “see” it. The words can be spoken, but if they aren’t followed through with actions, those words turn as brittle and hollow as a cheap chocolate Easter bunny. Lust and infatuation often masquerade as love, but when the initial burn fades, then what?15896073_s

I suppose the answer may vary depending on the individual needs of each person. One clue, however, may be found in how a person expresses his or her love for others.

What am I talking about?  I’m guessing many people express their love, consciously or subconsciously, in the exact way they would like to be loved.

For example, some people shower a lover with over-the-top gifts and surprises. They enjoy indulging the object of their affection, and seeing that person’s joyful response. I suspect those same people might measure how much they are loved based on whether or not their lover goes to extremes for them, too.  Other people are physically affectionate, offering little hugs, pecks on the nose, and cute pinches on the bottom whenever their loved one brushes past them. Again, I’d bet those same people crave that level of affection in return.

I try to anticipate what the people I love need or want, and then I look for ways to give it to them without them having to ever ask. I don’t always get it right (oh, if only I could read minds), but the fact that I attempt proves that they matter. I’m taking time away from thinking of myself in order to think of them. Taking time away from what I want to do for myself in order to do for them. To me, this is loving, and yes, when someone anticipates my needs or desires without me ever asking, I feel known and loved.

Do you agree or disagree?

xo-jamie

Winter Romance

When the temperatures drop into the single digits, people can get a little cranky.  Wind chills keep us indoors more often than is healthy, and heavy comfort foods tempt us to forget about those New Year’s resolutions about diet and exercise.  Shoveling sidewalks and driveways can wear us down, too.  None of these conditions typically inspire romance, do they?

But we can turn it around, because a lot of romance can be found in a snowstorm!

Get bundled up and go for a walk (or snowshoe hike).  Few things are more beautiful than the sunlight glinting off fresh snow, or the quiet crunch of snow beneath your feet.  And it’s a good way to get your blood pumping, which will lift your spirits.  Then, when you return home, start a fire or fill up the tub and light some candles.  Either way, you’ve set up a very romantic tableau for your and your special someone.

http://www.123rf.com/profile_alexraths

http://www.123rf.com/profile_alexraths

Wintery foods can also be romantic.  How about cheese and chocolate fondue?  Decadent, yummy, and easy to feed each other (all that lip-licking is sure to give you some ideas, too).

Add warm beverages to enhance the mood you’ve incited.  I’ve got a preference for cocoa with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, but mulled cider is also a fine choice.

Top off the evening with a classic romance movie or some good music, and I think you will chase away the mid-winter blahs pretty easily.

What’s one of your favorite ways to create a romantic winter date?

xo-Jamie

Self-Discovery and Love

There’s a reason why the hero and heroine in my debut, In the Cards, each undergo a significant journey of self-discovery before they fall in love.  Why?  Because I don’t believe you can truly love others until you know and love yourself.

But people change, you argue.  True.  Sometimes those changes bring a couple closer, sometimes they push them apart.  In either case, however, one must understand those internal shifts in perspective in order to communicate and connect with others, and to find compatible partners.  How we, as people, approach that inner journey can also make a difference.

December 9, 2014, Montlake Romance

December 9, 2014, Montlake Romance

Consider this snippet between my hero and heroine (Levi and Lindsey):

“So, Lindsey, what brings you to the West Coast? You mentioned leaving a lot of people behind. Why?”

Even if he doesn’t recall rejecting me years ago, I’m not about to admit my fiancé cheated on me.

“I need to make some changes.”

“Obviously.” He raises one brow. “Why?”

“Does it matter?”

Sitting back against a kitchen stool, he folds his arms across his chest again and watches me, waiting. Finally, he speaks.

“Yeah, it matters. You’ll make different changes if you’re searching than you will if you’re running.”

The frame of mind of a person actively seeking self-understanding during quiet times is quite different from that of someone who has come up against a dead end or crisis, especially in the context of a dynamic, living environment like that of an intimate relationship.

For me, self-reflection is something of a reflex, and the image in the mirror is not always pretty.  But at the end of the day, I know myself, my limits, and my needs.  If ever a friendship, familial relationship or marriage does fail, it won’t be because I didn’t understand the one thing within my control…myself!

Do you agree or disagree?

XO-Jamie