SPARKS CAN FLY
On Valentine's Day, new couples may be brimming with anticipation and excitement, but many long-standing couples feign indifference to the holiday of romance. Being comfortable with each other is no excuse for being boring, however. Romantic getaways, intimate homecooked dinners, and extravagant gifts aren't the only ways to show affection. These 10 cheap or free ideas can help keep the love alive.
SHARE A LAUGH
Partners who spend more time laughing together are more satisfied in their relationships, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And using humor to diffuse conflict is a positive step toward resolution. Arguments aside, whether it's a silly joke just between you two or a comedy on Netflix to watch together, laughter leads to closeness.
GO IN FOR A KISS
If you've been kissing the same person for years, it may be getting a little monotonous (or not, if you're lucky). Regardless, shun the low-effort, lazy lip graze and go in for a real smooch each time you kiss. Keep it up after Valentine's Day, too.
SPLIT UP THE CHORES
A common complaint among couples: One partner always seems to be the person who does more of the work around the house. A simple way to fire up the relationship is to share the duties more equitably. This can help reaffirm your commitment to each other and to responsibilities you share, whether child rearing, a home project, pet duty, or taking out the trash. Certain chores can also help burn major calories.
SWEAT IT OUT
Working out can boost a woman's libido, according to a study out of the University of Texas at Austin. Any type of exercise can do the trick, be it running, weights, a competitive game of basketball, or a couple's workout.
MEET UP AT HAPPY HOUR
Spotting each other across a crowded room (a bar or restaurant, say) after work inserts a bit of mystery into the ordinary. Feeling really cheap? Skip the happy hour specials and head home for a cocktail.
TAKE A QUICK GETAWAY
Sometimes getting away is the only way to recharge the romance. Stick with the budget and plan a 24-hour trip. One night in an inexpensive bed and breakfast may be just what it takes to set the sparks flying.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
SHOW YOU CARE
Making your partner a cup of coffee, clearing the dishes, or even putting a sweet note in his or her lunch bag is a touch of thoughtfulness that goes a long way toward keeping the love alive. Focus on the little things you know your partner would appreciate.
HIDE THE TECHNOLOGY
For just one hour in the evening, turn off the phones, hide the laptops, and shut down the TV. It's amazing how disconnecting can help you reconnect. Psychology Today recommends making the dinner table a phone-free zone. Banning electronics from the bedroom can have benefits, too.