They say it's the most wonderful time of the year- and it's partially true- if your definition of wonderful includes attempting to entertain your kids who are on vacation from school 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids, I relish the opportunity to hang out with them (minus the pressures of doing homework and being on such a regimented schedule) for at least two days. Take my temperature on this all-kids-all-the-time by the third day of vacation and I'll likely resemble that cat lady from The Simpsons, adorned in a raggedy sweater- hair a mess and throwing kids, not cats off my head.
Oh wait, you say, I should look at the holidays as an opportunity to connect with my spouse? I say ok, does quality time with the spouse include arguing with him about how it's his turn to take them to a movie on vacation day number three because I don't think I can handle one more arts and crafts project? You say- no- you need to carve out couples only time so that the bulk of your interaction with your spouse over the holidays is not relegated to arguing about whose turn it is to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks or clean out all that drippy wax from the eight menorahs your kids insisted you light every night, even though one for the family would suffice.
So in the spirit of ensuring that you and your boo make sure to squeeze in some one-on-one quality time, which doesn't involve glue, popsicle sticks or Shrek the Halls, check out these seven ways to connect that will remind you of just how much you adore this person with whom you have created this family of yours.
#The Sex Bucket List. Pick up a copy of “The Sex Bucket List” — This Adult Activity Book has the look, feel and appeal of a coloring book. It is not your typical “Self Help Book!” There are only eight pages of “words” and the rest of the Activity Book is filled with Sextivities for couples to stamp off before they “kick the bucket!” Yes, stamp off! The Sex Bucket List comes with a smiley face stamper, a page to personalize and over 600 Sextivities for couples to partake in for the rest of their lives! The Sextivities within The Sex Bucket List range from “in your bed” to “in an igloo” and from “in your home state” to “in Antarctica” and everything in between keeping with the concept of a “bucket list!”
#2 Make a Love List. Sit down with some paper or at the laptop and start brainstorming what you love about your wonderful husband. Jot it all down. Sherry Richert Belul of SimplyCelebrate.net says think about qualities that are unique to him, things he does for you and special times you've shared together. Think about his quirky jokes or stories. How he always spends time helping the elderly lady next door. The way he makes up songs in the shower. How he saved the day that time in New Mexico. Tell him you love that he always answers the phone with a hearty “Hey there!” That he taught the kids how to ride their bicycles. That he can always make you giggle. Tell him you love his eyes, his intelligence, and his love of puns. Tell him you love how well he treats Champie, the family's four-legged, furry gal. Your Love List can include big things and small things, funny things and sweet things. Your list can have twenty things or two hundred things. Make a Love List and then give your spouse a handmade gift certificate for a dinner out, just the two of you. During or after dinner you can read the list aloud to him and there's no way he won't feel immediately IN LOVE! Check out this free video that tells folks some ways to present the Love List and give them a free download with a ready-made list they can fill out and give to their spous
#3 Meditate together: One of the best ways for a couple to connect and start the new year right, is by committing to meditate together according to Jeff Cannon of SimpleTruth.com. Yes, that's right, by sitting across from each other in silence not only can couples help to reduce stress, lessen the impact of disagreements and minimize the level a small fight can escalate to, it can lead to more Tantric explorations. In all, it seems a relatively calm way to start a year, and it is. But it can set the stage for so much more. Think two people, candles, perhaps even incense and robes. It can really go in almost any direction. But most important, it can start the New Year with a healthy and happy bang.
#4 Take a romantic bath. What better way to ramp up the romance factor with your mate than to plan a nice, long, leisurely romantic bath for the two of you? According to Jacqueline Del Rosario, Ed.D, President and CEO of Recapturing the Vision International, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy marriages and family strengthening, if you have children make arrangements to get the kids out of the house so you can plan to have your romantic bath without the threat of interruption. Hire a babysitter to take the kids out to a movie or cart them “over the river and through the woods” to grandma's. Please remember to clean your bathroom. This should go without saying, but maybe not. Nothing can ruin a romantic mood quicker than ring-around-the tub.
To create a romantic atmosphere, light candles and play soft music in the background. Add essential oils or a scented bubble bath to your running bath water. Lavender oil is especially relaxing. As you relax in the bath together, talk, touch, bathe each other and just enjoy the time you're sharing. Wine can greatly enhance your relaxation quotient–choose something light and refreshing to sip on as you enjoy your romantic bath. Choose large, soft towels for you and your spouse to use after your bath. Pre-heat them in the clothes dryer for a few minutes before your bath for an added touch. Think holistically and show some initiative by changing the sheets on your bed. Nothing feels better after a hot, relaxing bath than cool satin sheets. If you want to follow your romantic bath with an evening of passionate lovemaking satin sheets will help you close the deal. You might even wake up to a Winter Wonderland.
#5 Practice giving. ‘Tis the season, and what better way to show your mate how much you care than to give the gift of giving? According to Del Rosario, Ed.D, a simple four-hour exercise in which you give completely to your partner will help get you back on track. This is such a simple exercise, but it can drastically ramp up the romance factor in your relationship while also giving you a new appreciation for your mate. Really, it's an exercise in submission. Spend a whole day serving your partner. That means that whatever your partner wants, you are ready to do. As you might imagine, the requests can range from the truly mundane to the truly sensual. During the gift-giving season, this exercise will transform the way you think about giving and taking in the relationship. This is the real revelation of this whole exercise. It's amazing how much of the things our partners do for us that we take for granted. We stop saying thank you and instead start thinking that we are automatically entitled to those small acts of consideration that let us knows we are loved. Instead we focus on the big gestures and forget about the million small ones we receive from our partner every day. Voltaire said: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” A little appreciation goes a long way in a marriage. Acknowledge your partner by telling them how much you appreciate everything that they are doing today and every other day of your lives together.
#6 If all else fails GET A BABYSITTER and get away- even if it's just for one night! Romantic gestures from your spouse always made you feel loved and special, and your marriage blossomed with the nurturing. But now neither of you have the time nor the energy. The nose-to-the-grindstone approach works well as you juggle work and home demands, but it shouldn't be employed 24/7/365. Good mental health requires some restorative time as well. In the long term, if you push through your exhaustion with more and more productivity, your marriage and your positive outlook will suffer . . . the children will observe the difficulties, and they, in turn, will suffer as well. Therefore, it is in everyone's best interest to give yourself the periodic downtime that you need. According to Candi Wingate, President Nannies4Hire , hiring a babysitter can provide you and your spouse an opportunity to spend some alone-time together, to enjoy some time free of to-do-lists and time demands.
Maybe the two of you will do nothing, a blissful absence of activity, but merely sitting in the park and silently watching the world go by. You may spend time doing something relaxing that you both enjoy (perhaps an evening at the opera or taking in a game at the stadium). Whatever it takes for you to recharge your batteries and reconnect as husband and wife that is what you can do. Let the babysitter know where you will be and how you can be reached. Ensure that she knows under what circumstances you are (and are not) to be contacted. Give the babysitter an expectation of when she can expect you to return home. Provide the babysitter with emergency medical numbers, food for appropriate snacks, toys or other entertainment that may be planned for the time that she will be with your kids, etc. Once a trustworthy babysitter is hired, and all the pertinent information has been communicated, you and your spouse can begin to recharge your batteries, breathe fresh life into your marriage, and gain a new perspective on the world.