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relationship resuscitation
resolutions for renewed romance
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)

Well, it's exactly one month and fifteen days into 2008. Have your New Year's Resolutions already fallen by the wayside? Exactly how many times have you gone running? That many, eh. But, you say, there was that flu epidemic... And then little Jimmy had to... And of course work has been... And post-holiday blues have got me...

The New Year has come and gone and almost everyone has neglected their once-a-year resolution to do something that, to be perfectly honest, is the opposite of what they'd really like to do. I would lay good money that your goal is -- excuse me, WAS -- something akin to losing fifteen pounds, or to cut out red meat or booze, or to stop seeing that guy or girl for 'x' reason or to maybe ease up on reading the internet at work or to adopt a child from a third world country.

Did you do it?


Please, no excuses. Save your breath, I'm not here to judge you.

All I want to do is make you an offer. Open a door. Let a tiny breath of fresh inspiration waft over you like the waffle cone smell outside of an ice cream shop.

February 15th is a pretty insignificant day compared to New Year's Day. It wouldn't even be capitalized if it weren't for the month being a proper noun and all. I think February 15th could be really important, though, given a chance. For instance, like January 1st, it falls immediately after a very important holiday.

Valentine's Day. The reason kittens are born, the reason florists get up in the morning and the reason the names of a couple of Romans -- oddly, one a pagan god and the other a martyred saint -- are still in common parlance. Roses, jewelry, chocolate, champagne, heavy dinner, heavier breathing ... yada yada yada. But after the initial sugar-rush, how do you keep the pitter-pattering of your heart at a steady, happy rate?

I propose we make February 15th the day we make Relationship Resolutions. You don't need new shoes, or specialized equipment or a membership to keep these resolutions. No extra stops in the diet aisle at the grocery store. You don't need anything but YOU. Just try one resolution to start with. Nothing big and scary, like tackling the whole list at one go. Try one, and if it works out, maybe try two. Or just one. I mean, no need to push it, right?

One of the biggest things I've noticed in relationships today is that between busy schedules, too much work and not enough sleep, we end up talking AT each other, not WITH each other. So, a resolution in your relationship could be to Just Listen. Plain and simple. Sometimes, especially for women, a good vent will let off steam. You don't have to fix it, or even reply. Try not to get caught up in solving each thing that comes out of her mouth -- because then you're thinking and not listening. Just listen. Alternatively, women should remember that men like to speak sometimes, too.

When you're done listening, or rather, when they're done talking, a hug is always a pretty nice thing. A Sincere Hug lets them know that not only did you listen, but you care. One a day (or more, if you're up to it!) would not go amiss.

In the morning, when you're both trying to get your coffees made and your briefcases packed and kids off to school -- instead of going on about what your day might hold, listen. In that spiel of rat-a-tat fast talk, maybe she's trying to tell you she's stressed out and can't handle everything. Make a note of one nice thing to do -- and do it. Your husband might be overwhelmed, too many things going on at work with "that big merger and Bob in Accounting" and... Pick up dry cleaning? One less thing to worry about. She needs help with writing thank you cards? You can knock a couple down before dinner. Small things do not go unnoticed.

Speaking of being acknowledged, make sure your significant other knows the things they do are appreciated. Show thanks when they've done something for you, and it's likely to happen more often. No one likes to feel the things they do are insignificant, especially for loved one.

One of the biggest complaints in relationships over a couple of years is that it's so...so...well, it's boring. You've got your schedule, and that's that. Make it feel new again. Plan a date. Plan to have a date once a week. Rent movies and order in. Go on a long walk with coffee in hand. Have sex in the back of a pickup truck under the night sky. Okay, maybe thats a third-date idea, but you get the point. Explore your city. Go on a photo-safari together. A scavenger hunt. Geocaching. Write a sex scene while at a coffee shop. Who cares if neither of you is a writer!

Want to know something a lot of people overlook when they've been together for a while? The simple act of Kissing. Remember when a kiss could leave you breathless, scared, shy, exhilarated, excited and nervous all at the same time? Don't neglect kissing. It's an art form, and is one of the most pleasurable things we human beings get to do. We need to remember not to be so perfunctory about it, and really KISS. I'm not saying have a proper, fifteen minute snog-fest on your way out the door in the morning. When you kiss the one you love, just make sure you are fully present and that you're not offering one as an afterthought.

Be Spontaneous -- even if you are so pedantic you have to schedule a day to be spontaneous. Buy a Valentine's card now, and save it until August. Send flowers for no reason at all. Write a love note on the mirror in lipstick. Make their favourite meal, just because it's a Monday. Wear your 'get some' underwear to bed anytime!

Above all, be sure to schedule some Together Down Time. That's what I call the quiet times when we get caught up discussing what kinds of music we like when we're in whatever mood. Or why our favourite colour as a child inspired us to do something. Or our plans for ten years down the road. The time when you're talking and laughing, but not making plans and rushing around to find a pen. Together down time is my favourite time, it's when we're snuggled on the couch in our comfy clothes and the TV is off and there's nothing to distract us from each other. That is the time when I feel the most loved, like I'm the most wonderful, special woman on earth. Everyone should have that feeling, as often as possible.

Yesterday was The Day for big, splashy gestures of love. Today, let's make a resolution to be more affectionate, always.


Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

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adam kraemer
2.15.08 @ 10:12a

Kittens are born for Valentine's Day? Does God know about this?

No actually, those are all good suggestions. One of the dumbest things anyone can say is "She knows I love her. Why do I have to [insert romantic action here]?"


daniel castro
2.15.08 @ 5:17p

Woah. I'm emailing/linking this to a loooot of people I know.

Personally, I am single (and loving it) so while this doesn't apply to me yet, it seems like all that is the logical kind of stuff to do once you've been with someone for a while.

kathy carr
2.15.08 @ 11:08p

Gee, did Russ read this? We celebrated our 10 year anniversary in December. We are all creatures of habit. It might be nice to surprise him once and a while. What's geocaching? He'd be happy if I let him get a few words out without interrupting when we drive down the highway. I think I spent too much time talking to my girlfriend and crusin' in highschool. She LIKED to be interrupted to keep things lively! What do men really want anyway?

maigen thomas
2.16.08 @ 6:41p

What do men really want anyway?

March 14th is Steak and BJ night. I hear it's their answer to Valentine's Day.


russ carr
2.17.08 @ 5:07p

meh. That date impinges on my pre-St. Patrick's Day conditioning program.

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