The New Intimacy


11 Keys to Lifelong Romance

Keeping love and romance alive is simple. It just takes paying attention to the well-being of your relationship and having the willingness to be creative and active in the ways you express and receive love.

Here are 11 easy ways to do that...

1. HUMOR: special nicknames, private jokes, laughing with appreciation at one another's clever wit and funny comments.

Jim's the "Towel Thief" and Judith is the "Oat Muffin." We joke about Jim being a "ditz" because his memory is lousy and Judith being "the princess" because she's very sensitive to noise and discomfort of any kind.

2. PLAY: water fights in the pool, wrestling together with the dog, feeding the birds in the park, licking cake batter off the beaters and one another's noses, silly cards and gifts.

We feed the horses and donkey down the road, take moonlit walks in the snow, make bets over almost anything with the payoff usually being ice cream, give little funny gifts with special meaning (dog pencils for Jim who was a dog in another life) teddy bears for Judith (who never got to be a kid when she was little) and walking wind-up hearts for Valentine's Day.

3. AFFECTION: touching one another, kissing just for fun, cuddling while watching TV, saying "I love you because.........(and describing why), getting the other's favorite foods at the market, special time in bed before getting up in the morning.

We often tell each other how much we enjoy living with one another, almost all the time when we're walking we hold hands, kiss in the kitchen while making dinner, hug a lot, and leave special love notes around the house from time-to-time.

4. CURIOSITY: each of us wants to be known and valued for who we really are so having someone we love be curious about us can be a real aphrodisiac.

After almost sixteen years together (fifteen married) we are still curious about one another's childhoods and past life experiences. We ask about differences of opinion re: movies, politics and social issues, other people, etc. We want to understand one another's feelings when hurt, disappointed, upset, and sometimes even joyous.

5. CELEBRATION: making a meaningful and fun event for birthdays and wedding anniversaries, promotions, a new house, new dog, a debt paid off, anything you care about.

We celebrate the day we met as being as important as our wedding day. Rather than exchange gifts for our birthdays and Christmas we take ourselves on a romantic trip around that time (our birthdays are in December too). We still keep a Memory Book with photos and memorabilia that celebrates our life together.

6. RITUALS: anything meaningful that a couple enjoys doing on a regular basis, like special tailgate parties before football games, helping the homeless every holiday season, toasting to one another at dinner each night, adding one more special plant to the garden each spring, etc.

We hold hands on take-off whenever we fly, add Christmas tree ornaments with photos of us to our tree each year, play aunt and uncle to three sets of children in our town and shop together for the gifts we give them for the holidays, and we collect heart shaped things.

7. ADVENTURE: continually and frequently stretching the boundaries of what is known and familiar like travel, cultural events, exploring what they can learn from one another, anything that breaks up their routine.

We travel outside the country at least once a year and inside the country as often as possible. We learn from each other's interests and skills (Judith appreciates nature because of Jim's passion for the mountains and clouds and stars. Jim is an experimental cook because of Judith's comfort in the kitchen, etc.).

8. CONFLICT: responding to the inevitable clash of differences by understanding that change is at hand and that they need to understand one another more deeply. That way their love deepens both between them and in their individual capacity to expand beyond self-centered needs amd desires.

Even after almost sixteen years together we still clash from time to time. We know there's always something for both of us to learn when it happens. And we know that each time we end up feeling closer and more in love -- because we've gone through the dark underbelly into the light once again and we are trustworthy allies through it all.

9. ADMIRATION: frequently voicing praise and respect for specific talents, accomplishments, skills, and personality traits. Paying compliments often. .

We compliment one another's writing, cooking, humor, interpersonal skills, appearance, kissing, you name it. And we do it a lot. Why be stingy with the one you love!?

10. APPRECIATION: saying thank you for almost anything. Making sure to never take one another for granted.

We thank each other for washing the dishes, taking out the trash, going to the recycling center, picking up a gift for a party, and for all the times we really treasure the kindness and/or compassion of the other.

11. RECEIVE: We've all heard it said that it is better to give than receive. Well imagine a world in which everyone is giving and no one is receiving. Does that sound like fun?

So for the first 10 to be as romantic as possible, they must, must be received! Otherwise we teach one another that there's no point in being romantic!

© 2005, The New Intimacy.

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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