I went camping a few Summers ago and made an observation: A fire burns hotter and longer if it’s given a little space for oxygen. In relationships, giving each other the space to be your own person allows each one to have the oxygen to keep the fire of romance alive together. It gives you the space to miss each other and long for each other.
Also, you never have to feel like you are giving up a part of yourself for the sake of the relationship. You need to keep up some of your own interests and personal time to feel truly alive so you can share your best self. Just as important, the wood needs to be close enough together to have fuel for the fire because when they are separated too far apart the fire dies. In a romantic relationship, it’s a balance between just enough time apart and being together fanning the flames of passion. It’s also important to remember that without fanning the flames of romance it WILL die!
(For those who don’t know what Bodacious means it is: Excellent, admirable, audacious in a way considered admirable, impressive and remarkable.)
“Bodacious Romance” has always been a top priority for me! I’m not just talking about the physical aspect of a relationship but I certainly cultivate excellence there also! I’m talking about the entire spectrum of emotional and physical intimacy that one can share with another. Since I have not always had a partner interested in the same level of connection, I went through years of ”famine” in the intimacy department. What’s my point?
I often see and hear about couples who have been together for long enough that they take each other for granted. They let the flame die. They just don’t make the effort to make at least a part of their time for juicy, succulent, bodacious romance! What a tragedy! When you have someone to share your life and your time with, why would you let anything else take precedence over making your partner feel like they are the most important thing in the world to you? As my partner pointed out, “After the bills are paid, life should be about happiness.” Create your happiness together with your partner. I try to have the focus that my partner is first and foremost my valuable lover, then I can prioritize my time and activities to reflect the romance part of the relationship.
Try to involve as many senses as you can while spending romantic time with your partner. Taste, Touch, Sound, Sight, and Smell. Aromatherapy, music, lingerie, candles, chocolate or favorite sweet things, all help to set apart the time you spend together as being special and different than the rest of your day/night.
Much has been said about learning the love language of your partner. In other words, figure out what really makes them feel loved and appreciated, then do that when you really want to connect. It is vital to the survival of romance to connect with your partner at the level that they feel loved, appreciated and connected—ideally that should be daily.
A verbally oriented partner may need to HEAR… “ I appreciate you for doing……” or “I want to compliment you on being……” Or most importantly they may need to hear “I LOVE YOU.” Because the verbally oriented partner focuses on hearing, a way to say” I love you” may be a romantic song, or passionate music playing while you are getting physical.
A physically oriented partner may need to FEEL…. your soft skin against theirs. “Spooning” (laying with your back against their front or vise-versa) is a great way to connect your entire beings together in a physical way. Interestingly, when you press your entire being against your partner’s spine, you are entwining your energy with their entire nervous system. You become one energetic loop. It can be very soothing and calming when your emotions need sedating to simply spoon—or hug. It’s an excellent way to bond. But of course, spooning may lead to” forking” which will obviously increase the energy and amplify the charge between you. For a partner who’s love language is physical interaction, hugs, cuddling, frequent physical intimacy, and simply touch and stroking or a good back scratch will help them feel loved and keep them emotionally happy and connected.
For a partner that is more task oriented, they may need SEE you do something for them, like buy them a meaningful gift. Or try something visual like washing their car in a sexy outfit. They may enjoy you doing a chore or task that they have not been able to get done for themselves. It is often most meaningful to a task oriented partner to do something they could do for themselves as a gesture of “I love you”.
Whatever you do be congruent. Words of “I love you” and actions that contradict will not make any deposits in your love bank. Every loving, act, word, or touch makes a deposit in your “love bank” with your partner. Experts have determined that a negative criticism is much harder to overcome than we might have imagined. It takes 10 positive statements to counteract a negative criticism! Most of us are walking around with a serious deficit in our emotional bank accounts. Each unloving word, act, or neglect of positive touch will make a withdrawal in your “love bank.” Another metaphor I have heard is the each time you say or do something hurtful to your partner, it’s like putting a nail into the fence of your relationship. Even if you take the nail out, with an apology there is a hole left in the fence. With enough holes in the fence you can’t keep the world outside your relationship fence out and the fence collapses ending the relationship.
It’s so much better to think about what you’re are going to say and do before engaging in hurtful exchanges than trying to do damage control afterward. I heard the words “I love you” nearly daily from a former partner, and yet his actions were so aggressive and unloving that the words had far less impact on making me feel loved and appreciated and the relationship failed. My loving partner now stated that “Actions are a far better indicator of actual love than just the words”. Mix it up a little bit sometimes and do something in all 3 love languages so your partner really knows you care!
In a world filled with lonely people looking for partners, and lonely people in relationships who resent their partners, doesn’t it make sense to make the one you’re with a top priority in your life to maintain that romantic relationship?
Bodacious Romance Date Idea:
This is one of the ideas from my compilation of date coupons called “Show Me You Love Me”. I have one geared toward men and one geared toward women. It has nice visual elements as well as tiny gifts, and of course great romance at the end…
Light My Fire!
· Buy about 20 tealights (tiny round candles in a metal or plastic container).
· Whatever candles you buy must be in a container!
· Send your partner away or get home from work before they do.
· Just before they come back, light the candles and put them in a trail to the bedroom.
· Wait for them to follow the lights up to the bedroom where you are waiting to show what a great lover you are!
Alternately you could use rose petals, or pieces of rapped Chocolate like Hershey kisses along with or in place of the candles.
This idea could be improvised to include man tiny notes of appreciation like “ I love ____ about you!” or “You rock my world because you ___.” For the verbally oriented partner.
You could also write little notes of small tasks that you have completed for your partner in a little trail. For the task oriented partner.
Four Rules For Great Romance: (Make it Bodacious!)
1. Tell the Truth–Always
2. Be Faithful—Even In Your Thoughts
3. Only Make Promises You Can Keep
4. Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say!
Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true…
“Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.”–Meša Selimovi?
FAQ: How Can I Make My Romantic Relationship Healthier and Happier?
Answer: When a problem arises in your romance, be willing to be vulnerable enough to truly explore the issue with your partner with the “intent to learn”, instead of the “intent to protect” yourself and your interests.
Happy Relationships… (Excerpt from Page 91 Of Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way Of The Phoenix)
As I healed and decided to engage in healthier relationships, I realized I had a lot to learn. I devoured all the information I could find on happy marriages. Then I took a careful assessment of my own and realized forcefully that I had an unhealthy marital relationship. When I ended the relationship and became single, I took the time to listen to and read a lot of material on healthy relationships and how to get over a divorce. It was very cleansing. I looked at it as a time of rebirth for me.
I thought about what characteristics I liked about myself and what I wanted to accentuate. I thought about what my major objectives were in a marriage relationship.
One of the key principles I discovered in my reading is that some women love too much by giving up their own happiness for their partner’s especially if they have been abused in the past.
Another key principle that really resonates with me is that we are attracted to the people who have some element in their lives or personalities that represents unfinished business in our lives.
We are drawn to the people who will help us resolve our unfinished issues. If the person you bond with is also invested in learning, healing and growing themselves; you are in the best possible place to work out your “stuff.” If you partner with someone who remains stuck in their patterns, you often see the dynamics you found in your home or past relationships repeating itself.
In the final analysis, a relationship is healthy, nurturing and beneficial when both partners are growing together in their individual paths. If the growing stops, or only one partner wants to progress, the relationship will sour and become unhealthy. When this happens, however painful it is, your own growth and happiness depends on your courage to continue growing by ending that relationship. This principle is as true for friendships as it is for marriages.
The best chance for you to get what you want out of your relationship is to know what you want in the first place. Then you must be willing to continually work toward your own growth while learning and exploring the other person’s needs. Ultimately, we are responsible to make sure our own needs are met and not demand that someone else meet them.
Another crucial element in a healthy relationship is your willingness to be vulnerable with each other.
Do you approach the relationship with a need to protect or a willingness to learn about your partner and their needs?
Growth and true emotional and physical intimacy only come when you drop your defenses and interact with your partner with the intent to learn. Regardless of the situation- whether it’s a conflict or exploring their needs and desires; having open, honest discussion of the other’s needs, wants, and feelings will bring bonding. Together you can more fully achieve your desires when you work together from the intent to learn.
Every relationship will have problems to overcome. Without Effective Problem Solving skills, and a willingness to take personal responsibility for your own actions– the relationship will fail. You must be willing to address the problems openly and with the intent to learn.
Establish ground rules for resolving conflict before a problem arises. In the heat of an argument rational thought can often disappear. A valuable tool for resolution is for each person to ask themselves…
“What’s my part in this problem?”
Create Ground Rules For Resolving Conflict
(Excerpt from page 95 of Turning Trials Into Triumphs)
In our family the underlying factors are “This family talks out their problems.” The relationship is more important than the argument, whatever it is, and we have the skills to work it out to a successful conclusion.”
You must be respectful in your tone of voice while telling your side of the argument. This includes the adults speaking to the children.
Each person has a chance to express their feelings, and tell their side of the story. If a person cannot get past the anger to discuss things rationally and logically, they are excused and encouraged to go do something to “get the mad out.”
No one is allowed to ridicule, or insult another person. We stick to the issue at hand and don’t dig up a lot of old history because we deal with things as they come up instead of letting them fester.
If a problem comes up we deal with it immediately. “The schedule” is dropped and an attempt is made to solve the problem then and there. If it doesn’t reach a successful conclusion immediately, we set up a time agreed upon by all members to try it again.
Finally: All need to acknowledge what their part of the problem is, however small it may be.
Application: Examples of some effective openers for conflict resolution are:
What would make this feel better?
What do you need from me to make this situation better?
What do you want from me right now?
What do you see as my part in this problem?
What can I do to heal the wound between us?
If we could work together and get to the best possible outcome for you, what would that look and feel like to you? (Get them to describe their best possible outcome.)
Will you tell me what you need and I’ll see if I can meet any of those needs.
“I’m sorry” cannot be used just to get things over with or to manipulate the other person. If it can’t be sincere, skip it. It is often appropriate even when you don’t own the problem to say, “I’m sorry that you feel that way, I still love you” or “I’m sorry this has happened, I’d like to work this out.”
We end a conflict by some form of physical bonding, a hug, a kiss, a hand massage, foot rub, or back rub. It’s critically important to re-establish the touch connection. Nothing says, “I accept you,” more effectively than appropriate touch.
The two most important words for healing wounded feelings are “I’m sorry,” but only when the tone of voice and intent is sincere.
Being willing to honestly address problems (and take responsibility for your part of the problem) while being vulnerable, paves the way for true intimacy and a healthier, happier, romance.
Remember that apologies heal and don’t hold a grudge after a conflict– let it go and start with a clean slate.
The differences between men and women is the stuff that makes you laugh (or just get frustrated).
This article is a great tongue in cheek look at the differences between men and women. It’s sure to make you smile.
Send me your observations of the biggest difference between men and women as it relates to romance at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You Do Want “Bodacious” Romance Don’t You?
(For those who don’t know what Bodacious means it is: Excellent, admirable, audacious in a way considered admirable, impressive and remarkable.)
Now that’s what I’m talking about! You can find some things you will want to avoid and how to be Bodacious instead below.
These are 3 Deadly Mistakes….
Mistake #1 -Forgetting to give genuine, sincere compliments. If you take your partner for granted instead of noticing the wonderful things about them, big and small, they will more likely be attracted to someone who does make them feel good about themselves.
Bodacious Action: Try everyday for one week to give a sincere compliment or comment of appreciation to your romantic partner. Example- You might try something like: “When you mowed the lawn for me, I felt so happy, because I was exhausted from work today. Thanks.” Or “Baby, when you when you, washed my car for me in those shorts, I felt like the luckiest guy on the block. It was a lot of fun to watch!” Thanks!
* Warning:” See Mistake #2. Do not try this at home”. This is No Bueno!
Mistake #2– Directing uncontrolled anger at your partner. Ongoing anger (or one hellish blow-up) is a surefire way to kill feelings of love and romance. We all have bad days, and times when we are overwhelmed, tired and frustrated. These are the times when we are all vulnerable to behaving in an aggressive way to our partner. If your partner is feeling” all of the above”, don’t move in for the kill with a lot of demands, or criticism.
Bodacious Action #1: Take Time-Outs. When you are feeling angry let your partner know that you are angry and that you want to take a ”time-out” to go cool down and collect your thoughts. If you’re really feeling hotheaded a simple “time-out” (think sports “T” hand signal) can clue your partner that Mt. Vesuvius is about to erupt. Partners must learn to let the other take the time out.
Time outs avoid an incident that could take too much time doing damage control. (This leaves less time for romance right?)
Bodacious Action #2: Get Back In The Game. The rule of this “Time-Out Call” is that you have to engage with each other after the time out. After you cool down, make sure to go back and talk over the situation and circumstances that led up to the angry meltdown. If you don’t address the underlying issues, the river of anger will over-spill the banks again( and may drown those in the way.)
Mistake #3– Not letting your partner have “me time”. If you don’t let your partner have some alone time the relationship may become stifling and your partner may pull away altogether. When we get in a romantic relationship, especially in the beginning, we are more invested in pleasing our partner. (This can be a good thing, but it depends on how far you take it.) It is important to remember that your partner had a life before you met. They still need to do the things that are expressions of who they are as an individual.
Bodacious Action: Slip a note or coupon in your partner’s purse or wallet that says, “Good for 1 full day of “me time”. See you when you get back for some Bodacious “We Time.”
Bodacious Observation: On a camping trip for my “me time” I noticed that to make a nice hot fire, the logs can’t be too close together. You have to give them some space to get the fire really hot.
“Our romantic relationships are like a fire, give each other some space occasionally and the fire will burn hotter and longer.”—Phoenix Alexander
For A Special Report “Creating Bodacious Romance” with more Bodacious Actions you can take see the page on Special Reports.
Send your email to email@example.com and put in the title “Send me your Bodacious Romance Ezine”.
“You can work miracles by having faith in others. To inspire the best in people, choose to think and believe the best about them.”–Bob Moawad
Apply this to your romantic relationship and watch it bloom.–Phoenix
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.