5 tips for year round romance from Chrisanna Northrup

Chrisanna Northrup is co-author of The Normal Bar, the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn how couples can achieve satisfaction in areas such as communication, sex, affection, and financial cooperation.

The Normal Bar by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz and James WitteWhat constitutes “normal” behavior among happy couples? What steps should you take if that “normal” is one you want to strive for? To help answer those questions, wellness entrepreneur Chrisanna Northrup teamed with two of America’s top sociologists, Yale Ph.D. Pepper Schwartz and Harvard Ph.D. James Witte, to design a unique interactive survey that would draw feedback from around the world. The Normal Bar is based on the data they obtained from nearly 100,000 respondents and offers readers an array of prescriptive tools that will help them establish a “new normal.”

For Valentine’s Day, we asked Chrisanna to share her secrets for romance and how to keep the spirit alive even after February 14th.

By Chrisanna Northrup

On a day when it seems every couple in America is booking expensive dinner reservations, long-stem rose deliveries, or creative date nights, it leaves many of us wondering – what exactly is romance, who is searching for it and how do couples keep the spirit of Valentine’s Day alive for the remaining 364 days of the year? Romance is the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. After conducting the most extensive study ever done on relationships, we learned there are three important elements to creating and maintaining a romantic connection between you and your partner.

1. True expression of your love: Be genuine. We often mutter “I love you” in passing or at the end of phone calls, but in order to create a true expression of love, it has to be said with focus and sincerity.

2. A shared emotional desire to connect: Be present emotionally. Your words are not as important as connecting on a deeper emotional and physical level.

3. Elements of mystery or surprise: Be spontaneous! Romance is enhanced by surprise and novelty, especially by discovering or experiencing something new together. When you arrange an experience that your partner knows was difficult or unusual for you, the result is exciting and new, and your partner will be grateful for the effort.

Valentine’s Day should be a celebrated romantic holiday, but romance should not be limited to once a year. In our Normal Bar Study, we found that 64% of the men and 63% of the women want more romance! Here are five tips to help you achieve romance on Valentine’s Day as well as year round.

1. Be sure you know what specific romantic gestures your partner appreciates. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to plan out a romantic moment with the intent to give something they think their partner would like, but it ends up resembling something that they like. For example, let’s say you secretly plan a romantic evening out at nice restaurant. You surprise your partner with this exciting night out and they have a lovely time. But, maybe this is what “you” think is romantic and not your partner.

2. Ask your partner what his/her most romantic memory is in your relationship. One way to become more in touch with what your partner likes in the way of romance is to ask what their most romantic memory is in your relationship. We certainly hope that they have at least one to share. Knowing what stands out in your partner’s mind helps you get a better understanding of what they like. When doing this, it’s always important to share with them your most romantic memory too. We want to be sure they know what you like too!

3. Ask your partner what their most ideal romantic moment would be. Here’s a quick plan B if your partner didn’t have a romantic memory that stood out. Needless to say you can ask what their most ideal romantic moment would be even if they did. This is another way to know exactly what your partner likes and vice versa. This will ensure that you don’t fall into the trap over the years of planning romantic moments that only you consider romantic.

4. Planning a night, weekend, or any length of time vacation is a must. 72% of our respondents in the United States never take a vacation. Kids or no kids, not enough couples are making the time to vacation together. Vacationing together is one of the easiest ways to create romantic moments and memories. If you are not vacationing together at least once a year, you need to start.

5. Surprise! One of the core elements of romance is mystery and surprise. Have some fun and try different small romantic gestures to surprise your partner and see how they react. Examples include writing a short poem and hiding it in a purse or wallet, putting sticky notes all over the mirror in the morning with all the reasons why you love them—get creative and try this throughout the year.

If you need a little help jump starting the romance in your relationship and want to try out some of these tips, challenge your partner to a 14 day romance challenge. As a couple, you have 14 days to create a romantic moment. This is a great way to have some fun and see what your partner comes up with, but be sure to include the 3 core elements and keep our top 5 tips in mind to keep the romance alive.

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