Relationship counsellor, clinical sexologist, and author of Seasons of Sex, Leandie Buys recommends scheduling your intimate evenings with your partner to ensure the romance and ‘spark’ is kept alive…

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Because sex is so intimate, and is a form of communication, it is integral for a fulfilling relationship

All relationships go through cycles, from the excitement of dating, to marriage and the ‘honeymoon’ phase. Once a couple settles down into their relationship, they may find themselves in a rut. Doing the same things day after day, routine after routine. Sometimes they will find that they prioritise work over family, and neglect their partners and the intimacy between them.

Often, the couples who seek counselling with me say that they “feel like two strangers living in the same house.” Rewarding and successful relationships take work, effort and commitment.

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Here are 4 ways to boost the intimacy between you:

1.   Take a trip back in time

If you want to ‘spice things up’, take a step back in time and think about all the ways that you spoilt each other, loved each other and were intimate with each other when you were dating.

Go back to the time when you were still trying to woo each other, and re-enact those days. If you used to bring your partner coffee in bed, try to do that occasionally in the mornings even if it means waking up 20 minutes earlier. If you used to go to a certain restaurant for a ‘special’ meal, book a dinner date with your partner to do that again.

If you used to tell your partner how cute his butt was, remember to tell him again. All the little things add up, and you often don’t notice how important they are until they’re completely missing from your relationship.

Do the small things. It makes a big difference.

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2.   Communicate (I can’t emphasise this enough!)

TALK about problems, TALK about work, TALK about life and TALK about how much you love and appreciate each other.

Communication is the only way you and your partner can support each other through difficult or stressful times, and you can enjoy the good times together.

If your partner doesn’t know you’re stressed about work, they won’t understand why you’re being a ‘bit off’ or irritable. If your partner doesn’t know that farting in front of you turns you off completely, then he won’t understand why you’re not keen to be intimate with him after his ‘joke’.

You’re a team. Act like it. You HAVE to share information to get ahead.

3.   Romance is another key ingredient in successful relationships

Many men don’t understand WHY romance is so important to women, but understanding WHY is not the point. The point is that romance IS important for a lot of women and therefore should be something that their partners put some effort into.

Romance doesn’t just mean chocolates and roses. Romance is about listening to your partner’s needs, and meeting them. Vacuuming the house while she’s at Pilates class might mean more to her than 1 000 boxes of chocolates.

Figure out your partner’s love language, and “romance” them in the way that means the most to them.

The rewards that come with being romantic should be proof enough that romance is important in a relationship.

Some examples of budget-friendly and easy romantic gestures: sweet WhatsApps during the day, or sticky notes in the fridge, on their pillow or in their lunch box, flowers once a month, doing chores around the house without being asked. If you really can’t think of anything romantic to do for each other, why not ask your partner to write down 20 things on 20 slips of paper and put them in a jar. Then you can pick one of the options at random, and do whatever’s on the paper.

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4.   Schedule your sex life

Planning nights of intimacy might sound like it takes the ‘spontaneity’ out of the equation, but if you really think about it, when last did you have time to be spontaneous?! Our lives are usually so busy that planning a night of intimacy is the only way to guarantee it’s going to happen.

Make sure the kids have a baby sitter, book a nice dinner out, plan a sexy outfit, turn your phones on silent, and enjoy the evening together, ‘just the two of you’.

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Leandie Buys is offering online relationship counselling or tele-therapy. Find out more HERE.