08/15/2013 05:22 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2013

Reduce Stress: Make Time for Romance in 3 Easy Steps

John Gray With Anat Baniel: Tip 20 -- Making Time for Romance for the Busy Parent

In the midst of family responsibilities, which dramatically increase when you have a child with special needs, very often romance flies out the window. And the number one complaint I hear is I have no time for myself. When you have no time for yourself, you obviously feel stressed and it's no wonder that romance gets neglected.

As we mentioned previously, for women, one of the best ways to reduce stress is to increase the levels of oxytocin, and for men, it is to rebuild levels of testosterone in the body. (Read our previous post on how men and women manage stress.) What we need is what I'll call a super-oxytocin producer and a fabulous testosterone builder and that is romance.

And of course, romance is of immeasurable value to help create long-term successful partnerships and a great environment for your child to thrive. Just having special time together where you're not taking care of the children or taking care of business is very, very important to have on your calendar every week.

Now, when I say romance, I know that it's often the farthest thing from your mind when you have a child with special needs. You may be thinking: We don't have time for that. We're busy with all these challenges and problems. But the truth is romance doesn't have to be complicated.

3 Easy Steps for Bringing Romance to Your Relationship

1. For Him: This is for men to listen up. Plan something to do with your partner that she would like to do. Try to plan for it seven days in advance. This way she has at least one thing every week that she's looking forward to, kind of like an oasis where she doesn't have to take care of children, where you're not taking care of children, where you're not taking care of business, where she's not taking care of business. This is a time for the two of you to do something that she would like to, and you are happy to do it because it is what she would like to do. If she's going to dress up, you dress up. You plan it. You make it easy for it to happen.

2. For Her: This is for women to listen up. Your job is to let him know what you'd like to do. Don't expect him to be a mind reader. Telling him what you want will not take away from the romance and will help him be successful, which he needs to be. Don't wait till the last moment and say: "Oh honey, what would you like to do? I got a babysitter..." or something like that. You have to take time in advance to consider what you'd like to do, what will help you relax, what you know makes you happy, so that he has enough time to prepare and give you what you want. And then, you have the whole week to know this is coming.

3. For Both of You: The stakes are huge when you and your spouse feel that your child's future is on the line. This is the time to remember that communication is the key to understanding each other, to respecting each other, and to taking advantage of each other's wisdom and intuition for the benefit of your child. Loving, positive, respectful communication is also the road for staying in love and deepening your connection in the face of the inevitable stress, exhaustion, and remarkable demands.

Remember: communication, communication, communication. Both your child and your relationship will be the winner when you operate as a powerful, loving team. (And you can check out our previous tips to help make this happen.)

WATCH: Making Time for Romance for the Busy Parent

Tip #20 From John Gray

This is the final post in my interview series with John Gray. We hope you found these posts and 20 tips helpful. We'd love to hear from you! And be sure to watch for my upcoming posts on tummy time and other pertinent topics regarding parenting, helping your child grow and learn better, and ways for you to thrive and be healthy.

Join our discussion on Facebook:

For more information on the Anat Baniel Method:

Learn more about John Gray's work: