Romance is contagious. So the best way to get your partner to be more romantic is to be more romantic with them first. Here are 10 not-too-arduous ways to do just that.
1. Wax nostalgic. Ninety-eight percent of romance is remembering not to take each other for granted. So tap into long-lost crush feelings by regularly thinking back to those first exhilarating moments that made you fall in love: the first time you met, your first date, your first kiss, your first time naked together, the first time you had teary, face-holding, we-adore-each-other sex. Remember how lucky you thought you'd be if you ended up together for the long haul--especially during those moments when the way they chew is starting to annoy you.
2. Don't overshare. There's a fine line between intimacy and TMI. We're not so prudish as to suggest you should never pee in front of one another, but is it so much to ask that you keep your #2's private? And when it comes to eliminating errant facial and body hairs, it might be a good idea to lock the bathroom door. Ask that your partner do the same for you. Just think of it as quality alone time to pamper yourselves.
3. Go on dates. Someone told us recently that it's pathetically suburban to call it a "date night." We say, save "hip" for your wardrobe and music library and embrace the cheese in your relationship. There's a reason dinner-and-a-movie is a decades-long tradition--it works! Besides, if you don't call it a date night, how is your partner supposed to know that you want them to change out of their old college sweatshirt and act all date-like? Subtle hints don't work; calling it a date night does. If you really can't stand to say those two words, then help clue them in with a new outfit for the occasion--or just ask them to wear a certain outfit that you love.
4. Exchange just-because gifts or treats. Don't wait for the officially designated romantic holidays--anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentine's Day--to give your partner a thoughtful present. Surprising them with something out of the blue shows that they're on your mind, that you don't take them for granted, and that you care all of the other non-holiday days of the year, too. If you're broke, just bring them breakfast in bed with their favorite section of the newspaper on a random Sunday (and yes, "favorite section of the newspaper" may also be a euphemism for "fantastic oral sex"). Remember to reassure them that they didn't somehow forget a major anniversary, otherwise their mind will be racing all day.
5. Engage in random PDA. Not to the point where you elicit pleas to "get a room," but just enough to increase your daily physical contact and prove to the world (or even just your cat) that you're in love. Hold hands whenever possible. Give a peck on the lips here and a hug there. And don't forget the occasional furtive pat on the bum. Studies have shown that even a 20-second hug raises oxytocin levels -- and oxytocin is the Hallmark card of the hormone world.
6. Write love notes. No need to pen long, flowery love letters or corny poetry (though the romantic potential of a sweet and funny love haiku cannot be overestimated). Just write the occasional "thinking of you" email, put a surprise "miss you already" Post-It in his business trip suitcase, or draw a heart around your initials on the steamed bathroom mirror.
7. Brag about your partner in public. We understand the inclination to get together with your girlfriends and bitch about the annoying things your partner does (hey, we all do it). But it's nice to occasionally embrace the positive and speak glowingly about your fella's home improvement skills/parental instincts/bedroom acumen. Sure, you might annoy your friends who don't want to hear about how good you have it, but you'll feel even better about going home to your awesome relationship. Oh, and brag about him to friends when he's listening, too. Whether it's a new promotion or just something witty he said last night, we guarantee he'll swoon.
8. Compliment your partner. Speaking of his self-esteem: We all like to feel needed and desired, but guys especially. So lay the compliments on thick at home, too. Just because it's been established in your relationship that he can cook (and you can't), doesn't mean you can forgo the lavish praises of his famous homemade lasagna. And just because he doesn't spend as long as you do in front of the mirror doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear how attractive you find him -- especially if he's experimenting with a new facial hairstyle.
9. Skydive together. Studies have shown that participating in adrenaline-revving activities together will help keep that spark lit. Bungie-jumping, whitewater rafting, streaking down Main Street in your home town -- there's nothing like near-death experiences to bring a couple closer together.
10. Take a basket-weaving class together. Joint activities don't all have to be thrilling -- studies have also shown that just the novelty is enough to make two people feel closer. If basket-weaving isn't your bag, join forces for a yoga class, a comedy show, a walking tour, a cooking class, cha-cha lessons, a movie script... hell, even just a double-date with the new couple in town (and no, that one wasn't a euphemism).