How To: Keep the Romance Alive

"We’re married now” is not an excuse.
Jim and Debbie Ropas have just returned from a shopping trip to Beachwood Place. Not only did Jim happily go along, it was his idea. He even spent two hours online doing advance work and made sure his picks were pulled and waiting when they arrived. Debbie left with two shiny, strapless cocktail dresses and a pair of super-high strappy gold heels.

“Do you have a lot of formal events to go to?” I ask.

“It’s for date night,” Debbie explains. “I love dressing up for Jim.”

Yeah, they’re that kind of couple. Only you’ve never met two people quite this into each other. Jim enjoys brushing Debbie’s hair at night. The love notes she’s been sneaking in his lunch since they married six years ago now fill two albums. He’s covered their bedroom walls with more than 100 pictures he’s taken of her. A giant sign reading “I Love You” hangs over their kitchen table.

Behind the über-sweet gestures, there’s a lot of strategy. Both Jim and Debbie were married once before, and they swore to each other they’d make this work. “I work hard at making Debbie happy,” Jim says.

But even for lovebirds such as Jim and Debbie, passion fades. “Sometimes, it’s easier to stay there than to climb out of it,” she says. “You have to get the motivation back to love each other hard.”

Romance Requirements
1. Be excited to see your spouse. Don’t skimp on greetings or goodbyes.
2. Make a point of getting out of the house to do something fun together. “You get bored otherwise,” Jim says. Interesting settings make for interesting times.
3. Constantly do for each other — without keeping tabs of who’s doing more.
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