Romance in a relationship is important, not just on Valentine’s Day but everyday, says registered psychotherapist John Taylor.
Taylor, counsellor at Izumi Therapy in Nanaimo, said making time for a partner is probably the healthiest thing couples can do for their relationship and well-being.
“We talk about the importance of eating healthy and exercising but there’s some research that says 15 minutes of working on your relationship a day would do more for your cardiovascular health than an hour of aerobic activity at the gym because you get rid of all the stress hormones that are so bad for you,” Taylor said.
Taylor added that romance is something that people should add everyday to their relationship.
“Add as much as you can,” he said.
Taylor said every positive act couples do for each other in a relationship is romance.
“The difference between a romantic relationship and a friendship is that you realize and recognize your partners vulnerabilities and what they need to fill them up and you kind of go that extra level to meet those,” he said.
According to the online blog, Health Fitness Revolution, romantic relationships can be a ticket to good health.
In a post about the connection between health and romance, the author writes that there are chemical processes in the brain that affect how we feel. When we’re with a significant other, the body releases hormones, like oxytocin and dopamine, that signal feelings of trust, pleasure, and reward.
It states that “In one study, researchers found people’s blood pressure was lower when they were with a romantic partner than when they were interacting with anyone else.”
Taylor said one of the best ways to strengthen an emotional connection with a partner is to be an empathetic listener.
“If your partner gets home and says ‘I can’t believe my boss yelled at me, I was five minutes late for work.’ You don’t say, ‘well of course you were late you didn’t get up.’ You have empathy and say ‘that’s really tough tell me about it,’” he said.
If the emotional stuff is working well, Taylor said other aspects in a relationship become easier. He said it’s important to have both sexual and non-sexual connections but that an emotional component should come first.
Valentine’s Day can be a day for couples to be extra romantic, but Taylor said it can also be a difficult day for couples who have little romance in their relationships.
“The expectation is too unrealistic for the day to fix it,” he said.
“A good relationship means the job is important and the kids are important but we’re important too. The importance of a couple putting [making time for each other] in their schedule and making time everyday is just as important as getting to work on time,” Taylor said.
How to keep the fires burning
The online magazine Psychology Today says creating romantic moments in a relationship is something everyone thinks about, but few people do. They offer 10 “acts of love” to bring romance into a relationship:
1. Bring your partner coffee while he or she is still in bed.
2. Make time at the end of a work day to give each other a 10 second hug and kiss
3. Plan a romantic rendezvous during the week.
4. Whenever you can, take the time to give your partner 100% of your attention when they want to talk to you.
5. Take the time to compliment your partner.
6. Before you leave in the morning tell your partner that you are looking forward to seeing them when you return.
7. Next time you are shopping alone, get a couple of little “surprise gifts” for your partner.
8. If your partner is having a rough day offer to take them out or make dinner for them.
9. Be spontaneous. Plan an unexpected lunch or dinner.
10. Get your partner roses.