02/14/2012 02:58 EST | Updated 04/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Reigniting Romance

Remember when you were sixteen and you had just gotten your permit to drive? Remember the thrill, the power, the status of that driver's license? Can you recall the concentration you paid to each minute detail of the driving experience?

Let me compare that to the flush of new romance, when we are captivated by the perfection and allure of another person, when every new story, every new meeting is charged with meaning and importance.

Now let's skip ahead to your drive home from work today, when you may well have pulled into your driveway quite unaware of the last few kilometres of your trip, seemingly on 'automatic pilot.' No longer was your vehicle's correct position between the white lines a reason to celebrate, nor was holding your car without backward slippage on a hill a triumph. In fact, driving has probably become a means of moving yourself and your family from point A to point B, nothing more significant, maybe even a chore.

Likewise, that mysterious boy or girl who took your breath away all those years ago has now revealed all his or her annoying foibles and shortcomings. Though you have come to love that person, you no longer count the hours till you see them again. You have become good roommates (hopefully) and friends.

You have made love hundreds of times and know how to get each other off efficiently and effectively. You no longer wonder what you will discover about each other sexually--you know it all. Sex is comfortable, predictable, soothing, and quite possibly infrequent. It has somehow become difficult to close the gap between your opposite sides of the bed; there is now an awkwardness between the two of you. How do you get from zero to sixty without the numbers in between that the romance of old used to fill?

You long for the passion, the romance, the fire of your early days together. You wish you knew how to recapture that magic. Is it possible?

Yes, it is, with some conditions.

Just as you cannot become the nervous new driver again, you cannot recapture the giddiness of limerence. We get only one kick at that can per relationship. However, and this is the good news, we can rejuvenate our excitement about driving even our old-model vehicle by spending an afternoon detailing it, adding new seat covers, and taking it for a road trip in unfamiliar territory. In other words, when we care for what we have -- when we appreciate it fully -- it holds its value.

What this means sexually is that if we abstain from routine sex and replace it with thoughtful, appreciative, exploratory experiences with our mate, we re-ignite interest. If you traditionally make love on Saturday night, make a date instead to set aside Sunday afternoon to do nothing but each other. Create a space in which intimacy can happen.

Begin the previous Monday by telling each other something each day you appreciate about your mate. Institute a 15 second daily kiss (yes, count it in your head) and do it with gusto. Make a point of touching each time you pass. Hold hands. Make eye contact.

By the time Sunday rolls around, you should be feeling some of the same anticipation you felt early on in your dating history. You will likely be looking forward to this special time. Be prepared to tell your lover something sexual you would like to try (maybe something you haven't done before, or something you've not done for a long time), and ask what s/he desires in return. Take your time.

Remember that your expectations will be high. Don't expect perfection. Aim for sharing, fun, closeness. Measure your success by the amount of laughter in the room.

Most importantly, keep this up! Continue with the touching, the kissing, the eye contact, and the appreciations. Daily! Revamp the way you interact so that you are sweethearts again. Becoming and remaining lovers takes time and attention to detail.

This is so very worth your effort. You will be richly rewarded by your vibrant, fulfilling love affair with your mate.