1001 Ways to be Romantic Q&A with Greg Godek

Greg Godek, author of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic helps us have a Red Hot Valentine's Day. Here are some highlights from his February 3 Q&A.

GregGodek: I'm the author of a little book called 1001 Ways To Be Romantic and 13 additional books. All my books are practical relationship books. Theory is okay - to a point - but most people really do understand themselves psychologically. They just don't know how to put their knowledge into action. I'm a romantic maniac. I focus my creativity into my relationship - always have. All of my research indicates that the people with the best relationships are those who ACT on their love. In other words, they're romantic.

Long-lasting Romance
TeddyRR: Hot do you keep it hot after a long marriage?
GregGodek: To keep it hot, stay in constant contact in many little ways. A great technique is for married people to continue to "date" one another. The mindset of dating is more romantic than the mindset of marriage. Little things that show you care are great, like a simple call. How about choosing a favorite love song from a CD and having it playing on the stereo when he/she returns home? Take a song and rewrite the lyrics: Include his/her name, and personal references.

chereoh: I've been out of practice for some time now. We've been married almost 25 years and I really like to stay home and curl up in front of the fireplace. What are some suggestions to spice up the romance? I like the "dinner in bed" idea! We spend so much time on school, and my hubby doesn't really have a hobby.

GregGodek: Okay: Married 25 years: Start with a theme of "25." Give 25 balloons. Give 25 cards. Write 25 little love notes and hide them all over the house. Remember the poem, "How do I love thee/let me count the ways?" Well re-write the poem, and count 25 ways that you love him! We could keep a "25 theme" going for a long time. Mozart composed 41 symphonies; you could play the first 25. Find 25 great love songs. Record them on a cassette. Call him every 25 minutes during the day. Have your wedding vows framed. The key to long lasting romance is 1) Action, 2) Creativity. It takes changing the status quo. Start out by being romantic to him. And if that really doesn't work, then you've got to get tough with him.

Balancing Romance and Family
Heart_UV_Love: I want to do something romantic with my husband. I have a gift certificate for a free night in a hotel room with a king-size hot tub. The problem is that we have no babysitter, and money is tight. What else can I do? I want the night to be WOW! I made him a homemade card once that made him cry. It had a picture of our wedding on the front in heart shape with us sharing our first kiss as man and wife. How do I top that? Make another one?
GregGodek: First, about the babysitters: Find 2-3 other couples with kids. Once a week, have all the kids sleep overnight at one couple's house. All the other couples get all night alone. You trade off every week. To touch his heart, find his deepest interests, and do something to act on them.

basketgiver: Greg, how do you keep the fires burning after 20 years of marriage and 3 kids? It is hard when you have a 9-, 13- and 18-year-old watching all the time. We are going to be building a new house and that just creates more tension between us.
GregGodek: It's a matter of priorities. Yes, you have to manage the new house and the kids, but you can't let your relationship slip below, say, 3rd place in your lives. Your kids are a bit older, so they should be able to give you two time at home alone, right? Time alone is not only good, it's necessary for maintaining intimacy.

Getting Him to be Romantic
TeddyRR: I am trying to be more romantic and want to know some little things that can help. I feel the romance needs to be spiced up. I want him to be romantic with me too.
GregGodek: It always helps if you start the romantic ball rolling. If you do something extra-special for your partner, he/she will be more likely to respond in kind. Never, never, never nag about romance. It makes people run the other way. Here are some little things you can do: Write a love letter every day for a week. Attend a lousy movie - on purpose - and sit in the back row and make out! Keep mistletoe hung in your house year-round.
TeddyRR: How do you make him more romantic - without pushing? I try to pass hints, but he doesn't get it.
GregGodek: Hints are too subtle for some people. Some people actually appreciate lists of things they could do to please their partner.

dancetilnite: How do I get my husband to be more romantic? I can even tell him I want sex, and he still doesn't show any interest. It is now our little joke, but I don't think it is funny.
GregGodek: You have to find out what he REALLY, REALLY likes. What really motivates him? And you use that to BARTER with him. In other words: "I'll do this for you, if you'll do that for me." This technique is NOT a romantic process, but it does have a romantic result. It sounds like your husband is satisfied with the status quo, and you're not. The person who is dissatisfied with the way things are has to take the ball and run with it. What would make him happy/smile/excite him/please him? Something sexual? A favorite food? Doing him a favor? For some guys, if you did his chores on Saturday afternoon, he would kiss your feet! For some guys, it's a sexual favor: If you did a certain something, he'd be your slave for a day! For other guys, they'd love a certain gadget. For other guys, it might be a favorite meal. The best romance is the most SPECIFIC. In other words, move beyond 'Generic Romance,' that is, all the expected stuff. For example: Roses, chocolate, dinner, candy, movies and champagne. The more specific to him/her, the better.

Romantic "Accessories"
pickle_mom: Do guys like outfits or toys best or both? I'm trying to surprise my husband with something special for Valentine's Day, but I'm not sure what. We already know where we are going. Now I just need the night plan. Should I get lingerie, toys or both? What's too much?
GregGodek: Lingerie works fine 99% of the time! This is a very individual thing, of course! Men tend to like black and red. Some women prefer white and pink. (This IS a generalization.) Some guys like "frilly": Teddies and stuff. Some guys prefer slinkier: Garter belts and stuff. Suggestion: Sit down with a Playboy magazine and discuss the photos. It's a real eye-opener. No pun intended.

To get your romantic motor humming, check out these ideas from Greg and other iVillage members. Also, share your romance triumphs and trials in one of our message boards.
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