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Ten Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples: a guest post by Dr. B. Anne Hancock

10 Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples

 

Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. For couples, rich conversation makes their relationship delicious. It’s what builds connection and creates intimacy. For couples who’ve been together for a while keeping conversations fresh and interesting can take some effort.

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If you want to keep your conversations fresh and avoid telling each other the same stories, one effective solution is to try conversation-starters. By asking a few new questions, you’ll learn there’s always more to discover in the person you love.

Here are several ideas for opening a dialogue that reignites curiosity, affection and interaction:

  1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

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Most couples didn’t get to share childhood together, so there’s a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped for conversation. Asking your partner about an early memory means you get to find out what left an imprint and why. You also gain insight into a part of his or her world that helped shape who your significant other is today.

  1. What do you remember most from our early days of dating?

Here’s a question that can take you both back to your budding love — that place where your connection began.

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Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even better, as you listen to your partner recall happy memories, it may surprise you with what’s remembered, not to mention help stir up fresh affection for you both.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories from our wedding day?

Recalling milestones in your relationship is a great way to discuss the happy moments you’ve shared. If you’re married, your wedding day is especially meaningful. Ask your spouse what stands out about that memory and enjoy it from another perspective.

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  1. If you were given the chance to relive one day of your life, what would it be and why?

Maybe your better half would want to revisit a major milestone such as graduation, the birth of a child or your wedding day. Perhaps he or she would like to relive a day with a parent or grandparent who passed away or even an  event from high school or college. You’ll never know until you ask.

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  1. Do you have any dreams you wish you could pursue? Are there ways I could help you try them?

Most adults have abandoned dreams still lurking somewhere inside them. Do you know what dream your partner longs to pursue? It could be something outlandish and surprising and you’ll get to be playful and imagine together. Or, it could be practical, such as taking a class, and you can be the encouraging voice to help your partner get right on it.

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  1. When was the last time you felt appreciated?

People don’t always verbalize their feelings unprompted. By asking your partner about what has encouraged and affirmed him or her, you may be surprised at what you hear. You’ll also learn how you can offer up additional support.

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  1. When was the last time you felt sad?

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Likewise, if your partner lets you in and tells you what’s been hurtful and discouraging, you’ll get a sense of what’s truly important. What prompts tears? What feels significant enough to change a mood? By asking…and listening, you get a chance to learn.

  1. If you could turn back the clock ten years, what would you tell your younger self?

This question offers your significant other a chance to assess and evaluate a decade of life, giving you a window into his or her regrets and wisdom gained. This can also start a conversation about moving forward with new information and insight.

  1. Say you won an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, and you can’t consult me before picking the destination. Where would you go?

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Find out what travel destinations are on your partner’s dream list. Couples who have spent a long time together will often be so used to asking each other about preferences that it’s easy to miss what each one likes. Let your partner know you care about what he or she wants.

  1. If you had to pick three people, who would you say you most admire?

There’s a lot to be said for admiration. The people you highly regard are often the people you imitate — intentionally or not. Ask your partner who he or she looks up to and why. You’ll discover what qualities he or she values.

Hatham, Unsplash

The 10 ideas listed are merely the beginning for prompting meaningful conversations with your partner. Be curious. Ask questions. Invite discussion and keep learning. Continuing to discover each other is what helps your relationship feel alive and exciting year after year.

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Wow! These are such great tips!

Thank you, Anne, for this illuminating article… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Anne Hancock, PsyD, is a prominent relationship therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.

Links

Website:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/

Blog:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/articles/

Professional Background:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/team/anne-hancock/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/banne.hancock

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Anne-Hancock-PsyD/436325916561152

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WellnessCNSLNG

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/annehancockpsyd

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/wellnesscounselingcenter/

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

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Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

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Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/smutreport/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/smutreport/

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is romance a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Dating Connections

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to the company Dating Connections, and see what they have to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Me? You’ve probably asked yourself this once or twice, at least, but the answer is not that simple, is it? It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, a hot fling or even some kind of gothic romance, it always comes to this question – what does romance actually mean to you? In order to help you answer this bewildering and everlasting question, I decided to share some of the crucial things that I believe make romance so unique and wonderful. If you want to know what being romantic really means, stick around and check out my personal “romance guide.”

The Littlest Things Are The Most Important

Those littlest things truly are crucial and that’s exactly why Lily Allen devoted the whole song to them. All joking aside, being spontaneous, charming, and generous without any special cause is how you keep the fire burning in the relationship. Small, warm gestures and displays of affection are the two quickest ways to romance town! A spontaneous massage for your significant other or a cooked meal after a long day will get you far in this romance game.

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These things don’t require much effort, but I bet your partner will know how to appreciate them.

Giving Thoughtful Gifts

What is romance without gift-giving, right? However, simply buying something for your lover won’t actually do the trick. Anyone can save up some money and purchase a shiny piece of jewelry at the local shop, but if you really want to surprise and swoon your “partner in crime”, you should definitely consider giving them those so-called thoughtful gifts. Instead of just buying something fancy from the store, try creating something with your own hands, or at least buy a gift with a special theme. Pay attention to the things your partner loves and surprise him/her with an awesome and thoughtful gift.

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An old school vinyl of their favorite band or a book from their beloved writer are always good choices.

Write Letters

This form of communication is, unfortunately, completely forgotten, at least when it comes to younger generations. However, you can use that to your advantage and revive this lovely tradition of sending love letters to your significant other. Sharing feelings with your partner is extremely important, and writing down your thoughts and sending them to your loved one makes it more romantic. Letters are intimate and more honest than text messages; therefore use that fact to melt your partner’s heart.

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

Short, Thoughtful Notes And Messages

Don’t get me wrong, letters are more romantic than text messages, for sure, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to write letters every day. We live in a busy fast-paced world where no one has time for that. However, anyone can find time for a quick and thoughtful text message or a lovely note. These seemingly little and “less important” things can sometimes mean more to your partner than some grand romantic gesture. Little shows of affection like these on a daily basis are more effective and definitely more romantic.

Always Try To Impress And Seduce Your Loved One

People often think that once they get into a relationship with someone all the playfulness, seducing and flirting has to stop. This is a big mistake. Yes, hooking up with someone is your first and primary goal, but once that goal is completed, you need to keep the fire going or else you risk losing the essential chemistry and passion. Without those two, a relationship simply can’t last very long. Try learning new stuff like playing a guitar, dancing, singing, or cooking and use those new skills to surprise your significant other.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

This kind of effort and hard work is extremely romantic. Of course, you don’t have to be the next Jimmy Page on the guitar or Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, but you’ll still get an A for effort. Your partner will know how much you care!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

There you go, folks. Romance isn’t always about big gestures and epic improvements; it’s about those little, everyday things. Use this guide to master the art of romance and show your loved ones how much you actually care about them.

 

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Dating Connections! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Dating Connections, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you, plus, of course, a few tips we can all use in our romantic lives. Perfect! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Devika Fernando visits us on June 6th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Debbie White

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Debbie White, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

When I was asked if I’d like to participate in Marie’s theme of what romance meant to me, I was hoping I could truly make it work with my schedule. After all, I am a romance writer. As I sat and contemplated with my hands positioned on the keyboard ready to type away, I realized that romance is more about the journey for me than an actual moment or incident. I’ll explain.

Just as in my romance books, the couple doesn’t start off being romantic. They build up to it.  They meet, they talk, they gather information that leads them to their next step in the romantic dance.

Romance, for me, is the same way. We just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. That’s a big deal, especially in today’s throw-away world. It hasn’t always been easy. Oh, heck no. We got married young and so financial worries were always front and center. Back then, romance was probably kissing and well…you know the other stuff young people do. Then we had a family and life got pretty busy. After taking care of babies all day, exhausted and often falling into bed with my clothes on, romance was the last thing on my mind. As the kids got older, we seemed to be even busier if that was possible. Often it was while lying in bed with our eyes shut, resting from the day’s work, that we’d snuggle and talk.

During those years, romance was probably more about celebrating anniversaries with a nice dinner out.

Then we fast forward to our soon to be retired years. We’re empty nesters now and have a few more pennies to our name. We still find time to be romantic – we have more free time, that’s for sure. But for me, romance is about remembering me with a thoughtful gesture or an unexpected bouquet of flowers or taking me out to dinner at the spur of the moment – no special day to celebrate, just celebrating each other. Or when he tries his hand at cooking dinner and even sets the table with candles and flowers, or when he surprises me with a thoughtful gift – just out of the blue. These are the romantic moments that make up our journey and what ultimately romance means to me.

And the two things we’ve done from the very beginning of our life together have been to start the day with a kiss and words of wishes for a great day, and end the day with a kiss and I love you. It’s worked for 42 years and no matter how angry, upset or tired we are, we always make sure we say and do this little ritual. Even at four in the morning when he’s leaving for his long commute to the city, he doesn’t leave the bedroom before kissing me and telling me he loves me. Sometimes my reply is a mumble, but I always let him hear those words from me before he starts his day.

Romance can be different things to different people, but for me, it’s the regular and mutual showing of appreciation and caring every day and not just on special days.

Very true! You made some great points there. Oh, and Happy Anniversary! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by with your heartwarming guest post, Debbie! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Debbie currently lives in northern California where the jagged coast meets rolling hills dotted with vineyards. When she’s not writing the next best-selling romance novel, she’s spending time with her family, traveling, wine tasting and anything to do with the outdoors.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

 

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Debbie, for giving us your take on what romance itself has come to mean to you. Beautiful! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Lashanta Charles visits us on April 27th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Romance