(FeatureSource) - Spark up your love life with these quick tips from Liya Lev Oertel, author of "52 Romantic Evenings" (Meadowbrook Press).
1.Tell each other, "I love you" first thing in the morning and just before you fall asleep. You may get so used to hearing that as the last words of the day, you might not be able to fall asleep unless you hear them.
2. Leave notes for each other with loving (or sexy) messages. Choose frequently seen places, like the fridge or bathroom mirror, or unexpected places, like the briefcase, wallet, or sock drawer. Update the messages every week. A faded sticky note on the fridge might send the wrong message. Have a secret stash of funny, romantic cards. When your partner travels for work, smuggle an inscribed card into the suitcase.
3. If you have kids, arrange a weekly or monthly evening with a babysitter, grandparent, or friend - same time every time - and go out (or stay in), just the two of you. If only for a few hours, this standing date will be something you can put on your calendar so you can both look forward to it.
4. Make ordinary meals special. Light candles, even if you are sending out for pizza; pour something sparkling into wine glasses; place a flower in a bud vase; turn off the TV and play some romantic music. Those are all simple, inexpensive, and fast touches that will turn any dinner into a romantic occasion.
5. Have some sweet or funny pet names for each other, and use them. Just don't let those pet names become habitual. Be aware of what the names mean and why you use them. For example, don't call each other sweetie pie in the middle of a heated argument.
6. Take walks together and hold hands, even if you are also pushing a stroller.
7. Dust off all the silky little nothings you have accumulated but probably never wear, and wear them.
9. On little strips of paper write romantic things to do that require little or no preparation: dining out in a restaurant, taking a walk, going for a scenic drive, having a picnic, reading poetry to each other, taking a bubble bath, giving each other a massage, dancing in the living room or the backyard, stargazing, and anything else you think is romantic. Place the strips into a bowl, jar, box, or whatever, labeled Romance Helpers. When you feel like doing something romantic but don't know what, just pull out a romantic idea and make a plan of action.
10. Have some daily rituals to bring you together: an hour of watching a favorite program on TV while cuddling on the couch; a daily walk after dinner; eating dinner together every night; and so on. These rituals can involve the kids as well, as with dinner or a walk, for example. You might ask, how is that romantic? Having fun together is romantic, no matter what you might be doing. If you take people who love each other, confine them to a small space, and have them tickle and laugh together, you get closeness, enjoyment, and as an offshoot, romance.