Before I talk about the Couples Love Decathlon, let me you ask a question. What do spring-cleaning, focus groups, the playoffs, and studying for final exams have in common? Simple answer: If you slack, you lose.
All of these take work to be successful. Each of these four activities involves an intensive process to bring everything together in a certain period in time. People involved in the process pull together their best energy and effort to achieve a goal. The process consists of ideas, values, strategies, and plans put into action. The process is designed to produce optimal results. If you neglect the effort, the result suffers.
Marriage (and other intimate relationships) is an evolving process, not an event. Marriage does not just happen and then continue unchanged. All relationships need attention to remain satisfying and grow. Your attention (or inattention) to your marriage determines how your marriage changes.
Whether our goals are relationship-based, directed to maintain pleasant living conditions, develop solid marketing programs, be on a winning team, or achieve great academic success, we must intensify our efforts on a regular basis, or at least from time to time. If we fail to take ongoing action to support our goals, success will not continue.
Too many couples behave like the love and spark in their relationships will survive forever without action. Shouldn’t you have a goal and take action to grow the love and spark in your marriage?
Oh, I know, there are plenty of excuses (I mean reasons) why couples let their marital relationships slip and slide. The reasons are grouped into two main categories: the family fast-track, and job demands. We end up taking our marriages for granted.
Couples often find sustaining a love connection overwhelming because they are headed in different directions. They may have little money or few resources for babysitters and a date night. Generally, couples may experience disrupted time and distractions due to family or business obligations.
Partners do not dock in the same port very frequently or for very long. There will always be too much happening, so what's a couple to do? Enter the Couples Love Decathlon. You do not need to leave town. Consider completing it over a regular weekend. Select next Friday to begin.
I recommend you complete your Couples Love Decathlon within 48 hours, but adapt the timing to your situation as needed. The idea, however, is to infuse your relationship with an intensive surge of romantic and intimate behavior, which generates renewed spark and energy. When life’s daily routines grind on your relationship, repeat your Couples Love Decathlon.
For the Couples Love Decathlon, I have selected 10 mini-event categories, which can be romantic and intimate expressions of love and caring. Both partners complete one activity in each of the events during the decathlon. The couple decides when the 48 hours will begin and end. The decathlon is simple and doable for everyone. Only desire and effort are necessary. Here are the events and a description of how your Couples Love Decathlon works.
The Couples Love Decathlon
Find a fun recipe online that your partner loves and cook it yourself or as a team. Bake a cake that says, “I love you.” Pick up a special treat for your partner like a candy bar, tofu snacks, or an item from the health food store. Prepare hot cocoa or a special beverage and serve it.
#2 Memory Lane
Scan a favorite couple photo in as your screensaver. Recall a fond story of your earlier years together. Alternate posting fun photos on your bathroom mirror. Play a game of “Do you remember…?” Create a new mini-memory moment.
With a positive and caring attitude, wash your partner's car, pick up the dry cleaning, pick up his socks, or clear up her dishes.
Find what is satisfying to your partner and offer it: a massage, back scratch, hug, holding hands, arm around, a personal pedicure or manicure.
#5 Humor and Fun
Flirt, tease, tell a funny story, share a humorous observation, joke around, be silly, let loose, horse around, games, smile, and laugh.
#6 Dream Out Loud and Share of Yourself
Express your feelings, thoughts, flashes, bright ideas, hopes, and goals.
#7 Appreciate and Notice
Turn your positive inside thoughts outside into positive communication such as, “I really admire the way you…", "I like it when you…", "I always appreciate how you…", "I enjoy watching you…", "I think you are a great partner when you…".
Send a loving text message or voice mail. Leave a thoughtful note in the car. Leave a candy mint in a sock. Create a shaving cream message. Use your imagination to let your partner know you're thinking about your relationship.
#9 Sacrifice and Let Go
Lovingly let your partner have his/her way on something such as dinner choice, movie pick, when to leave, or whether to go – just because.
#10 The Wild Card
Choose to do something that has special meaning to your relationship such as returning to the place that you met, renting your first movie ever together, playing your partner's favorite song, or finding a special book they've been seeking.
Planning Your Love Decathlon
• Make a copy for each partner of the 10 event categories for the Couples Love Decathlon.
• Each partner marks their own list with two event categories that are strengths (S), two that may be difficult (D), and two that are valued most as a recipient (V). Share the choices. These are both touchstones and a wish list.
• Both partners separately will select romantic and intimate behaviors for each event category to be completed during the Couples Love Decathlon. The aforementioned examples may be used, but customized activities are encouraged.
• Partners will meet at the agreed starting time to renew their commitment to participating in all of the event categories during the decathlon.
• Each will agree to use the Event Categories List and check off completed categories.
• The Event Categories List is not for measuring competition, but to record romantic and intimate behaviors completed for later review and discussion.
Participating in Events
• Each partner begins independently to work through his/her list and related activities. It is not necessary to be side-by-side throughout the decathlon.
• Choose an activity in each category that will feel romantic and intimate for your partner, not just for you.
• The events can be structured or not. Take turns, at random, or complete in no particular order. Just be sure to finish everything in time.
• Be careful not to make your chosen events more about money and expense. Spending a lot of money can tend to distort the romantic and intimate experience of the decathlon.
• Huddle and cuddle at the agreed conclusion to review all events in your Couples Love Decathlon.
• Share your feelings about this experience and the impact on your relationship.
• Seal the experience with a kiss or whatever special demonstration of your love connection is stirring inside both partners.
When you have finished your first decathlon in romantic and intimate behavior, plan another one. Each couple that completes the Couples Love Decathlon will have a story to tell about their unique experiences. Many of the decathlon events will spill over and can become spontaneous habits in your daily life.
Repeat your Couples Love Decathlon on a regular basis, as often as needed or desired. Share your story, suggestions, and questions with Dr. Coach Love. I'd love to hear from you.