Your Recipe for a Perfect Valentine’s Date: The 3 Key Ingredients for Love and Passion

What do dandruff, taxes, and Valentines have in common?

They are words that can make us cringe. 

Let’s face it. Valentine’s Day often creates more pressure than passion. Whether you welcome this occasion as a reminder to create rituals of connection and design a romantic, sexy night, or you dread another year where no matter what you do your sweetheart ends up hurt and disappointed, February 14th is still coming. 

I’m betting the majority of you long to drop-kick cupid out of your life and wake up in March.

So let’s change that.

In this video, I offer you a recipe for the Perfect Valentine’s Date. The good news is that it is easier than you think. All you need is three ingredients and a sprinkle of imagination.

I challenge you to create a romantic experience based on the Three Keys to Passionintimacy, thrill, and sensuality—that great couples learn to develop over time.

Intimacy: Focus on the romantic not the mundane

Intimacy or marital friendship is the first ingredient for your perfect date. It includes talking about your inner worlds, sharing hopes, dreams, and more.

I want you to have a conversation that is reminiscent of how you talked when you were falling in love. How? Well first, here’s what not to do. Don’t talk about the kids, the leaking roof, or any other daily details of your relationship life. Instead, focus on topics that connect you and reignite a sense of appreciation, gratitude, and hope. 

Okay, that is easy to say, but harder to do. So, let me help. For the couples in my online couples immersion program, every Friday is Date Night. And here is what I teach them.

Keep your conversation focused on the two of you in the present, the past, and the future. Focus on the direct experience of this moment, the touch of your hands, the taste of the chocolate mousse on your tongue, how you feel right here and now. Then talk about some past adventures, romantic experiences, and happy memories such as your first date, honeymoon, or the birth of your child. Next, talk about the future—perhaps plans for post-pandemic travel or a relationship goal or Friday Night Date nights—that you want to commit to for 2021. 

Thrill: Recreate the excitement of falling in love

Think back to an early date with your mate. Do you recall how fascinating they were? My first date with my now husband began with a quick omelet at a diner and ended four hours later after a walk along the ocean and a conversation that left us aching for more. 

Now, here’s the thing. Many years later, my husband is still fascinating. But unless I remind myself to be fascinated with him here and now, familiarity can lead to boredom both in and out of the bedroom. I want to invite you to recreate the excitement, anticipation, and yes, sexual desire that came so easily when you soaked in the biochemistry and novelty of your early relationship—no matter how long it’s been. I call this the mind of thrill. 

How do you create thrill on your perfect date? Choose to do something new and different. I know. I can hear your protests. “Cheryl, how the heck do we create a fun, exciting, romantic date when we are in a pandemic lockdown?” 

By using your imagination. Just like Kent and Susan did. They designed one of the most romantic, erotic, and playful weekends I’ve ever heard about in their own condo during the lockdown.  If you want to get inspired, watch the video, and hear how they brought Thrill back after 32 years together. No excuses. With just a little imagination, heart, and humor, you can make your sweetheart feel like the most important person in the world.

Sensuality: You can’t make chocolate cake without chocolate

I define Sensuality as the entire spectrum of erotic exploration from holding hands to raw wild sexuality and everything in between.

Let me be frank. The Sensuality spice is the single ingredient that, by definition, sets your romantic relationship apart from all the other relationships in your life. You can share Intimacy with friends and family and create Thrill with your skiing buddies or with your college girlfriends on a spa getaway. But you only ever get naked with your sweetheart. 

So, make sure you include sensuality in your perfect Valentine’s date. Yes, I mean plan to make love.  The keyword in that piece of advice is plan. According to sexuality researcher Rosemary Basson, the majority of long-term couples start making love from a place of sexual neutrality. What does that mean? Quite simply, as I wrote about on the Gottman blog, if you’ve been together a long time, it is normal to have very little spontaneous sexual desire.  That’s why it is critical to plan for passion instead of waiting until you are “in the mood.” So, don’t leave the chocolate out of the chocolate cake recipe. Make your erotic life a priority and make sure it is a key ingredient of your Valentine’s date and all your dates this year and beyond.

Want to know right now if you are strong and weak on these three key ingredients? Take the Passion quiz and find out!


Share, show, and speak your love! Take your relationship off of auto-pilot and shift into loving out loud. In this all-new series of exercises, activities, and videos, Drs. John and Julie Gottman can show you how to love your partner even better. Check out Loving Out Loud and upgrade your relationship today.

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