Remember when you and your sweetheart first met? You counted the minutes until you saw him again. You called just to hear her sweet voice. The air was alive with the snap, crackle & pop of sexual energy. You couldn't get enough of each other and you were always on your best behavior. It was easy to be playful.

Then, you settled into a routine and began to share everyday life. Being on best behavior is like holding in your stomach. You can't do it forever. Eventually, the real you, foibles and all, made an appearance. It wasn't and isn't always pretty. Playfulness takes a back seat when he has to duck and take cover during your PMS tirade…or she has to put up with your road rage…or she promises but forgets to pick up your good suit from the cleaners and you have the most important meeting of your life the next morning…or he helps himself to a piece of the cake you made for a coworker's birthday party…or when any one of the bazillion annoying things that can happen does.

What's more, the mind-numbing fatigue that comes with everyday life has a way of squelching playfulness. When you were jacked up on new love hormones, you could shrug off the week from hell, strap on your dancing shoes, and let the good times roll. Now, when what used to be date night arrives, you too often find yourselves on the couch in your sweats, sharing delivery pizza and watching a Netflix DVD. Instead of lounging in bed after Saturday morning sex, you get a head start on weekend errands. It's easy to slip into the rut you said you'd never fall into.

When playfulness disappears it leaves room for negative emotions such as crankiness, irritability and ill humor. That sucks. Playfulness inspires laughter. Laughter reduces stress and triggers feel-good hormones like endorphins. That does not suck. So, here are three ways to bring playfulness back and keep it alive:

Think like a child: Children find joy in play, often in the simplest things: a squirt gun, a Frisbee, a yo-yo, blowing bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a game of Twister, pillow fights, hide 'n seek, a wading pool. Take a hint! It's okay to act like children, even be silly, especially when to do so results is a good laugh or a fit of giggles. The cool thing about being playful adults (as opposed to playful children) is that it's also okay if play takes you straight to the bedroom or, when you pull the cards out, you play strip poker instead of Go Fish.

Put fun on your schedule: Pick an activity (or two…or three) that will be fun for both of you and put it on your calendar as a regular, recurring event. Sign up for dance or cooking lessons, or join a bowling league or a co-ed softball team. It doesn't matter so long as you both find it fun. Surprise your sweetie by scheduling a one-night stand and discover (or rediscover) the joys of hotel sex. Have a black-tie dinner for two and wear nothing but black ties. Use your imagination.

Flirt shamelessly with each other: Flirting is fun, sensual and titillating. Whisper in each other's ear. Wink across a crowded room. Send suggestive text messages. Tuck her hair behind her ear. Adjust his tie. Dance provocatively. Whatever it was that worked in your dating days, just do it again. And, since you've past those early relationship days, you're free to take it to a new level of sensuality and titillation! Toss caution to the wind and just go for it.

Playfulness. We can all use more of that.

Author's Bio: 

Shela Dean is a Relationship Happiness Coach, speaker, and Amazon bestselling author of Frequent Foreplay Miles - Your Ticket to Total Intimacy, available through and other booksellers. Shela's common-sense approach to relationship advice has helped many couples improve emotional intimacy and strengthen marital bonds.