Tips on how to avoid a divorce

Read on for tips on keeping the passion alive in your relationship and avoiding your marriage ending in a stagnant divorce.

How not to get a divorce

Question: How do you get a woman to stop having sex with you? Answer: Marry her. Ouch. Yes, monogamy might be the glue that sticks your relationship together but unfortunately, it can also be the reason that it falls apart.

Life just isn't like the movies - happily ever after with rampant sex on the washing machine, the living room floor and the kitchen counter. Steady relationships go through cycles, passion vacillates, and combined with the pressures of working nine to five, paying the mortgage, keeping the house presentable and 56 TV channels to choose from, it's not rocket science to work out why sex sometimes loses its spark.

Fortunately, sex is like everything in life: what you put into it is what you get out of it. So, if you feel like the flames of your passion have dwindled to embers, ramp up the time you spend on it. Nurture your relationship both in and out of bed and you'll soon put the spark back in. Try some of these simple ideas to get you going again...

How to spice up your marriage...

- Make time for sex

Yes, it sounds contrived - sex is supposed to be about spontaneous unbridled passion isn't it? About being totally overtaken by desire and deciding to have it off right then and there on the bonnet of the car. Spontaneity is good, but so is the anticipation of something that's planned. Make time for an evening in each other's company, the sort of company you used to keep when you were dating. Diarise it, turn off the mobiles, the telly and pour a couple of glasses of wine. To keep lust alive, you need to actively prioritise lovemaking and make time and space for it.

- Resolve conflicts

Resentments, hurt feelings and anger towards your partner can all have a negative effect in the bedroom. Women have a tendency to bury unresolved feelings and to avoid confrontation that might lead to an argument. Resolve to be open and honest with your partner and make a point of talking to him about how you're feeling before it takes a hold on your sex life. Remember: what happens outside the bedroom will impact greatly what happens or doesn't happen in the bedroom.

- Dress for the occasion

Men are turned on by what they see rather than what they hear or how they feel. So indulge his taste for the visual by investing in some sexy outfits that'll really get his pulse racing. Suspenders are a good bet for the nervous novice and seem to go down a treat with most men. Or find out what really turns him on and invest in a couple of fancy dress outfits - nurses, schoolgirls, French maids and air hostesses are popular choices. If you feel a bit nervous about browsing around in a sex shop you could always order what you need online. Try Ann Summers or lovehoney.co.uk.

- Shake it up in the bedroom (or anywhere else you fancy)

Take a long hard look at your sexual routine. Do you always have sex at the same time? Or in the same place? Do things always progress in the same order? Try to break out of your sexual pattern by intentionally doing the opposite of what you usually do. If you usually make love in the evening before you fall asleep, try it in the morning as soon as you wake up. If it usually takes an hour with loads of foreplay, try a quickie on the stairs. And vice versa. You get the idea...

- Introduce more privacy

Being less intimate with each other may not work for everyone but it could work for you. When he's in the bath clipping his toenails and you're on the loo, you might find it difficult to see him as the virile sex-god you used to. Try introducing more personal privacy into your relationship so that seeing each other naked happens in a sexual context more often than it does in ordinary day-to day situations. You could even go as far as dressing and undressing alone.

- Reminisce about the past

Many couples remember the early days of their relationship with affection and also regret - the sex is always more exciting at the beginning. Sex therapists often encourage couples to remember what sex was like when they first met to find out what it was about it that made it so special. Recreate the thrill of having sex in the room next door to your parents by doing it somewhere where you may get caught. Try getting raunchy in the back row of the cinema. Or spend a whole long evening leading up to the act itself. Aah, the good old days...