How do you make a boring relationship fun again? How can you get back the spark? The little butterflies that you get when you first begin a relationship are truly magical. After a while of dating, though, it can become a little trickier to keep the romance alive. Being together for a while has its perks, […]
The little butterflies that you get when you first begin a relationship are truly magical. After a while of dating, though, it can become a little trickier to keep the romance alive. Being together for a while has its perks, of course. You develop a deep bond with your partner, and feel comfortable doing and saying pretty much anything around them. But there’s something to be said for the tingly feeling that you feel in the early stages of the relationship.
Long distances, contradicting schedules, or growing resentment are all common reasons couples lose their spark — otherwise known as chemistry or a particularly strong connection. But the truth is that even in the best relationships, romance will dwindle if you’re not working on it.
It takes more than love for your relationship to work. Although love is the foundation of any happy romantic relationship, love is not enough. In order to have a healthy relationship, both parties have to be willing to work on it. Below you’ll find 10 ways to maintain the spark and strengthen your relationship:
The first step in keeping the spark alive is knowing what “the spark” means to you. It’s likely that what makes you feel loved and appreciated is different than what makes your partner feel loved and appreciated, since we all have different love languages. This means we also give and show love in different ways too. Instead of hoping your partner shows you love in the way you want or feeling resentment when they don’t, trust your relationship enough to ask for what you want.
Try to turn it into a game — at the beginning of every week, think of something super specific that you each have to work on for that week. Maybe you want them to plan a surprise date, bring home a small gift one day, or compliment your looks. Maybe they’ll want more alone time with you or more positive feedback on their work. It may only be intended to last for a week, but actions will teach your partner not only what makes you feel loved, but how to make you feel loved. Doing something once or twice, whether it’s planning a date night or complimenting the ~ striking ~ color of your eyes, will turn into habit if they see how happy it makes you when they actually do it.
Don’t forget to use your words to express your feelings. Sometimes people forget all those mushy things they used to say to one another once the relationship matures. Say, “I love you,” often and don’t shy away from words that truly express how you feel.
Physical intimacy is a natural — and healthy — extension of a relationship. Our best sexual intentions are often put to rest, however, as we collapse into an exhausted heap at the end of the day. Instead, you and your partner need to consciously commit to turning up the heat. Put down your phone, turn the laptop off, and just do it! Set the mood with the sensual music, and light some calming aromatherapy candles or incense. Learn to communicate your loving energy through touch.
In addition to sex, that is. Start a list of things you used to do together that brought both of you pleasure. As you move from constantly feeling head over heels back to regular life, you may have let some of those plans fade into the past. Whether it’s meandering through your city to discover hidden gems or cooking elaborate meals together, reintroducing them can make you feel that heady, so-in-love-I-might-actually-die feeling all over again. Don’t just say you’ll do them and forget—aim to do at least once per month so you have a steady stream of dates to look forward to.
Silliness can play a major role in keeping you and your partner feeling the spark. Find activities that take you out of your adult routine and seek them out. Play games at home. Rent rollerblades. Go get ice cream. Introduce each other to your favorite movie as a teenager. Anything that lets you devote a chunk of time to just enjoying each other’s company in a lighthearted way can be effective, and doing the kinds of date activities that you did in high school can remind you of the powerful feeling that having a crush gave you back then.
Whether your relationship normal is to spend every waking moment attached at the hip like Mary Kate and Ashley (circa the early 2000s of course), or you’ve been living miles apart for years, time apart can be a good thing. Even if it is just an hour at a hot yoga class or a weekend brunch with your own set of friends, spending some time away from each other will actually give your partner the space to miss you, and vice versa. Doing your own thing will also give you something new to catch up on and talk about, breaking out of that usual routine.
Create some goals that you can work on together as a couple. It may include a financial goal, such as saving a certain amount of money to go to on a vacation. Or, it could include a fitness goal, such as running a half marathon together. Working toward your goals can help you feel like a team and gives you new things to talk about and do together.
Saying something kind and affectionate to your partner should be a daily habit. The expression of loving thoughts nourishes your relationship by helping you both remember what it is you treasure about each other. Let your partner know how much you appreciate him, and be generous with compliments and expressions of affection.
Laughter may be the best medicine, but it’s also the best kept secret to keeping the spark alive. You know those times where you joke about a fight or an incident like, “Someday we’ll laugh at this?” Why wait until someday? If you’re together for the long haul, there’s nothing you need to take too seriously — when you can, see the humor in your disagreements or uncomfortable moments. Watch something you know will make you both laugh and build up inside jokes as much as you care about building trust.
Partners must learn to balance their needs as individuals with their needs as a couple. On one hand, you don’t want people to be too far apart emotionally. If you don’t spend time together, you become disengaged emotionally. The other end of the spectrum is couples that become too dependent on each other and their individual identity gets lost. Ideally, the two of you should be close enough to have intimacy, yet far enough away to have an individual identity. Don’t be afraid to develop some friendships and interests separate from your partner.
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