How to Rekindle the Spark in Your Relationship
The honeymoon may be over, but that doesn’t have to mean the end of romance. Go on, break out of your relationship rut, reconnect with your partner, and fire up the passion that brought you together in the first place.
Focus on the positive.
Remember those fabulous qualities you noticed in your partner when you started dating? Time and stress may have brought their less-favorable traits into sharper focus, says psychologist Elizabeth R. Lombardo, PhD. But their good qualities are probably still there.
Fixating on the negatives wouldn't have worked in the beginning and it doesn't work now. "In marriage, it's easy to freeze your partner into a fixed perception. Get out of that," says Sherrie Campbell, PhD. She is a marriage and family therapist in Yorba Linda, Calif.
Make a list of what you fell in love with and another list of good things you've discovered over time. "Publicly brag about those amazing qualities your partner has," Campbell says. "Refrain from making him the brunt of a joke. Embrace his positive qualities and let him know you've fully got his back."
Do something crazy (or new).
One study found that couples who did novel and arousing things together felt better about their relationships than those who stuck with routine, mundane activities.
"It's amazing what getting out of your normal routine and pushing your comfort boundaries will do for your love life," says Sheri Meyers, PsyD. She's the author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.
The trick is to pick something fun and exciting, not just pleasant. Ride a roller coaster. Visit a far-flung destination.
Another option is to get competitive, suggests Rachel DeAlto, a communication and relationship expert in Point Pleasant, N.J.
"When you're physically competing and experiencing new things together, those dopamine levels soar, which replicates those early butterflies and gets you excited," she says. Try one-on-one activities like tennis, racquetball, skiing, hiking, or fishing.
"So many couples hold back kissing, touching, or holding each other until they have time or the desire to have sex," says Meyers. But that's a mistake. Researchers have found that affectionate touch boosts the body's feel-good hormones.
Hug your partner. Hold hands. Be playful with touch.
"Whisper sweet and adoring things into your partner's ear. Brush against him in a sexually seductive way," says Meyers. "Affection is a way to make love all day outside of the bedroom."
Having fun during sex, instead of doing it for obligation's sake, can stoke the fires of your relationship. "Sex is the playground of a marriage," says Campbell. "Fun doesn't have to mean you have to engage in sexual acrobatics; it just means have fun."