Falling in love is probably the easier part of being in a happy and fulfilling relationship. After the butterflies fly away and one settles into the daily rhythm of life, the perennial question is how to keep your relationship as exciting as it was in the beginning.
It is not uncommon to feel lost when you are trying to rekindle romance with a long-term partner. Do you do things you have always done or do you try something new? What if your partner doesn’t enjoy what you have planned? Trying to reignite the spark you first felt when you met the love of your life should not be difficult, but it often is.
There are many things that couples can do together and individually to bring the spark back in their love life. While you don’t need a special day to celebrate love, Valentine’s Day is just round the corner and could be a good time to reconnect with your significant other.
Doing Things Together
People get caught up with responsibilities as they grow older and as a result sometimes people move apart from each other even though they don’t do it consciously, says Dr. Ketaki Vaidhyanathan, a practicing psychiatrist in New Jersey. She suggests that couples should take out time to do things that is just for them on a regular basis. “It could be having date nights, watching a show together, taking up a hobby that both the partners enjoy, or just taking walks together,” she says.
The idea is to make time for each other. Here are some things that you could do; cook a meal together, plan a picnic, revisit the places you met at when you first got together, call each other even if briefly during the day just to say hello, have a cup of coffee at your favorite cafe after work.
As important as it is to spend time together, experts suggest that keeping an element of curiosity and mystery in your relationship is also necessary. “Which means, in addition to being sure you have enough time and involvement with each other — that that time isn’t stolen — making sure you have enough separateness that you can be an object of curiosity for the other person,” Richard Schwartz, associate professor of psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School and a senior consultant at McLean and Massachusetts General hospitals, was quoted as saying in a piece by The Harvard Gazette.
Spice Up Your Sex Life
Oxytocin, also described as the love hormone, is released during sex and is known to help you bond with your partner. Reinventing your sex life is a good idea if you are feeling bored and stuck with your situation. Trying something new could help you raise excitement in your relationship.
To have a gratifying sex life you need to educate yourself about sex and be aware of your body, suggests Pallavi Barnwal, a sexuality and relationship coach. “Your pleasure is in your hands. You should guide your partner and tell them what you like. Make eye contact with your partner when you talk about sexual pleasure,” says Barnwal.
Dr Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship expert, offers three tips to enhance people’s sex life – focus on the erotic, masturbate for a good sex life, and talk to your partner. In a post on her website, she says, “Interact with your partner the way you did when you were dating, when everything was new, hot, and exciting. Send flirty messages throughout the day. Schedule a sex date night every week and do everything you can to keep that date. Make your sex life a priority and make the time you set aside for sex sacred.”
The way you express love may be very different from your partner. You may like receiving a gift but your partner may prefer sitting with you watching their favorite movie. Sometimes people don’t not recognize the difference between their love language and their partner’s way of expressing love.
Gary Chapman, a New York Times bestselling author, popularized the term “love languages” in his 1992 book, “The Five Languages of Love: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” According to Chapman, there are five kind of love languages; words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service.
Understanding your love language as well your partner’s, could help you in recognizing that love can come in various ways. It would help you be open to accepting love in forms that may not be your style and also in giving love in ways your partner would appreciate. Similarly, your partner could bring you cake instead of flowers if they recognize that your love language is being fed delicious bakery.
“Your love language could be different from your partner but that doesn’t mean yours is better or that your partner’s is better,” says Vaidhyanathan. “If you enjoy open display of affection, or need validation, tell your partner that you know their intention is good but their way of showing it doesn’t show you are important to them. Meet each other mid-way.”
While taking initiatives to have a healthy and happy relationship with your partner is imperative, couples should reach out to an expert if they need help. Don’t shy away from talking to a relationship expert or a sex expert depending on your situation.
Some Relevant Podcasts
- Masala Podcasts
- I Do Podcast
- Small Things Often by The Gottman Institute
Two Useful Quizzes
- The Passionate Love Scale by Elaine Hatfield, from the University of Hawaii and Susan Sprecher, from the Illinois State University.
- 36 Questions for Closeness Generating developed by Arthur Aron, from the State University New York at Stony Brook, Edward Melinat, from the California Graduate School of Family Psychology, Elaine M Aron, from the State University New York at Stony Brook, Robert Darrin Vallone, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Renee J Bator, the Arizona State University.