We all struggle from time to time with finding excitement in our relationships. We get stuck in the daily grind of going to work, taking care of family, getting dinner on the table, and preparing for the next day to do it all over again. We live for a glimpse of freedom on the weekend only to find we either spend it recovering from the week, rushing through all our unfinished chores, or some combination of both.
We may find our partner is now more like a tag-team partner to pick up the tasks we leave off. Sometimes we want to be reminded that our life partner is more than that, but how? We often hear the suggestion that we have regular dates with our partner. It sounds like a great idea, but many of us get stuck in the carousel of asking each other “What do you want to do?”
Here are some suggestions that can bring that spark back to the relationship and help you look forward to date night again.
Embrace the Throwback
Did the two of you fall in love over the smooth stylings of Phil Collins? Did you pass notes to one another in the hall in middle school? Did you sneak off to make out in your father’s Oldsmobile?
Bring back the old memories that remind you of why you got together (before the mortgages and college funds). Consider creating a playlist of all the songs you used to listen to together. What scent did you or your love just adore when you first met? A trip down memory lane can be just what the love doctor ordered.
Turn It Off and Tune It Out
It seems one of the popular complaints in my therapy office is that electronics get more attention than the relationship. When is the last time you gave your partner your undivided attention?
Instead of staring at the screen, stare at your partner. Try 4 solid minutes of looking into your lover’s eyes without sound or interruption. The concentrated attention may help you bond.
If you can, spend some time together in a quiet place with no distractions. Many couples report a renewed connection and intimacy when they get “off the grid” for 24 hours or more.
Study Your Partner
In my years of practice, I’ve learned the most successful couples are the ones that are constantly learning new things about one another. It could be which new fad they think is revolting or what they daydream about. Many couples giggle when I suggest they learn 5 new things about their partner to report back in the next session. Some couples assume they already know everything there is to learn.
Keeping romance in our relationships requires effort. Yet a happy relationship is one that is constantly growing. Is there something you can learn about your love just by observing them? Don’t be afraid to ask about their memories, fears, favorites, and daily life.
Be curious about their world like you were when you met. Try to learn one new thing about them every day and report your findings. You may find they feel special and important because you took the time to notice them.
Build a Dream
Many of us embark on committed relationships dreaming about the possibilities for the future. We envision building a family together, traveling, or sitting side by side in our rocking chairs as the sun sets on our lives. The challenge comes when we are so wrapped up in living daily life that we forget what we dreamed about.
Many couples find that creating a dream board together sparks some zest for life again. What images would you collect to represent the future you hope for? If you want the rocking chair scenario, find an image of two rocking chairs and add that to your dream board. Many of us find if we make our dreams tangible, we are more likely to attain them. This is an opportunity to create a physical representation of your hopes and wishes for your future together.
Keeping romance in our relationships requires effort. We often spend lots of time and energy when we are in the beginning stages of our relationships. Sometimes we forget we have to continue our efforts to maintain these connections.
Relationships are not meant to be just another aspect of our routines, with all the excitement of taking our car for an oil change. Most of us couple with another person to enjoy life together. If you take the time to maintain the romance in your relationship, you will likely find your effort to be a good investment.
If you and your partner still have trouble connecting after trying these tips, you can find a couples counselor here. A therapist can help the two of you spot emotional issues that you may not notice on your own.
© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Deidre Prewitt, MSMFC, LPC, therapist in Columbus, Ohio
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