“The spark” is a phrase that’s a used one a lot when it comes to romantic relationships. In fact, you might have felt “the spark” in the beginning of your relationship. Hence, the “honeymoon phase.”
However, like every other fire, “the spark” needs to be kept alive. When you think of intimacy, you probably imagine physical attraction and sexual excitement. However, intimacy is much more than that. It encompasses both physical and emotional connection – and it requires a lot of work.
At the beginning of your relationship, you can’t seem to get enough of your partner. You want to see them all the time and they’re constantly on your mind. Romance is natural and intimacy is strong and effortless.
However, as time goes on, life gets in the way. Routine and stress of every day life makes it almost impossible to sustain high levels of intimacy without effort. Kids, careers, errands and bills run our lives it seems.
It takes practice, time and effort to keep the intimacy level high in any relationship. Thanks to TV and movies, many people mistakenly think it should be effortless and happen naturally.
Ask any happy couple with sustained emotional and physical connection, and they’ll tell you it takes consistent effort.
Here’s 5 things to spark you relationship today
1. Do exciting things together
As your relationship develops and life gets in the way, you’re bound for routine. But routines can get boring. Shake things up by making an effort to do really exciting things together. Go climb a mountain, take an exotic vacation, or a special class together or go bungee jumping!
Can’t get away? Don’t have a sitter? Schedule a secret date night by the fire with fun games and your favorite beverage or take out after the kids go to bed.
It will provide a much needed breath of fresh air in your relationship and help you discover new things about each other.
2. Have meaningful conversations
Talk about your relationship, your hopes and dreams for the future and your emotional state. Try as much as possible to be vulnerable and transparent with your partner and let them see the real you.
Lack of communication and bottling up of negative emotions can lead to resentment.
Stay involved in the day-to-day of your partner’s life and explore the things that make your relationships work. This will strengthen your commitment to each other and pay off big time during times of conflict.
3. Be thoughtful
Intimacy isn’t always about grand gestures. It can be little things. Sometimes something as simple as writing your partner a love note or stocking up on their favorite snack can make them feel incredibly loved and appreciated.
Identify their love language and learn how to speak it – fluently.
4. Make time for each other
It can be really hard to focus on one thing in today’s digital world, and sometimes we unconsciously pay more attention to our gadgets than our partner. At least once a week, take a digital detox from all electronic devices and engage in an activity you both enjoy. Play a card game, make a meal together or take a walk. This time gives you the opportunity to enjoy each other and connect on a deeper level.
5. Express gratitude
It’s impossible to feel angry or resentful when you’re feeling grateful. Go ahead, try it!
Every night before bed express gratitude for one thing your partner did during the day – no matter how small or random. This will help them feel loved and appreciated. Make sure to say thank you for all the little things they do like cooking dinner, going to the store, or fixing the leaky faucet.
Life is short. Relationships don’t have to be. Putting time and effort in them helps ensure they won’t be. If you find you and your partner are struggling to connect, find an awesome therapist you like and trust to help restore intimacy and build a relationship your friends envy!
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.