Whether you and your partner have been together for a long time, or you are just entering a new relationship, we all want and need to maintain an intimate connection. A spark is the feeling of excitement, of anticipation, and of being connected. This comes much easier in a new relationship, but it may seem to diminish with time. With mature relationships comes comfort and knowledge, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose that spark.
I may not be a professional relationship expert, but I know a thing or two about maintaining a long-standing partnership. My husband and I met 14 years ago, and have been married for 4. We have seen and been through it all. Which is why I am sharing our experiences with you today, both the good and the bad. The great news is we are still going strong and are more in love than ever, and this is all due to the following lessons learned.
7 TIPS TO KEEP THE SPARK IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
FIND YOUR PASSION
It is likely you and your partner were drawn together by a shared interest. Whether it is a love of dogs, classical music, or painting, it is something you are both passionate about. For us, we came together over an obsession with food. We both love to cook and/or bake, and once we became a couple, we put most of our time and energy into kindling this passion. It started out with us attending cooking classes, dining out often, planning vacations around food, and hosting dinner parties. Today we continue to build on this passion and it grows with us.
Find your joint passion, and feed it. Locate events near you that include this interest, and attend them together. Make it a point to do an activity including this passion at least once per month, and practice it at home when you cannot make it out. Sign up for interest groups online, and get involved with meet-ups in your community. Fuel this fire often, and enjoy every minute of it.
If you are struggling to find a joint passion, instead take interest in something your partner enjoys. Make it a point to do your research and commit the time and effort to participate in their passion.
Try Something New
Often times, new means exciting. Something that enhances our interests and gives us something to look forward to is always attractive. This is the same feeling you had when you first began your relationship. Getting to know one another means learning something new every day, butterflies in your stomach when you go on a date, and adrenaline when you make a connection. Recreate this feeling by experiencing something new together.
Plan a trip to a far off destination neither of you have visited, where the culture, people, and food is all new. Develop a plan as a couple, and book activities and entertainment that interest you both.
To kindle an intimate connection, try something new and exciting in the bedroom. Watch a naughty movie together; recreate each other’s fantasies, or practice role-play. These may seem silly at first, but trust me they will create excitement.
Participating in volunteer activities is also an excellent way to both experience something new, and help others in need. You will both provide much needed support to a group, and be reminded what it means to do something meaningful as a couple. For example, adopt a foster pet to help animals without a home, volunteer at a local hospital, or participate in a food drive.
My husband and I are both very social and love spending time with other couples. This is another one of our passions, and we happen to have a great group of friends. It took a few years, but we now we consider each other’s friends our own. I am as close to his friends as I am to my own.
Knowing your partner’s closest friends, and embracing them with open arms, is a surefire way to know your partner and cement a strong relationship.
Laugh Every Day
A couple that laughs together, stays together. Most of us take life way too seriously, and easily get caught up in the day-to-day grind. We forget to stop and enjoy the little things, to make light of a serious situation, and generally just enjoy each other.
Anger can be easily diffused with laughter, and it can also help put things in perspective. When the two of you are fighting, or things are getting too serious, stop, take a breath, and make a joke or recall a funny memory. You will be pleasantly surprised of the outcome and may just avoid saying something you don’t mean.
Not only that, but it is scientifically proven that couples who laugh together will have a long lasting relationship. To engage in meaningful laughter with your partner, practice homegrown laughter, such as tickling, and play.
Make Time For One Another
Nowadays, we are all too busy for our own good. Our calendars are so crammed that we barely have time to see our families. We are distracted with handheld technology and over stimulated beyond belief. When this happens, something has to give. Often our impulse is to neglect those closest to us.
Never let life or other priorities get in the way of your relationship, it is far too precious. If you are both stuck in a busy period, schedule date nights, or make a commitment in advance when you will spend quality time together. Agree to put your phones away, turn off the TV, and simply enjoy each other’s company.
If you have children and struggle to get away, use what time you have wisely. Meet for lunch during the work day while the kids are at school, ask your teenage neighbor to stay with the kids for an hour so you can run out for coffee, or put your eldest in charge while the two of you grab dinner.
When Times Get Tough, Grow Stronger
The single greatest piece of relationship advice I have ever received is this – put your partner first, always. This means considering their feelings, needs, wants, and desires above (or at least equal to) your own, and have your partner practice the same. If we aren’t in a selfless relationship, it will never survive.
Despite our best efforts, we all face hardships. Loved ones pass, we lose jobs, we face financial crisis. And all these struggles put strain on our relationships. It is an unfortunate natural instinct to push people away when we need them most. We also take our frustrations and anger out on our partners, since they’re always there. Instead of feeding this negativity, we need to push against it and grow closer to our partner.
This is seriously challenging, I understand. My husband and I faced all of the struggles noted, and them some. We argue, fight and push each other. Every single time, we learn how to get through these tough times, and come out better on the other side. A lot of this is learned with experience, however we can all benefit from focusing on the positive, fight to stick together when we least want to, and know that your love is worth it.
Fall In Love Over and Over Again
Relationships are all about support and partnership. Looks will fade, interests will change, but the reasons we love our partners will not. We have all heard of people falling out of love, but instead we should be focusing on falling back in love.
To do this, you have to practice it daily. This means both showing and speaking your love openly with your better half, and in front of others. Simple gestures like hand holding, hugging, touching, or saying I love you go an extremely long way. It may seem basic, but is easy to forget after you have been together for an extended time.
We also need to remind ourselves what we love most about our partners. This includes both their positive and negative traits, and what makes them unique. When things are going great with the two of you, write down or commit to memory what has been working well. And when you are facing a rough patch, do the same. Taking note of these traits and practices will help you work through them.
This, combined with the other suggestions outlined here, will maintain the spark in your relationship. So go on friends, practice these lessons often, and watch your love grow.
What successes have you found in your relationship, and what suggestions do you have to maintain your spark? Let us know in the comments.
Dawn Karwoski runs the health-centric blog, Our Food Fix, along with her husband Garett. Both obsessed with all things food, they share Paleo & mostly healthy recipes, wellness resources, and planning & efficiency tips. Dawn is a meeting/event planner by day, and blogs in the evenings to satisfy her love of writing, educating others, and connecting with like-minded individuals. She avidly studies nutrition and healthy living, and aims to inspire everyone to live a happier healthier life.