How To Keep The Spark Alive In Any Relationship, Revealed
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That ever-romanticized honeymoon period remains a vibrant memory in your mind for good reason: it’s the few weeks or months that made you fascinated by your partner.
From the stimulating, witty banter to the initial sexual discoveries that revealed your innate curiosity, offering you the opportunity explore unchartered skin, you were mesmerized by everything she had to offer. And, excited for the relationship you were building.
As time presses forward, though, it’s not that you lose interest in your girlfriend or wife, but more so, the energy required to maintain that same fervor and appreciation becomes a taller order. Especially when you throw in the everyday, normal stressors of life, including work, health and other friendships. Or when your twosome becomes a family, you might de-prioritize the connection you once deemed overwhelmingly fulfilling.
The good news? Even the happiest, most stable and loyal of relationships will ebb and flow. The tough pill to swallow? You’ll still need to roll your sleeves up, bite your ego and build your patience to maintain a love affair that can stand the test of the ages.
Here, psychologists provide their best solutions for recharging your relationship with intrigue and enchantment:
Why Relationships Lose Their Luster
Have a green thumb? If so, you know first-hand how essential it is to pay attention to your crops or your herbs, always having a pulse on their affinity toward the sunlight or their thirst level. Or, if you’re not quite the farmer or gardener, have you ever mapped out a workout schedule? In the beginning of your weight loss or strength-building goals, you probably were gung-ho. But as other activities or interests stole your attention, you probably fell off the bandwagon. The same philosophy can be applied to relationships, especially when you feel yourself pulled in every which direction, except toward your partner who likely, misses your company. This can cause your chemistry to fizzle and your connection to feel lackluster and commonplace, at best. And if you’re supposed to be in love with someone — and sharing your life with them? That’s not exactly the descriptive language you’d choose to use.
“A relationship can be less interesting if one or both members of the couple do not put in enough time, attention, and/or affection which can leave an effect of feeling unimportant, more impersonal, and disconnected from the other,” explains Los Angeles-based psychologist, Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. “In addition, a relationship can be less interesting if it is more routine and lacks some spontaneity and newness. If the relationship stops growing and broadening, the feelings of excitement, romance, and passion can get decreased more and more over time.”
Why That’s Detrimental
Though it’s definitely unreasonable to expect you’ll be pushing one another against walls for hungry, intense sex every single night, or that you’ll even manage to get a date in every other week, when you cease flirting with your partner, other relationship woes will begin to fester. As Thomas says, when your courting becomes boring and stagnant, both parties will feel a growing dissatisfaction with one another.
Don’t worry, though — there are definitely ways to re-establish the spark if both you and your gal are willing to acknowledge the discourse and make a game plan. However, in some cases, Thomas notes the drifting apart could be a signal that fate’s maybe not on your side. “This can happen in a variety of ways which include one or both partners outgrowing the other, getting interested in others emotionally and/or sexually, disconnecting and ultimately at times to the point of falling out of love with one’s partner, and/or living very separate lives,” she warns.
Why It’s Important To Prioritize Your Relationship
After you weed through what feels like an endless pool of swiping right and left, meeting for happy hour drinks and enduring a painful dinner conversation, crossing your fingers the waiter brings your check ASAP, finally discovering a partner you not only can tolerate, but adore, feels like winning the lottery. But even the act of striking gold can become a feat you take for granted. It’s not that you don’t still adore those many qualities that initially attracted you to someone, it’s that you don’t always zero-in on those characteristics, and instead, their downfalls become glaringly obvious. As with anything that becomes expected and routine, the negatives can overshadow the positives of a situation.
That’s why a shift in thinking — and in actions — is step number one. If for no other reason than to foster the good vibes that brought you glued together. “Sometimes, if a relationship isn’t maintained at an interesting level, one or both of the significant others can, in turn, lose interest and even get to the point of being unable or unwilling to continue in the relationship,” Thomas says. “Another reason it is essential to keep a relationship interesting is so that each partner feels engaged and emotionally, physically, and intellectually stimulated so that he or she doesn’t feel the need to seek any of this with anyone else.”
Not sure where to begin to make your relationship more interesting — but know you want to begin, ASAP? Here, tips from relationship experts for carving out time for romancing your partner and igniting your spark, as well as services and products that go the extra mile to assist:
1. Share New Experiences
You might have ‘your song’ and ‘your place’ and ‘your TV show.’ All of those shared hobbies, habits and interests become rituals you equally treasure, but couples therapists Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D., says stepping up to the plate of a new challenge can help regain your trust in one another. And maybe, reveal a novel reaction or feelings you haven’t experienced so far. You don’t have to go overboard with skydiving or spending a ton of money either, Schewitz notes it can be as simple as a reservation on the other side of town. “Try a new restaurant, plan a vacation to somewhere neither of you have been, take a dancing class, go skydiving, do a sip and paint class — anything that breaks you out of your routine,” she explains.
2. Ask Questions & Show Interest
Early into your relationship, you probably were filled with questions about your lady: what makes her tick? What makes her glow with happiness? What fulfills her? What does she hope for in the future? As you got to know her — quickly and lovingly — you might have developed new inquiries. But as months and years pass along, when was the last time you truly dove into exactly what’s going on in her life? Likely, it’s been a while.
Thomas says one of the key ways you can provoke an interesting relationship is to, well, be interested in your partner — and not just for what they bring to your table, but what they bring to all of the tables in their life. “Ask your partner how her day was and how she felt and be genuinely interested and engaged in your responses to what she is saying,” she explains. “Show your interest in your significant other by doing things that mean something to her, such as picking up her dry cleaning or something at the market if you know she doesn’t have time. People who feel their significant others are interested in them and their well-being often feel interested and concerned about their partner’s’ well-being, too.”
3. Reimagine Your Sex Life
You’ve had the old-married-couple bedtime tango before: lights go out, oversized t-shirt is ruffled up, you kiss a little, fall right into the position you know feels great for both of you, thrust it out — and you’re finished. Grand finale? More like, grand easy exit. But, remember when you first felt her orgasm? Or you watched her eyes roll back, in pleasure? If your relationship has become yawn-worthy, chances are high your sex life is teetering on the edge of apathy, too. Schewitz explains the vast importance of connecting intimately with your partner, as a way to release tension, overcome arguments and utilized those post-sex hormones that entice closeness. Consider having a discussion about the positions you want to try, the foreplay you feel is lacking or the ways in which you can better sexually satisfy one another.
4. Schedule – And Go Out For – Date Nights
You’ve heard it before — and you’ll keep hearing it: without evenings that force you out of the home and out of your comfort zone, that lovin’ feeling will be few and far between. That’s why Thomas reiterates the importance of scheduling and maintaining a date night. “Make it a point to keep the romance and passion alive and not taken for granted where it is forgotten and/or becomes a routine. Planning and keeping date nights and being intimate on a weekly basis is very important as a way to reconnect on more emotional and sexual levels,” she says. “Just make sure you are fully present during these experiences, i.e. no looking at cell phones, computers, TV, etc., so that the true attention, focus, and emotion are there during these times.”
5. Surprise Your Partner
And not just on her birthday, an anniversary or when she earns a promotion at work. Schewitz says the value of letting your partner know you were thinking of them, without a reason other than you love them, can speak volumes about your dedication to the love you share. “Even just a sweet — or naughty — unexpected text throughout the day can be enough to fan the flames of excitement. Flowers, jewelry, chocolate, and romantic cards for no reason are always a great way to keep things interesting and keep both you and your partner engaged in the relationship,” she explains.
When words and actions — and your own brain — can’t move mountains in your relationship on their own, it’s time to turn to products and services that can inspire and encourage you. To name a few:
The Tasting Room
For a little way to make date night creative when you’re running low on ideas, consider a subscription to Try the World. How does it work? By cultivating the recipes and expertise of chefs globally, you and your partner discover foreign food items each month. Far less expensive than international airfare, you can taste the flavors of Thailand, France, Italy, Spain and beyond, striking up a conversation and enticing you to head to the kitchen together for a cooking demo… and possibly, then some.
Check out The Tasting Room
Cosmo’s 365 Naughty Nights
Before you roll your eyes at the title and the source, consider the benefit of a game-for-two designed to escalate orgasms and make your lady that much more happy with your performance under the sheets. Not only is this deck stacked with position cards, but it also features fantasy cards and erotic activities, both of which will get both of you thinking, moving, sweating and moaning ASAP.
Check out Cosmo’s 365 Naughty Nights
There are few situations that flowers don’t make better. Unless you’re in a knock-down, drag out fight where it’s important to digest the apology and find solutions to move forward and communicate effectively, the gesture of a bouquet is appreciated. What’s even better is having a monthly delivery to her doorstep, constantly reminding her that she’s at the top of your mind — and your priority list. That’s why a subscription to Bouqs is a must.
Check out The Bouqs
Why I Love You: A Journal of Us
Some people love by hearing and reading, and if your partner needs words of affirmation to feel attached, why not put it on paper? With this journal that’s meant for dual authors (that’s you and your lady), you can make a habit of expressing your feelings, so no one ever forgets how treasured they truly are.
Check out Journal
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