If you’ve been together for over five years, you may be like many other couples who spend an entire date night dinner not saying one word to each other. Not talking over dinner may not be a warning sign that your relationship is over; however, it may be a sign that your relationship is tired and needs a spark. Couples who have been together for a long time enjoy the security of each other, which is an important quality, but your relationship also needs energy, enthusiasm, and novelty. Being married doesn’t mean you’re dead or done growing; you continue to flourish and change both personally and professionally. Unless you nurture each other’s continual growth, your marriage can begin feeling boring and tired.
Below are steps you can take that will help you feel part of a dynamic relationship. The first one involves an assessment of where you’re at now, so you are clear about what needs changing.
- Take a personal assessment. Marriage experts recommend you each jot down answers to these 4 questions:
- I feel valued and cared for when you do _____ for me. (list 3 to 5 actions of love your partner does for you)
- One thing you did that made my heart feel the most loved was ____.
- I miss the way you use to do ____ for me. (list no more than 3 items you miss your partner doing for you)
- I would like you to ______. (list something that is important to you, and you believe would re-energize your love)
After you complete this list, share it with your partner. One reason the spark dies in a relationship is because couples quit talking about what they love or want to try with their partner. Hinting is never as powerful as being direct.
- Flirt with each other. The longer you’re with someone, the more you may take them for granted. You become busy with everyday tasks, forgetting your love is alive and needs to be nurtured. Flirting is a way to play together and restore a fun aspect to your tired relationship.
- Exchange love vows each day. Commit to at least one vow a day; for example, telling your partner each day one thing you’re grateful for in them makes a huge difference in how they feel about loving you. Perhaps one of the things your partner listed from their assessment was a weekend away. Fulfill this desire by planning a getaway. Make it special and fun.
- Prioritize physical and emotional intimacy time. Plan time to spend together and focus on affectionate touch and enjoying your partner intimately. Don’t bring relationship issues or household chore conversations into the bedroom.
- Take time to invest in your own interests and play together. Couples who keep the energy in their marriage get just as annoyed with their partner as tired partners do. The difference is couples who keep their spark alive continue to nurture their own interests as well as time spent together. Engaging in fun things together restores the fun in the marriage.
Restoring a spark in your marriage takes time, so don’t be too hard on yourself or your partner. Assess one part of your marriage once a week and making plans to lighten up and have fun together. Try new things and appreciate the fact that you made it to be a long-term couple. You have the strong foundation, adding a spark is just the frosting on the cake.