You might love your partner with all your heart. However, you might also feel concerned that the fizzle is dying. How can you reignite your former spark?
Partnerships don’t magically occur, as much as it may seem that way during the honeymoon stage. If you reflect, you’ll realize all the time and energy you expended during those days to capture your flame’s interest.
It’s natural to calm down after the initial blush but neglecting your loved one can breed resentment that kills your union. Fortunately, you can revitalize your love with these eight tips to bring life back into a stale relationship.
1. Learn Each Other’s Love Language
Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have counted the ways that she loved her husband Robert — but did she ever ask him how he preferred to receive affection? Hopefully, he identified with words of affirmation.
Your partner might speak a love language different from yours — and that’s okay as long as you identify what makes them tick. Otherwise, resentment could build. You might think mending the broken backyard fence is the perfect birthday treat, but your partner could feel deeply hurt and neglected if their love language is physical touch or receiving gifts.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five principal love languages:
- Acts of service: If your partner speaks this love language, you can delight them by tackling a chore they despise or taking care of both dinner and the subsequent dishes when they come home from work exhausted.
- Receiving gifts: If your partner speaks this language, you don’t necessarily need a bankroll. They should be equally delighted with smaller tokens of affection that show you were thinking of them in their absence, like stopping to pick up a roadside bouquet for no particular reason.
- Physical touch: If your partner resonates with this love language, they need your affection. Delight them with lots of spontaneous cuddles and pecks on the cheek.
- Words of affirmation: These folks light up when you validate their feelings and praise them for their talents. They may also need to hear those three little words more often than others, so don’t be stingy about saying, “I love you.”
- Quality time: Can an evening together sharing popcorn while watching the latest Netflix hit qualify as romantic? It can be if quality time if your partner’s love language. Even accompanying them to the grocery store makes them feel more fulfilled.
2. Ask 36 Questions
Remember when you first met your partner? You probably talked for hours because you were so hungry to learn about them as much as possible. Maybe your attraction didn’t fizzle as much as your interest — but your beloved still has plenty to share.
Deepen your love by asking questions that presumably can make you fall in love with anyone by revealing their true inner selves. The inquiries start relatively simple — would you want to be famous? If so, why?
They then dig into deeper questions, delving into regrets, things you wish you could do over and ways you would like to improve the world. They allow you to praise your mate for their greatest accomplishment and better understand the forces shaping them into the person they are today.
You shouldn’t ask all 36 at once like an interview. Why not print out the list and start date night with one or two?
3. Trade Places
Resentment often grows in relationships when one of you feels unappreciated, even invalidated, by the other. However, your partner might not understand what you handle each day — and vice-versa.
You might not be able to take over your partner’s workplace for a day, but you can swap what you do around the house. For example, if they typically tackle the landscaping while you cook and clean, try trading chores one weekend. You’ll open up opportunities to learn from each other and laugh together, both beneficial for your union.
4. Take a Solo Getaway
It might sound ironic to suggest alone time as a way to breathe life back into a stale relationship. However, there’s some truth to the cliche about absence making the heart grow fonder. Sometimes, the hubbub of daily existence makes you forget the many ways your loved one enhances your life every day.
If you have the means, why not plan a solo road trip? Go somewhere or do something you enjoy but they might not — for example, going camping if they aren’t the outdoorsy type. It’s even better if your trek makes you limit contact.
Chances are, you’ll miss your partner by the second day. If you fear you enjoy your alone time too much, get mindful. Ask yourself what you can do solo that you can’t with your partner and address the underlying problem. Perhaps you can come up with a compromise that addresses resentment you didn’t fully know you had.
5. Travel as a Couple
Taking a trip together can also bring life back into a relationship gone stale. Sometimes, it isn’t your partner but the daily grind making your mood low.
If travel is out of the question due to budget constraints, why not plan an escape at home? It doesn’t take too much to put together a DIY spa day, complete with facial treatments and a relaxing couples massage — if you take turns.
6. Adopt a Joint Hobby
Something about the joy of creation can bring you and your partner closer together. Rather than competing like you must in the workplace, you can nurture and admire each other’s skills. You can also make something that enhances your relationship in different ways.
For example, perhaps you’re both the artistic sort, each developing a line of crafts that you can add to an Etsy shop. You can use your earnings to take a much-needed holiday at the end of the year — maybe even that second honeymoon.
7. Do Some Good Together
Volunteering helps you as much as others. How? It prompts your brain to release a flood of feel-good neurochemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin — the so-called “cuddle chemical.”
Working side by side with your beloved to feed needy families in your community or socialize kitties at a shelter fills you with warm emotions. It’s natural for these to transfer to your union.
8. Try Couples Counseling
Finally, there’s no shame in seeking counseling. Millions of people do so every day, even though they don’t have a mental illness. The right professional can help you see issues you might overlook, not out of neglect but due to your closeness to the situation.
Both you and your partner should agree on your choice of therapist. Different counselors have varying styles — please don’t get discouraged if you don’t mesh with your first treatment provider. Many facilities have multiple professionals in one office to help you find the perfect fit.
You and your partner fell in love for a reason. Before you throw up your hands and settle or walk, try these eight tips to bring life back into a stale relationship.