By Emma Johnson, MFTC
Feeling like you are in a relationship rut? Does it seem like your partner is no longer interested in you? Are you noticing you are no longer listening to what they are saying? Has talking decreased all together? Do you find yourself doing the same thing on a day-to-day basis? Have you noticed a collaborative lack of effort in your relationship? If you resonate with any of these, it may be time to reignite your relationship.
Five Ways to Reignite your Relationship:
Break the Routine
The lack of affection and appreciation you’re experiencing from your partner may be due to falling into a routine that prioritizes other things. If you find yourself feeling stuck in the relationship and consistently doing the same thing over and over, your partner probably feels the same way. When you become accustomed to a routine, your brain switches to autopilot. One way to take your brain off autopilot and break the routine is to try something new together. The possibilities of doing something new are endless – take a couple’s class, start a hobby, go on vacation, try a new sex position, etc. Furthermore, experience the unknown together. Do something together that neither of you has ever experienced to embed the element of togetherness in the memory. Breaking out of the cycle can reignite a spark of newfound exploration between you and your partner.
Become a Detective
There are always new things to learn about your partner. Instead of asking the same questions that you likely already know the answer to (i.e., how was work, what do you want to watch, where do you want to eat, etc.), explore new areas of conversations. Learning new things about the person you deeply care about will increase a sense of closeness and reignite the passion and intimate interest in one another.
Increase Physical Touch
Physical touch creates a sense of arousal, comfort, desire, and in some cases protectiveness. There is a common misconception that physical touch correlates to sex, and sex only. While sex is an important form of physical touch, it is not the only type that is able to create these physiological and psychological senses. Activities such as holding one’s hand, hugging, touching legs during dinner, and cuddling on the couch can all recreate a spark that has been missing due to physical distance.
Plan for Couple Time
Let’s face it, people’s lives are busy. Oftentimes, the chaos of our schedules contributes to a lack of emphasis placed on the relationship. In turn, this leaves people feeling neglected, as if their partner does not care, and ultimately that they have ended up in a relationship rut. Instead of waiting to the point of despair and recognizing this rut has arrived, actively work on scheduling time to focus on your relationship. Planning weekly or monthly date nights and annual vacations can reignite the desire to prioritize the relationship.
Scheduling a weekly or monthly date-night is crucial to prioritizing a relationship. By having this time marked off on the calendar in advance, it is something you have both committed to in an attempt to preserve regular quality time with one another. Without pre-planning these days together, they can oftentimes become overlooked amid people’s chaotic schedules.
Plan a vacation to a place that interests you both. Removing yourself from the home environment also removes the stressors and pressures of being at home. Instead of worrying about other tasks that need to get done (i.e., laundry, dishes, meal prepping, etc.), this time has been put aside to solely focus on being together and reigniting the relationship’s initial feelings.
When was the last time you spent time with your partner without either one of you checking your phone at some point? If you are like most people in modern-day society, finding the answer to that question is quite challenging. Date nights and vacations may not be in the realm of your financial possibilities which is why prioritizing each other at home is also crucial to reigniting the relationship. Remove electronics from the equation for a night. Instead of watching a TV show or movie together with phones in hands, play a board game, a card game, do a puzzle, re-arrange furniture, cook a meal together, etc. Do something together that requires more engagement than simply watching something on the same screen.