4 Simple Tips to Bring Back the Spark in Your Relationship
We hear from couples on a daily basis who question if the “spark” is dead in their relationship or just simmering and waiting to be reignited. Couples often use words like “spark” or “romance” to describe what they are missing. We hear heartfelt pleas for romance to return to the relationship and we hear beautiful stories of when it was alive and well! Part of the problem is that romance can be so CONFUSING! It’s no wonder that couples struggle with prioritizing it.
What is romance anyway? Some key words found to describe this elusive concept through a quick Google search are “a medieval tale”, “adventure”, “mystery”, “excitement”, “chivalric love” and “supernatural”. Well, that clears things up! Romance is supernatural! As in magical and superhuman! No wonder we mere mortals struggle with it so much! Whew! Anyone else feel relieved? Let Elevating Relationships help!
We understand that the commercialized version of things like Valentine’s Day in February amps up the pressure to perform and be superhuman! So does special dates like anniversaries, birthdays, and other sentimental days shared by the couple. We want to share 4 simple yet sexy tips that you can begin incorporating today to supercharge the romance quota in your life!
- Be a hero for your partner: Medieval knights with heroic qualities and adored princesses might be what movies are made of but you don’t need to be a knight or a princess in medieval days to heat things up. A simple, modern-day hero will work. How? Be a hero for your partner. A hero is someone who is admired for their outstanding character and achievements. So, what qualities are you displaying on a daily basis? Are you being kind, compassionate, a good listener, a helper, gentle, thoughtful, etc.? These qualities go a long way in increasing the romance in the relationship. Also, what are you doing with the sole purpose of pleasing your partner? Are you willing to scrub a tub, make a glass of water for your love, or bring home flowers “just because”? Or, perhaps get a babysitter and plan a date? Being intentional in being a hero for your wife or husband (or girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancé, etc.) is really about how you interact every day. So, think about something simple that your partner really enjoys and do it. You probably don’t have to look very hard to figure something out. Think about a recent request for help, a honey do list, or something your partner has profusely thanked you for in the past. And, do more of that! Then, sprinkle your every day actions with a little kindness and compassion and like magic, romance will begin to bloom! After all, one of our very favorite Gottman quotes that we share with clients is “every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay”. Dr. John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman are lead researchers in love and romance and all things related to making a relationship work. Ask yourself right now what your sexy time quota would be if solely measured by your daily interactions with your partner. If your positive interactions are outweighed by negative interactions, it’s time to take a closer look and update that story!
- Be adventurous, mysterious and exciting: There is a bit of science connected to love and romance. Excitement, mystery and adventure can release a lovely cocktail of hormones that invite euphoria and feelings of love. There is biological relevance to healthy relationships, and we are naturally designed to attract and develop deep and secure attachments! Our central nervous system is triggered to release this sexy combination of dopamine, phenylethylamine, and norepinephrine when couples try something new and exciting together (think about those early days of dating when everything was glorious and sexy). Got the message yet? TRY SOMETHING NEW TOGETHER! Break out of your routine. This automatically screams adventure and excitement and has the ability to reinvigorate the relationship. Early in our marriage, each one of us alternated months to plan a new outing/activity (Groupon and LivingSocial was our bestie at the time). We added the mystery by surprising each other each month with the actual plan. We found all sorts of new things to try- from horseback riding lessons to pottery wheel classes to exploring different cultural festivals to spa treatments to mini getaways. The goal was to do something that we haven’t shared together before. We loved this activity and the romance it inspired SO MUCH that we have repeated it throughout the years including starting anew this year. To get this right, each partner should agree in advance that it’s ok if it is not a “preferred activity”. Why? Because same ole’, same ole’ is off limits here. It’s about trying something NEW. You don’t even have to LOVE the activity to stimulate the LOVE hormones. You just need to try something new and different together and set an intention to be adventurous and exciting together. So, use your resources- try something like Groupon or searching the internet for local events and activities and get to planning. Your romance is bound to increase as you begin to plan, anticipate and engage in new activities with one another.
- Charm your love through the power of touch: Alarm clocks, deadlines, meal prep, routine, old resentments, feeling yucky in your body, etc. can all lead to the lack of touch in relationships (both non-sexual and sexual touch). Romance is often hard to find when touch is absent from the relationship. Conversely, frequent touch has been documented to increase overall feelings of love, satisfaction, connection, and wellbeing (including increased calm and decreased stress). Hello! TOUCH can equal ROMANCE and DECREASED STRESS! Who doesn’t want that?! So, we encourage you to get reacquainted with the act of touching your partner! How? By being intentional on a daily basis about adding more hugs, cuddles, hand holding, face nuzzling and casual touch to your day and night. For example, when you’re talking about your day (hopefully, you are doing this-see below!), try to stand or sit close enough that you can reach out and touch a shoulder or arm or hand. Perhaps gently move a piece of wayward hair or kiss a forehead or playfully slap a booty as you pass one another. Spoon each other in bed or slow dance to a favorite song. Offer a back rub or foot massage. Whisper affectionate words coupled with a gentle kiss on the back of the neck as you leave for work. Play footsies on the couch at night as you watch a show. Say hello and goodbye with a passionate 8 second kiss. So many options! If you want to increase romance, let your hands, feet, arms, and lips get to work!
- Enhance your love story through face to face convo: Face to face conversations often take the back seat to texting, email, and a quick cell phone call. While technology is helpful in so many ways, it should not completely take the place of your communication. Make sure to carve out time to have conversations with each other face to face. This allows for eye contact, body language, tone, and physical proximity to be part of the mix and all of this can add to increased connection. Research supports that ongoing conversations about each other’s hopes, dreams, and daily life adds to overall connection and love. Basically, an open door invitation for ROMANCE to enter your life. Not sure what to talk about? Try the Gottman Card Decks app developed by The Gottman Institute. The app gives you a variety of categories to choose from including daily subject matter, hopes and dreams, expressing needs, and sexy intimate topics (from mild to hot salsa). So, for increased connection and romance, try to be intentional about having face to face time. We suggest a minimum of at least once a week but daily would be great too! It doesn’t have to be hours long. Think quality over quantity. If you are a busy couple, try to start with 5 to 10 minutes a day of some face-to-face time to catch up because 5 minutes is better than no minutes! Remember, you fell for that face at some point, so to increase your romance, make sure to look at it every now and then when you talk!
Bonus Tip #1: Don’t wait till February 14th or a once-a-year anniversary. Romance is ongoing. Valentine’s Day can be a special day that you recognize love but love is something that is nurtured on a daily basis. So, try these tips out frequently to allow romance to bloom on a daily basis!
Bonus Tip #2: Chocolate, balloons, flowers, cards or other traditional gifts don’t hurt- just make sure that it is personalized and intentional. If you get a card, don’t just sign your name. Write something that you specifically appreciate about your partner. If you buy chocolates, say something personal about how your partner has made your life “extra sweet”. If you get balloons, mention something about how your partner adds light and joy to your life. If you choose flowers, perhaps pick out a flower that was used in your wedding and mention something special about your partner that makes life with him/her exciting and fun. Why? Because personalizing the gift adds an extra bit of romance!
We value romance as a part of our love story and we appreciate how it enhances our relationship and we hope you find ways to incorporate more of it into your lives. From one couple to yours, we at Elevating Relationships wish you all a happy, fulfilling, loving and ROMANTIC relationship! We also understand that many couples are struggling in ways that block the romantic spark from being present- they are searching for ways to improve communication including how to communicate with a spouse when angry, how to heal from regrettable incidents, how to navigate challenges and transitions in life (from new parents to empty nesters), how to increase trust, how to increase intimacy, and of course, how to increase romance (and much more!) If this sounds like you, call us or fill out our online inquiry and we’ll reach out to you within 48 hours. We care about our relationship, and we care about yours!