We have all been struck by cupid (maybe more than once for some of us, no judgment!). We all remember the exhilaration of seeing our beloved, the thrill of spending time with them, and butterflies in our stomach when we are ‘madly' in love with our partner at the start of the romance. Then how, after some years of being together, do we start feeling disconnected from them? The conversations start drifting away to important matters, feelings go unnoticed, and affection seems to fade.
Though this reality might seem grim, it is normal to sometimes feel out of sync with our partner, because with time, we tend to settle down and get used to the humdrum of daily life. The high of love is joined with a lot more responsibilities that might now have been pressing a few years ago. We also mature with time and evolve our own personalities through life experiences. Family, careers, finances tend to take up room where passion, romance, and intimacy once were, making the relationship feel lackluster and passionless.
While some relationships sink in this wave of lifelessness, some couples can ride it successfully and manage to keep the spark alive. So, is it possible to rekindle the spark back into a relationship? And if so, how?
Take a step back
Of course, we would all love to go back to those glorious days when we had just met our partner and could not tear ourselves away from each other. But the realities of everyday life make it difficult to go back to the days of our budding romance. When you’re trying to revive your love life, try to take a step back and remember those days. Try to identify what can you bring back to your relationship. Was it spending more quality time together? Was it trying new things together? Treat them with the same patience and kindness as you did during the start of your courtship. We tend to let our guard down as we mature with them, forgo these feelings of tenderness and affection towards them and even take them for granted. Doing things that sparked joy in the past can remind us why it all matters, motivate you to put in more effort to sustain your relationship moving forward. Taking time to remind yourself of all the things that make your relationship worthwhile can be the first step to rekindling the lost spark.
Re-love your love
Remind yourself of the reasons you first fell in love with your partner. Compliment the qualities that attract you and make an effort to genuinely appreciate them. Remember how your partner has evolved through life experiences, just like you have, how they’ve made your life better, and express your respect and love to them. It helps if you include these qualities in your daily journal and remember to be thankful for them when times get tough.
Falling in love also includes falling in love with yourself again. It’s easy to deprioritize our needs over the needs of our family in our everyday lives. These feelings, when left unattended, build up and erode respect and love. Spending time with ourselves, appreciating all that we’ve achieved can help boost your self-love and confidence. Increased self-love then helps you show up as a confident, supportive, and appreciative partner to your spouse.
Communicate the problems
Very often, the events leading up to falling out are more critical than the real cause of falling out. According to Catherine Woodward Thomas, relationship therapist and author of the term "Conscious Uncoupling," the cause is not the most serious or dramatic thing, but rather a minor detail that "destroys trust and a sense of oneness.” While it may sound simple enough, in reality, sitting down and communicating the cause of disappointment in each other requires patience, understanding, and willingness to improve from both partners.
Try to have a conversation to figure out the cause of built-up resentment – is it because of family issues? Lack of attention to each other? Any other mental/ financial issues that are straining your bond? Introspect to identify why you might be feeling ignored or angry and try to address these issues from both ends, fairly and without prejudice. It is also important to notice when they make efforts to reconcile, check in with them, support them when they reach out, and forgive them to move forward.
Make time for each other
When you’ve been in a long-term relationship, the feeling of novelty tends to fade away, being replaced by a sense of duty and responsibility. To keep the romance alive, we need to make time for our partners in our day-to-day lives. This does not just mean fancy dinners or date nights, but spending some quality time with them before bed, or after you wake up, could help just as much. Try to set aside time in your routine to catch up with your partner, be present at the moment for them, and listen intently (and not just to respond or offer solutions). Effective communication and active effort to prioritize the relationship with each other will boost feelings of intimacy and affection. You will feel safe, heard, and cared for.
Seek new experiences together
Love tends to take a backseat as we get caught up in our work or daily lives. This, over time, makes us feel uninspired which slowly creeps into our relationship. A wonderful way to keep the fire alive is to seek new experiences together. You could join your partner's hobbies, invite them to try out yours, or even venture out to share completely new ones. This helps in spending more time together, rediscovering each other’s qualities, and cultivating love and intimacy.