When two people start a relationship they often speak of the “spark” between them. People will actually feel floaty – and that’s because the body’s natural feel-good chemicals are being released.
The relationship is new and exciting. It’s full of electricity, passion, and intimacy.
But over time that can all start to dwindle. This is often because couples don’t realize that to keep it ablaze they need to keep feeding it.
Or sometimes significant life events can have a similar dampening effect. This could be due to starting a family, moving home, work and financial issues, a physical or mental health illness, or the loss of a loved one.
But because a relationship doesn’t usually lose its spark overnight, it’s often difficult to see this is what has happened. But there are some definite tell-tale signs that a relationship is in need of help.
What are the signs of a relationship in decline?
• Conflict is common.
Every couple has moments of conflict. But if it seems a regular thing, it’s a big warning sign.
• You hardly spend any time together.
It’s healthy to have some space and keep our own interests going. But a relationship can only keep growing if the people in it spend time together.
• Trust has gone.
A relationship where trust is going or gone is in trouble. It’s no way to carry on as anything that steals our peace of mind is very damaging – because peace of mind is priceless.
• Little or no physical intimacy.
Little or no sex life usually indicates that a relationship has problems. Some people are happy with a relationship like this. But for the vast majority, there really needs to be intimacy in some way, including cuddles, holding hands, kissing and sex too.
How do I make my relationship come alive again?
If you realize your relationship has lost its spark, here are five ways you can rekindle it:
1. Date like in the beginning
“Making love” was originally used to describe dating. This is when a couple is creating and growing love for each other.
This is what many relationships need, a refresher. You can even plan dates like in the beginning.
On your dates, be curious about your partner, just like when you first met – maybe ask some of these questions designed for creating intimacy. There might be some new things to discover or remind yourself about: things that helped you fall in love with your partner in the first place.
Be genuine and loving. Show gratitude for your partner and all they do.
Remember to say statements that can mean the world to someone hearing them: “I missed you” and “I love you”:
2. Do good things together
This can include dating, but also could be such as snuggling up to watch a movie or having a walk to collect a takeout.
Also, try some new things as a couple. A certain amount of routine is necessary for life, perhaps, especially if there are children – but so is a bit of spontaneity as you most likely had in those early days.
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Cook a new recipe or plant some seeds together.
Look out for things to celebrate. Have a lazy morning in bed or go sightseeing for the day.
The aim is to create new happy memories with each other.
3. Ensure honest open communication
Communication is key to any relationship.
If there are any issues you have about something, first of all, think to yourself: do I really need to talk about this, does it really matter?
Remember that most arguments are really just one person saying to the other: why can’t you be more like me?
Understand that you can change your reaction to things too. Is something an issue because in fact, you are in a bad space?
Think about if you’re taking yourself too seriously. Maybe defuse potential conflict with some fun.
It is also important to talk in an honest way if there is something that needs to be addressed. But when doing so, make sure not to blame, shame or try to make your partner feel guilty.
Speak gently and lovingly. Let your partner speak too. Listen intently to every word.
Ensure there is love rather than anger or accusation in your eyes. Consider your body language.
You might have different opinions on something. Much of being in a successful relationship is about learning to compromise – so both partners should feel happy at the outcome, that growth has been achieved.
Finally, remember to forgive where necessary. We all make mistakes, and resentments within a relationship are never going to work out well.
4. Look at your sex life together
Physical intimacy is hugely important to most people in a romantic relationship. If both are truly happy that there is little or none, that’s fine – but for most people, there is a need.
Sexless or low-sex relationships frequently end. So be sexy with each other.
Do a bit of flirting as you did at the beginning. This could be a look, comment, touch or even a text message.
Give lots of physical affection. This could be loving hugs, a squeeze of their hand or affectionate touches.
Some people have found that scheduling times for sex like this works to get their passion back. For people who have busy jobs or children, this is certainly something to consider.
Try new things together in the bedroom. Or if you’ve got in a rut of always having sex in the bedroom, try a new place.
Sex should be the physical, emotional, and spiritual joining of two people. While the quantity might not be as much as in the beginning, the quality should get better as two people get to increasingly love each other.
5. Look to the future together
When it’s clear that the spark is bright once again, you both could agree on ways to keep it glowing – and ever brighter too. So, it can be useful to speak to each other about how it reached the point where you needed to make the effort to ignite it once again.
With both in agreement, maybe there needs to be some sort of “relationship regulations”. While that might sound a bit official, many couples find it useful.
For instance, vow to not keep anything to yourself again that needs to be discussed. If there have been trust issues, have a chat about how that can be stopped from happening ever again.
Compromises may need to be reached. This is a necessity when sharing life with another person.
Also, chat about the future together. Get your aims and dreams in tune so that you can both reach these in your lives together.
Many couples have also found it extremely helpful to seek counseling. Or get away to a recovery center like Tikvah Lake where professional therapists can help in a luxurious environment.
We have intentionally set up to be in the ideal natural setting to aid well-being with year-round warm Florida sunshine. Our stunning mansion by a beautiful tranquil lake is created with utter relaxation in mind.