10 Ways to Maintain The Spark in a Relationship
Long distances, contradicting schedules, or growing resentment are all common reasons couples lose their spark — otherwise known as chemistry or a particularly strong connection. But the truth is that even in the best relationships, romance will dwindle if you’re not working on it. Think of it like a muscle — when you don’t actively work it, it weakens. As days, months, and years go on, butterflies turn into to-do lists, and a relationship can grow into a routine. Whether it’s because of work, obligations, or children, life gets overwhelming and busy. Having a partner who is the one constant or sure thing in your life is a great thing, but it can also make it easier to put your partner and your relationship lower on the list of priorities when you know they’re a given.
Not enough quality time together and less focus on the relationship can leave you both feeling slightly unfulfilled, unappreciated, or worse, unhappy. Try these 10 ways to maintain the romance in your relationship:
1. Ask for something new every week
The first step in keeping the spark alive is knowing what “the spark” means to you. It’s likely that what makes you feel loved and appreciated is different than what makes your partner feel loved and appreciated, since we all have different love languages. This means we also give and show love in different ways too. Instead of hoping your partner shows you love in the way you want or feeling resentment when they don’t, trust your relationship enough to ask for what you want.
At the beginning of every week, think of something super specific that you each have to work on for that week. Maybe you want them to plan a surprise date, bring home flowers one day, or compliment your looks. Maybe they’ll want more alone time with you or more positive feedback on their work. It may only be intended to last for a week, but actions will teach your partner not only what makes you feel loved, but how to make you feel loved.
2. Put your phone down
We know how easy it is to distract ourselves with our phones while we are on the car, or *god forbid* eating dinner together. Consider every single minute you have together precious. Put away the phones when you’re having a meal, a conversation, or a good old fashioned binge-watching session. Remember to stay present whenever you’re together!
3. Make eye contact
Romance doesn’t have to be sparked through grand gestures or public displays of affection — intimacy happens in the little moments. Making eye contact with your partner actually has scientific backing — making eye contact actually produces neural synchrony and releases oxytocin. In terms that didn’t come out of a chemistry textbook, your brain feels more connected with another person through eye contact.
4. Try something new together
Whether you’re interested in traveling to a new place or signing up for a new cooking class, break out of your normal habits. When we’re stuck in a routine, we often feel numb to many of the reasons we love. Trying something new will not only feel fun and exciting, but seeing your partner in a totally new environment will teach you things you never knew about them, and/or remind you why you fell in love with them in the first place. You may, in fact, just fall in love with them all over again.
5. Spend time apart
Whether your relationship normal is to spend every waking moment attached or you’ve been living miles apart for years, time apart can be a good thing. Even if it is just an hour at a hot yoga class or a weekend away on a girls’ trip, spending some time away from each other will actually give your partner the space to miss you, and vice versa. Doing your own thing will also give you something new to catch up on and talk about, breaking out of that usual routine. Taking time for yourself and doing what you want every once in a while will increase your confidence. And we all know what happens when a woman leads with confidence.
6. Start a conversation
When was the last time you had a real conversation with your partner? A conversation that did not involve to-do lists or take place in the few minutes before bed? Sharing a real, emotional connection means having conversations about your future, caring about what’s on the other’s mind, day dreaming together, or reconnecting about your needs in the relationship. If your only conversations these days start with “How was work?” or “Here’s what we have to do tomorrow,” try to spark a deeper conversation.
Make sure kissing is still a part of your relationship. Kissing that’s spontaneous and meaningful, like back in high school. Do not limit kissing to be just a means of saying hello and goodbye, or as a way to initiate intimacy. Kiss deeply and passionately when there’s no expectation or reason at all — when you’re heading out to dinner, in the middle of a conversation, or just to randomly remind them you love them.
8. Make laughing together a top priority
Laughter may be the best medicine, but it’s also the best kept secret to keeping the spark alive. You know those times where you joke about a fight or an incident like, “Someday we’ll laugh at this?” Why wait until someday? If you’re together for the long haul, there’s nothing you need to take too seriously — when you can, see the humor in your disagreements or uncomfortable moments. Watch something you know will make you both laugh and build up inside jokes as much as you care about building trust. Bring up funny memories, send your partner memes true to your shared humor, and tease each other like how middle schoolers flirt.
9. Try to impress each other
Sure, your partner has likely seen you at your very worst — after all, love is seeing someone at their worst and still treating them like they’re at their best. But remember the days when you used to dress up for them? Maybe you’d put on a full face of makeup just to watch a movie together in the beginning, or wore your prettiest dress for a casual dinner date. Channel the same desire to impress them and put in some effort to look and feel your best, whether it’s putting on body oil after a shower (doubles as self-care too!), or wearing a pair of high heels for a dinner date.
10. Make a change instead of hoping that your partner will
If you want your partner to say or do more romantic things, it can feel a lot like nagging if you are constantly asking them to give you more. Instead of asking all the time, think of how much more you can be giving to your partner. When you’re with the right person, they’ll take notice of your extra effort and feel inspired to give some extra effort back. Be generous with affection, and if you love them unconditionally, prove it.