Has your relationship grown stale as of late?
Do you feel less like romantic partners and more like business associates?
Every relationship has ebbs and flows. While newlyweds may believe that romance should naturally endure throughout the years, seasoned couples know the truth: romance takes effort. Regular time, energy, and attention need to be devoted to keeping even the healthiest of relationships thriving.
If you feel your marriage is in a rut, here are a few simple steps to revitalize that love today:
1. Shake up your routines.
Stop taking one another for granted, spending every night vegging in front of your cell phones or television, filling the hours with work and friends, or showing up late and underdressed for dates. Examine your habits and consider which ones are draining the life out of your relationship, rather than reinvigorating it.
Take turns planning adventures to go on together, whether it’s visiting a new restaurant, taking a bike ride by the river, or going on a weekend getaway. Set aside regular time that is free from disruptions and distractions, and use that time to reconnect.
2. Refresh your perspective of your partner.
The most extraordinary person can seem rather unremarkable after a few years of picking up his/her dirty socks. Romantic feelings, or a lack thereof, often coincide with how one views their partner. When you lose some respect for your spouse, the love might dim along with it. Do you hold your partner in high regard? Do you find that you regularly appreciate the traits that are unique to them? Or do you replay his/her flaws over and over in your head throughout the day, grumbling over past and present shortcomings? If the latter sounds familiar, there are ways to fall in love with your partner all over again! Try this short exercise:
Take time to honestly record how you see your partner at this moment. What role does (s)he play in your life? How do you feel about him/her?
Now, remember your first years together. Write down how you two first crossed paths. What emotions did (s)he evoke in you? How did you view him/her? What qualities drew you in and do those still exist?
Perception matters. You have power over how you view your loved one. Guard your heart and reframe your thoughts to find a new appreciation for your significant other.
3. Examine underlying expectations.
Most people enter relationships with some sort of expectation. While some hopes may be obvious, others may be subconscious. Disappointed expectations can cause an emotional rift between partners, if not dealt with properly.
Scrutinize the expectations you have had of your relationship in the beginning and today. Did your partner enter the marriage with similar dreams? Are the standards you’ve placed on him/her fair? Oftentimes, it’s the pain of unfulfilled expectations, not the other person, that causes long-held frustration in relationships. It is crucial to set reasonable expectations, considering both circumstance and partner. By doing so, you will find greater satisfaction and happiness in your relationship- even if it requires a tweak in your standards and mindset.
4. Choose your partner all over again.
By following these steps to reconnect, your relationship becomes a conscious choice again, rather than a convenient and comfortable option. Realizing that the person at your side is the partner you want today as much as you did yesterday is the root of rediscovered romance.
Make this choice a milestone. Record just how you plan to walk out of this recommitment. Write down the reasons you have come to this resolution: what qualities does your significant other possess that have caused you to re-choose them? Then, save this note as a reminder for your own heart, or (better yet) share it with your love.
A dry season doesn’t signify a doomed relationship. Romance and love take intentional effort to stay strong! If you are struggling to connect with your significant other, it’s time for a refresher. Utilize these four steps to keep your connection renewed and romance fresh for a lifetime of adventures ahead.