Lots of couples in my office say they have “become like roommates” over the years. Here are 6 techniques to help prevent that from happening, or to help reverse things:
1) Ask your partner: “What are the top 3 things that make you feel most loved and appreciated by me?” Listen closely, and do them.
2) Make a point to have a date night – once per week, once per month, whatever you can swing. And on that date night, you are not allowed to talk about the kids, house, or other responsibilities.
3) Do fun things together. It’s important to keep the childlike fun part of each of you alive not just for yourselves, but also for your relationship.
4) For some people, it doesn’t come natural to be nurturing. Things like “are you ok?” “you seem upset?” “Is there something I can do for you?” “How do you feel?” all fall under the category of “nurturing”, and will help keep your emotional connection alive. Do these things even if it feels awkward at first.
5) Manage tendencies to be conflict avoidant; energy in your relationship over time comes from sharing what is important to you, and staying with it long enough to work through any differences, and not caving in (or sweeping under the rug).
6) Research has shown that doing novel things in your relationship helps keep the spark going (or bring it back). Make a point to step outside your comfort zone! Rituals and routines are needed, but too much of it = boredom. Research things to do, make a reservation and invite your partner to go with you.
What do YOU do to keep the spark alive in your relationship?
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About Michelle Joy, MFT
Michelle is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFC#48603. She has been employed at The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, CA, since 2002, and currently a therapist on staff. She trains with relationship experts Ellyn Bader, Ph.D and Peter Pearson, Ph.D to deliver state of the art tools for couples. Read More…