If your long-term relationship feels a bit stale and lacklustre, you aren’t alone – it’s normal in relationships that have matured past the initial stages. Nonetheless, many strategies exist designed to keep those sparks alive.
The following are four suggestions for those seeking positive ways to create their own customized intimacy-rejuvenation project.
Many modern couples tell themselves they’ll take that romantic vacation once the kids are finished with school, once they get their mortgage paid off, or once they finally get that work promotion they’ve been striving for all these years. However, you don’t need to take a full-blown vacation to enjoy the benefits of getting away from your daily routine. Weekend getaways, however, are available options for almost all couples and can be enjoyed even by those with limited funds. If you can’t afford that romantic little bed-and-breakfast by the sea that’s been beckoning, book a camping spot in that same area instead. You’ll get the same environmental ambiance at a slim fraction of the cost, and sharing a meal and wine beside a campfire earns a higher rating on the romance meter than a candlelit dinner in a fine dining establishment any day.
Traveling outside the lines of the usual tourist season also results in significant savings – you might be able to get that little bed-and-breakfast booked for as much as half off the regular price if you visit when the maddening crowds aren’t part of the picture. If you can afford to splurge on deluxe accommodations from time to time, however, consider it a well-spent investment in your relationship. Few things recharge the senses and the spirit like a weekend spent with the one you love in luxurious surroundings.
Regularly scheduled date nights offer another excellent way to keep the home fires sparking. Some couples like to keep it simple by patronizing the same place for most of their dates – after all, having somewhere that you think of as “our place” creates positive bonding. On the other hand, other couples bond better via shared adventures and therefore reserve their date nights for experiencing new places and activities.
Neither way is better, and most couples fall somewhere in the middle, having one or two “our places” for celebratory milestones such as anniversaries and birthdays while taking advantage of less emotionally charged date nights to explore their city. If finances are an issue, many municipalities offer free concerts in city parks during the summer months. Don’t ever let lack of funds keep you from enjoying a regularly scheduled date night with your spouse. Use your imagination, and you’ll be able to come up with many date night ideas that don’t involve spending serious sums of cash.
Don’t Forget the Bedroom
Keeping romance simmering in long-term relationships often hinges on open minds and a willingness to explore in the bedroom. Although it’s a fact of human nature that familiarity results in a decrease of that exciting initial zing experienced as a part of the process of falling in love, you can keep that zing alive by introducing new activities in the bedroom.
Couples who successfully keep sparks alive frequently take turns deciding on sexual adventures, while others make it into a game. For instance, you and your spouse could write down your respective fantasies on individual pieces of paper, fold them, and place them in a bowl or container. You can either schedule a certain night of the week to pick a fantasy from the bowl to try or simply wait until the mood is right for experimentation. Another idea is to browse through an adult sex store and surprise your partner with something new to try. You could take it in turns purchasing something that’s been on your mind, or look together and make a list. Whatever you choose to do, have fun with it.
Pretending that each time you have sex will be your last is another technique that works for many couples. It’s also important that you and your partner learn to prioritize your scheduled time along — and, although making plans for having sex doesn’t fit the spontaneous preferences of some people, it’s often the only way to ensure that busy couples have opportunities to connect on carnal levels. Without planning, it’s just too easy to let life interfere with intimacy.
Keep the Lid Off the Pressure Cooker
This may seem at cross purposes with the advice given above, but it really isn’t – sometimes, it’s possible to try too hard. Part of the allure of being involved in a long-term relationship that the type of intimacy you experience mellows and ripens over time, and this sometimes means that you’ll go through dry spells where sex is concerned. New parents, for instance, often find this to be the case.
If it starts to feel that efforts to rekindle romance are more tedious than fun, it may be time to turn down the pressure and relax. Taking pleasure in the mundane is one of the many benefits of being a part of a couple who’s committed to spending the rest of their lives by one another’s side.
Don’t let your marriage go downhill because “you’re too busy” or “feel disconnected”. You should always be prioritizing your relationship. If you feel like you’re both drifting away from each other, find new ways to connect, whether it’s something from this list or something you’ve thought up yourself.
Did your marriage change after having children? As always I love to read your thoughts.
*A collaborative post