‘although it may tend to decay over time, passionate love can be fed and kept alive within relationships, where partners actively pursue fresh discoveries about each other and thus fuel continued growth in intimacy.’
(Rubin, H. & Campbell, L. 2012)
Sometimes life gets so hectic that it is very easy to disconnect not only from others but also from oneself. What happens when you feel that your relationship with your partner is becoming only functional? How do you reconnect? How do you change the fact that you are not excited by each other’s touch anymore? That you don’t have time for yourselves and most of your time may be even focused around your children?
In this blog I will discuss 3 aspects which I believe are important, according to research and experiences that I have come across, to re-kindle the passion you used to feel with your partner.
- The Practical Aspect
Becoming more mindful of yourself and your day is the first step to re-connecting. Think about all the things that take up your time and energy during the day and try to balance things out so that you can dedicate some time to each other. Being more thoughtful and receptive towards each other helps with making the interaction more positive and warmer. If you are aware of what is affecting you, you are more in control over how this is spilling over in your interaction with your partner.
Sometimes, small gestures help make a big difference and it is the quality of the interaction that counts and not the quantity. Waking up in the morning and preparing a cup of tea or coffee for your loved one. Slipping in a small note with a positive thought or comment with their work lunch. Sending a brief text message or a funny meme during the day. Commenting about how good they look or praising something they did, even if it is a daily mundane thing. These gestures make a person feel valued and loved.
Set time to chat a bit at the end of the day, even if you’re folding the laundry or loading the dishwasher. Steal some time to talk about each other’s day and what has been happening. If you have children around, make some time for yourselves. Plan to have a date night once in a while, you don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant every time, staying in just the two of you is also nice if you ensure that you are focused only on each other.
- The Emotional Aspect
When your partner reacts to what you say in a warm, sympathetic and non-criticising way. You feel validated and cared for, which lets you feel more connected and intimate. Thus, communication is an essential aspect of re-connecting with your partner. Expressing your feelings and needs in a positive ensures that your partner does not get defensive and is better able to understand you and meet your needs. Obviously, it works both ways. People often mirror each other, thus if you want to feel understood, you need to be open to understand.
Take an interest in your partner, ask them questions which give them space to explore and open up with you. Do not rush a conversation but allow it the time it deserves. Take responsibility for what you are saying and acknowledge what may not be going as expected in an honest way without blaming each other.
- The Physical Aspect
The initial rush of passion experienced in the initial stages of a relationship is caused by oxytocin, a hormone which helps people to bond. This bond is released through physical touch and affection. Hugging your partner, kissing each other, cuddling and holding hands are small gestures which help increase physical affection towards each other. It also helps to feel more connected and is a good place to begin sexual intimacy. The more open and vulnerable you can be during sex, the more you are able to explore each other sexually and to experience passion and sexual satisfaction. When you feel safe and intimate with your partner, you can express your desires and needs better. You will also be able to experiment with different and new things. In long-term relationships, it may appear that couples have reached a plateau to how much more intimate they can get since they know a lot about each other. To counter this, you may introduce and experiment with new things so that you can still learn more about each other. This sense of novelty heightens arousal and adds a new level to your intimacy.
Trying out new things, using props, role playing, building tension and setting the scene for sex helps add more anticipation and focuses on the process of getting there.
Rubin, H. & Campbell, L. 2012. ‘Day-to-Day Changes in Intimacy Predict Heightened Relationship Passion, Sexual Occurrence, and Sexual Satisfaction: A Dyadic Diary Analysis’. Social Psychological and Personality Science 3(2) 224-231.
Sumter, S.R., Valkenburg, P.M. & Peter, J. 2013. ‘Perceptions of love across the lifespan: Differences in Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment.’ International Journal of Behavioural Development. 37(5) 417-427
Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.