No one really thinks about how long “till death do us part” is while taking their vows, but after some time being married, you will start to see just how long it really is. What a lot of couples don’t realize that it’s completely normal for a long term relationship or marriage to feel like the spark has burnt out.
As your marriage grows over the years, those butterflies you once felt at the beginning may fly away, and that doesn’t mean your love for your spouse or the marriage has died. “The first thing to realize about being in a long-term relationship is that it waxes and wanes,” says relationship expert Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. “What you feel in the beginning is impossible to sustain.” Kelli says that if you understand this concept it will lessen the pressure to feel deeply in love all of the time.
If your marriage is in need of its spark re-ignited, think about trying to incorporate these practices to spark interest back into your marriage.
Prioritize your marriage.
Your marriage should always be high priority, but sometimes life happens and it can become a couple’s last priority. Making time to connect with your spouse every day is going to be key when trying to reignite that spark. Whether this time is in the morning, afternoon, or evening, being able to unplug from the chaos of every day life and be fully engaged with your partner creates healthy intimacy. Talk with your spouse and find a time in the day that allows you to be present with each other. When you find this time, protect it and make sure it’s done.
Take a trip down memory lane.
Revisiting sweet memories that you share with your spouse is a great way to bring back the fuzzy sensation you may be desiring. Talking about how you met your spouse, sharing stories or thoughts from the first date you had with them, even making a special trip to place you met, had your first date or even got engaged at, will help remind you both why you love each other. If you and your partner have been together for many years, there has to be memories you both may have forgotten from earlier in your relationship. Spend some time talking about your favorite moments and memories that you share together.
Show your spouse some TLC.
Sometimes all you need to ignite that spark in your marriage is to show your spouse some tender loving care. Physical touch is significant part of restoring physical and emotional intimacy in your marriage. Hug your partner, hold their hand, offer to give them a massage. You will instantly feel connected with your partner, and the passion and desire you once share will be restored. Intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean run to the bedroom, but by all means do that too. Although removing the pressure of sex can help rekindle romance and connection, reviving your sex life is also a good idea.
Learn your partners love language and speak it regularly.
Everyone has their own way they liked to be love. Taking the time to learn your partners love language will not only bring you closer to your spouse, it will also make them very happy. People communicate love in different ways and neither Is right or wrong. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman offers insight on the different types of love languages and tips on how to speak someone’s love language. According to Chapman, there are five ways people express love:
• Quality time
• Receiving gifts
• Words of affirmation
• Acts of service
• Physical touch
When it comes to decoding your spouse’s love language, look at how your partner expresses their love to you. Sexologist Stefani Threadgill, PhD, LMFT and founder of The Sex Therapy Institute says “ What and how we express love and desire is often what we want reciprocated."
Being loved in the way that you understand and appreciate best is important in any marriage. Learning you and your spouse’s love language will help your marriage overcome any disconnection and bring forth a sense of security within the marriage. It make take some time to recognize and fully understand each other’s love language, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. But with practice and patience, the effort you put into it is worth it in the end.
Dr. Chapman offers a quiz that will help you discover your love language. Take the 5 Love Languages quiz here.
Plan some alone time.
Take a weekend trip together, go hiking, plan a movie date, the options are endless. Your partner will appreciate the effort you put into doing something nice for them, and the extra quality time will make you both feel good. Take into consideration interests or hobbies and try to plan activities that you both can do together. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top, the main goal is to get your spouse alone and make them feel loved. Planned alone time gives couples an opportunity to communicate and deepen their understanding of each other. It also gives both you and your spouse the chance to unwind and enjoy time with one another.
The bump in the road you may be experiencing in your marriage right now won’t last forever and the fact that you’ve noticed a shift in your marriage actually shows just how committed you are to it. If it gets to a point where you don’t know how to spark that interest back on your own, that’s okay too. Sometimes we don’t always have the answers to fix our problems. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek counsel whether that is from a professional or a trusted friend.
Every marriage goes through its ups and downs, the important thing is that when you are in that downward slope you are committed to getting it back on track by putting the time, energy, and love into your marriage.