Has your relationship between you and your partner become stale and routine? Does it feel like you have a friendly (or not so friendly) roommate? It’s time to do something about it right now!
Some common signs that things have gone stale: feeling lonely inside your marriage, a lack of communication and connection, a lack of passion and a feeling of boredom, and brewing disagreements that you don’t bother to discuss.
It takes effort to overcome these common difficulties once they have developed. Somehow we think things will just get better over time with no effort. They won’t; you need to take some action.
Here are some things you can do to breathe some life into your relationship. Learn how to reconnect with your partner, renew your passion, and feel hopeful for your future again.
The first one sounds counterintuitive, but it is not.
Take Time for Yourself
When you began dating, you were two separate people with separate interests and identities. You brought something to the table that the other person could learn from, hear about and appreciate. Guess what? You are still two separate individuals and it is important to spend time away from each other working on hobbies, going to a sporting event with a friend, or joining a group that you are interested in. This gives you something new to talk about with your partner when you are back together again. It is important to maintain your individuality.
Do you great each other when you get home? Do you kiss and hug or is it just a peck as you go off? Often over time in a relationship we trade the butterflies for companionship, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stir the passion again. By being purposeful in connecting affectionately, you will stoke the fires.
Your love life is a big part of your relationship and when that goes stale, so does your life!
Start slowly finding ways to reconnect with one another physically. Ask each other what each other would like. Many people never talk about sex but it is important to do so. Start small with cuddling before bed, a back rub, or plan a special encounter. It might feel silly at first, but it won’t for long.
Interact in a New Way
Turn off the TV and play a board game or a game of cards. Play a game called, “would you rather” and use your imagination to come up with two scenarios to ask your partner and wait to hear their results. For example: “If you had to, would you rather go bungee jumping or sky dive?” You could get really creative here.
Have a new experience. Go to a new restaurant or see a comedy show. Go white water rafting or float down the river. Doing things together allows us to bond together in a new way, have pleasant experience and be able to bring up memories of time spent together.
Take the time to really listen to what your partner is saying. Try to really hear what is being said before you get defensive or wrapped up in what you thing they mean. Try to summarize what you heard them say and see if you got it right. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. If something is wrong and you don’t speak up, or if you beat around the bush by hinting at it, they aren’t going to suddenly get what you need.
Be direct about what is bugging you and what you need. When you say it, try to state it in terms of your needs and not their faults. For example: “You just take me for granted” will cause someone to feel defensive. While, “I would really like to be told that I am appreciated for what I do” is likely to be heard and understood better.
Practice Communication and Learn New Ways to Connect
If you’re looking to deepen or renew the connection with your partner, it’s never too early to meet with a couples therapist. Too often, people come to couples counseling after long periods of conflict and disconnect have done some hurt and damage. Rather, when things start to deteriorate or you have difficulties in communication patterns, couples counseling can be a great resource. Think of couple’s therapy as a way to learn new skills while you are navigating your relationship. We don’t get a lot of education in how to connect and communicate and just as you might want to improve your tennis serve by getting lessons we can learn new ways to have a good relationship. We often understand the concept of getting regular maintenance on our cars, isn’t our marriage more valuable than that?
Nancy Ryan, LMFT specializes in working with individuals and couples who want deep, satisfying relationships with themselves and their partners. She works with couples who are ready to stop the destructive patterns and want to build the love, friendship and romance back into their partnership.
Learn how to reconnect with your partner. Call Nancy Ryan, LMFT Relationship Therapist at 916-426-2757 or click here to set up an appointment.