Our relationships go through natural fluctuations over time. For a while it may drive us toward one another with an animalistic magnetism. In the next phase, we feel distant or withdrawn from our partners. These ebbs and flows are a part of the journey, and it’s up to us to navigate them appropriately. Have you and your partner fallen into a lull? Have things gotten stale? Bring it back around by finding that spark in your relationship again.
Knowing when we’ve lost that spark.
There are some concrete signs our relationships have fallen cold. Before we can reignite that flame that draws us together, though, we have to be honest about what’s going wrong. Have you and your partner lost your spark? These are some signs to be aware of.
What is the communication like in your relationship? Do you and your partner regularly connect and talk to express your fears, concerns, or even just about what’s going on in your life? When there’s no communication, it’s hard to get on the same page or even feel like we’re working toward the same goals. In happy relationships, we are free to talk about things — and we do. Communication deserts are often a sign that the spark is beginning to waver.
Lack of intimacy
How would you describe the intimacy in your relationship? Do you and your partner find it easy to let the walls down and open up in the bedroom? What about your emotional intimacy? Can you be there for your partner when it really matters? A lack of intimacy is often one of the first signs that our relationship has hit a wall. Rather than taking this lacking intimacy as a sign of lacking love, we should see it as a sign that it’s time to proactively bring things back around.
Do you find that you and your partner are fighting a lot more these days? Do the slightest annoyances turn into major arguments or shouting matches? Conflict is a natural side effect of losing the spark that we share. Harboring a sense of resentment, we can become irritated and passive aggressive when it comes to the person we’re sharing our life with. If more conflict and fighting has become an issue, it’s time to assess where you’re at and make some decisions about what you want to change.
Living in an unhealthy or unhappy relationship is painful and difficult to navigate. It brings up a lot of emotions and a lot of thought patterns that can be hard to make sense of. When the spark goes, we may not know why. Feeling bad, we look to blame the easiest source of the problem — our partner. This can lead to a simmering resentment that makes it impossible for you to trust one another, and even harder to communicate with one another.
Zero time together
How much time do you and your partner spend together? Do you regularly make time for one another? Or do you avoid one another or spending and serious quality time with each other? We need this time in order to bond and keep the spark alive. When it goes, we often find that our attraction toward one another goes too. Spending time together is a power healing and bonding agent that we can utilize when we feel our intimacy slipping.
Wanting different things
What do you want for the future of your relationship? Have those things changed over time? It’s natural to want different things than our partner, and it’s natural for the things we want to change over time. We should share some goals, though, and it should excite us to work toward them together. When we begin to wander in our desires and separate from the things we mutually share, it snuffs out that spark that draws us together magnetically.
Total chill out
Are you and your partner going through a total chill-out? It’s not that you don’t like one another, things have just gone cold. You avoid any real contact or intimacy and you both pull back into your own little world. The walls go up and things grow stale. A negative chill takes over the relationship, but there’s no real negative behavior behind it. It’s just a shut out from both partners in which neither is willing to be the first to cross the bridge.
How we can get it back.
Are you ready to bring back passion to your relationship? You and your partner have to commit to a journey in which you are honest, open, and willing to put in the work. Pinpoint your issues and talk them out. Then bring back fun into your relationship and expand into new and untested waters.
1. Pinpoint your issues
There’s no point in springing into action if you don’t know what you’re actioning. Before you and your partner start to “fix” things, you need to be clear on what needs to be fixed first. In order to do that, each partner has to take some time to consider what’s going on. You each need to identify the symptoms you’re experiencing, then identify the feelings that are resulting from them.
Get out a journal and spend some time writing down what you think are the issues in your relationship. Why do you think the spark is gone? How do you think you can get it back? Consider what you both want and need from your relationship, even as you consider what you’re not getting from it.
Be extremely specific in your reasoning, but consider it as a natural process more than “someone’s fault”. All of our relationships grow quiet and cold after a while. It’s natural. Even a garden sleeps and stills in the winter. Instead of looking for somewhere to lay the blame, focus on the solutions you want to see adopted. Pinpointing your issues is a process that takes time. Don’t rush it. Be clear before you launch into action or involve your partner.
2. Talk it out together
Getting a handle on the issues, you are then equipped to sit your partner down to have a serious conversation. Like it or not, you have to talk in order to get past your issues as a couple. Talking is how we lay it all out in the open and get back on the same page. You need to tell your partner what your experience of the issues is, then give them room to do the same.
Sit down and talk through your problems together. Pick your time wisely and try to avoid any times in which you both are dealing with the major stress of projects, family chaos, or personal hardship. Look for a place where you won’t be interrupted and where you can both speak your minds freely.
Without using any accusatory or blaming language, let your partner know about the doubts you’re feeling. Explain your feelings and what you want to change. Once you’ve had a chance to explain your point of view, allow your partner to do the same. After all of that is out in the open, leave the problems in the past and focus on solutions. How can you actively bring the passion back to your relationship? What are you both willing to commit to the journey?
3. Make intentional space
Do you and your partner go out of your way to make space for one another? Do you take time out of your busy work weeks (or family schedules) to focus strictly on one another and reconnect? This private time together is important. It brings you back to center and helps you to re-establish that intimate trust which is so important. Making intentional space gives your relationship a chance to thrive.
Put all the responsibilities and stress aside and make intentional space for one another. You need to take time for date nights and cozy afternoons in front of the TV. This time is a crucial way in which we bond and remember the things that make us commit to one another on a variety of levels.
Make time for one another every week. This time should be spent alone and uninterrupted. While you can certainly use it to go out and enjoy a nice meal, make sure you’re also using the time to talk, share, and connect over what’s going on in your personal lives. Open up. Create new memories together, and share experiences that allow you to remember why you were attracted to one another in the first place. Intentional space is a great way to bring back that spark we’ve been missing for so long.
4. Work on improving you
So much of the relationship advice we ingest focuses on fixing things within our partnership, but rarely is the importance of personal development considered. It’s hard to build a happy relationship if you’re not a happy person. We need to feel complete in ourselves if we want to come to our partnerships ready to create something that’s worth holding on to. Instead of seeking only to make each other happy as a couple, seek to make yourself happy as an individual.
Our relationship doesn’t grow if we don’t grow as individuals. Take some time to focus on the things you need in your personal life. What makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and whole as you are? When you feel complete as a person, you are better equipped to come to the table as a confident and compassionate partner.
Work on improving your lives on a personal level. Define what happiness means for each of you (outside of your relationship) and uncover a bigger picture of who you are. This isn’t being selfish. It isn’t being mean or doing anything “wrong”. We become better partners when we better ourselves. That makes everything from sexual intimacy to honest communication an easier task to manage. Want your spark back? Build on happiness from the inside out.
5. Remember to have fun with it
One of the most powerful ways in which to bring back the spark to your relationship is simply remembering to have fun. Romance doesn’t work when you’re only focused on all the hardship and all the stress in your lives. We have to remember to lift our partnerships up and have fun. When we laugh with one another, we increase trust and remind ourselves of all the reasons we fell in love with our partners in the first place.
Bring fun back into your relationship. Do things that make you laugh. Try out new experiences that level the playing field and bring you together. Too often, we get bogged down in all the serious chaos of life and lose touch with our love for one another. Sometimes, we have to put those things to the side and remember to enjoy ourselves.
Make time for more fun in your life and your partnership. You need to get out of the seriousness and the responsibilities, and you need to get excited to be together. Don’t allow your relationship to only become about work or family or all the tasks on your to-do list. Those things are not any less important (or likely to get accomplished) because you and your partner take one night off to enjoy yourself. You need this fun reconnection to bring back your spark. The longer you allow yourselves to dwell in the shadows, the harder it will be to come back.
Putting it all together…
As our relationships mature over time, we can find them going through natural dips or lows. Have you and your partner lost touch with your passion for one another? Have things gone cold or lost that spark? Once you admit where the problems are falling, you and your partner can come together to bring back attraction and excitement into your relationship.
Take some time to pinpoint the issues (from your perspective) before you sit your partner down and have an honest conversation. Once you’re ready to address your feelings, find a safe time and place to open up and have a candid dialogue. Give one another room to explain how you feel. This making of space brings back the trust and comfort that is so pivotal to your passion. Work on improving yourselves as individuals so that you can come back together as more fulfilled people ready to love honestly. Above all else, though, remember to have fun together. One of the best ways to bring back that spark is to make new memories full of laughter, fun, and joy.
- Hira, S., & Overall, N. (2010). Improving intimate relationships: Targeting the partner versus changing the self. Journal Of Social And Personal Relationships, 28(5), 610–633. doi: 10.1177/0265407510388586