How Can I Reignite the Spark in My Relationship?
Last updated on July 5, 2023
“When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it”
Ian McEwan (Novelist and Screenwriter)
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain”
Vivian Greene (British writer)
We have all seen the films, right? They make it out like achieving love and finding a partner is the hard part. They show us the hardships we must endure to find a loving partner. However, what they do not tell us is that this is probably much easier than what follows. More often than not finding a partner is easier (not easy) than actually maintaining a happy, loving relationship. On the surface, most relationships look perfect. You see the couples smiling with each other, sharing a laugh or two but deep down something is missing. It happens often when the ‘spark’ in a relationship is lost and the two people involved become more like friends who live together and are sometimes, often rarely, intimate with each other. Now, this does not mean that the love is lost between them. It is highly likely that both people are still very much in love with their partner, it is just other things in the way or they have reached a plateau in the relationship. When this point in a relationship is called one of two things can happen. The first is that one or both people feel that the love is gone and that the relationship is over. The second, hopefully, more likely (!), is that one or both of the people realize something must be done to reignite the spark in the relationship.
In order to fully understand how to reignite the spark in our relationships we must first consider the reasons for the loss of said spark in the first place. It could be argued that if we understand why relationships lose their spark we may be able to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some of the reasons or signs that the spark may be fading in your relationship.
- Physical attraction is lost. When we literally become conjoined with another person we begin to lose our physical attraction towards them. If you rely on the other person far too much or are always looking for them to complete you it can put a very heavy burden on the relationship. Rather than seeing our partner as the beautiful, wonderful individual that we fell in love with, we see them as an extension of ourselves which has a negative impact on the chemistry that drew us to them in the first instance. In layman's terms, we do not look at them in the same way anymore as we do not see them as an individual, we see them as just another part of us. Remember, your partner could begin to see you in the same light so ensuring that you can both remain individuals while keeping the bonds of your relationship strong is of paramount importance.
- When two become one (merged identity). For this, you need to consider whether you recognize how you both step on each other’s boundaries and whether you speak as a “we” or “us” rather than “him”, “her” or “I”. Being ourselves in a relationship and maintaining our individuality is very important in keeping the spark alive. If you do not have this time to be yourself, or for your partner to be who they were when you first met, then your spark will fade. This is because, over time, you and/ or your partner will lose the mystery, their uniqueness that you were drawn to when you first fell in love. Everything becomes too much “the same” and so the spark begins to die.
- If your self-care fades the spark can too. In a relationship, we often become very comfortable with each other. While this is completely normal and expected, it can often have a negative effect. This is because we tend to become less worried about how we look and how we take care of ourselves. Now, we must stress that this is not a definite occurrence in every relationship. However, this comfort can lead to people gaining weight, engaging in unhealthy habits, drinking more, or exercising less. Not only are these habits an act of increased comfort but also a way of protecting ourselves from sustained closeness. Unfortunately, these traits negatively impact our self-esteem and can push our partners away thus making the spark in our relationships fade away. They can also have a deadening vitality and weakening confidence in our relationship.
- Failing to share experiences. In the early stages of our relationships, we want to spend every waking moment with our partners. During the starting period of any relationship, we are more willing to try new, novel experiences with our partner. However, over time we fall into a routine and thus become less likely to want to spend too much time with our partner trying new things. If you consistently resist doing new things or spending time with your partner and spend too much time on your own or with other people the spark in your relationship will begin to diminish and eventually fade completely. If this distance occurs and begins to be a regular occurrence you, or your partner, will begin to resent the other for not wanting to spend time together. This in turn will create conflict and cause that spark to fade more and more.
You relate to your partner less and less. At the beginning of any relationship, we are all like open books. We want to spend as much time as possible and share everything about ourselves with them. In the early stages, you have deep, meaningful conversations and relate to each other as much as possible. Over time, this meaningful approach begins to lessen and partners relate to each other less. You will notice that your conversations go from meaningful to more practical, and sometimes less friendly, as your relationship becomes more settled. As we relate less to our partners we become less tolerant of their flaws, we feel for them less during times of distress and we tend to stay close to them more out of obligation than love. As we relate to our partner less we care more about our feelings than theirs. If you relate to your partner less your spark will fade more and more. This area links to all of the others as you lose your closeness and relating to your partner less is a result of all the reasons for a relationship's spark fading.
Not letting go of anger. In the early days of a relationship, we often ignore our partner’s flaws and negative traits. When we have been with our partner for a very long time we often begin to catalogue our partner’s negative traits and flaws. We start to build a case against them that causes us to become cynical and, eventually, resent our partner. More often than not the spark fades because people are not open about their feelings. Instead, they tend to swallow their feelings and allow them to build up in our minds. This leads to us turning against our partners and becoming angry with them. All of this combined will lead to conflict that, because of harbored anger and the swallowing of feelings, will be explosive and possibly the relationship ending. The spark begins to fade because neither partner is willing to discuss their feelings or feelings that they cannot share, which leads to resentment, conflict, and bitterness.
More things to do and less time together. In the early days, you will both make as much time as possible for your partner. You do all you can to spend every waking moment with your partner. However, as relationships progress and your life, both as a couple and independently, changes you will notice that things start to get in the way of your time together. You will both be busy with jobs, bills, children, housework, and other responsibilities that draw your attention away from each other. This has a negative impact on your relationship because over time you will come to notice your feelings for your partner change and you may stop making attempts to connect. The spark fades because you no longer spend enough quality time together and the connection you once had becomes strained.
When communication fades, so does the spark. During the early stages of a relationship, you spend most of your time talking with your partner. You will sit for hours and hours discussing everything from your childhoods, jobs, past experiences, hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. Over time you have heard all of the stories and know every detail of your partner’s life which can lead to communication becoming strained and not as meaningful as before. These struggles with communication can lead to more arguments. You then may become tired of fighting and try to emotionally detach yourself from your partner, and in turn your relationship, as a way of avoiding conflict. Poor communication causes the spark to fade as you no longer share, whether about topics such as your job or your feelings, which causes a gap, emotionally and physically, between you and your partner.
Intimacy is less apparent. During the early stages of your relationship, when you are both comfortable and ready, you will become intimate with each other. You will spend a lot of your time being intimate with each other. This could be in the form of holding hands, kissing, hugging, or having sex. You will actively seek out this physical attention which leads to many people saying that newly formed couples “can’t keep their hands off of each other”. It could be said that this is the point in the relationship where the spark burns the brightest. However, over time you and your partner could become a bit more distant and not as physically active as before. This could be because you have had children and they demand more of your physical attention or the “honeymoon” period is over and you are both just comfortable with each other and do not feel that the physical acts are needed as often as before. Your spark fades because you do not have the physical closeness you had before. If you couple this with a lack of communication and relating less with your partner you could see your spark disappear completely.
These are just a few of the reasons a spark can fade in a relationship. It is important to remember that there could be any number of reasons for your spark to fade. Some of the reasons we have not mentioned are, more obviously, going to cause the spark in your relationship to fade. These are things such as one partner cheating on the other, talking romantically with others, or outwardly saying that the relationship is either over or more of a friendship.
It is important to remember that the reignition of a spark is most definitely possible unless one partner has cheated or said the relationship is over. We have spoken about how the spark is lost because it is important to know what went wrong in order to make it right. More often than not people begin to notice that the spark is dwindling and want to do something about it. This is because the relationship is worth saving but this can only be done if both partners are willing to put the work in. You need to find the right way to reignite your spark and restore your relationship to its former, beautiful self. Below are the many different ways you could reignite the spark in your relationship and get your relationship back to where you want it!
- Revisit the good old days. Revisiting the roots of your relationship is a wonderful way of rekindling your relationship. Research has shown that nostalgia is associated with greater commitment in a relationship and a deeper sense of closeness. Revisiting your romantic roots can be done in a variety of ways. One of the first things you could do is revisit the place you first met or where you had your first date. You could sit together and look through old photos together and reminisce about the time you spent together in the past. Some of the ways of revisiting the past do not have to be done together. You could remind yourself of how much you love your partner by listening to “your” songs, reading through old messages, or naming a few things your partner has done, or does do, for you. Another way of reigniting your spark is to revisit what made you fall in love in the first place, and what brought you together in the beginning. It is important that this is not about reliving your honeymoon phase but should serve as a reminder of why you feel in love in the first place.
- Communication is the key. As we previously mentioned earlier in this article, communication is one of the most vital elements to any successful, happy, and healthy relationship. You and your partner need to make time to talk with each other and ensure that you both really listen to what the other has to say, whether about their day or about more important issues between the two of you. Probably the most important aspect of communication is how you deal with conflict. In order for your relationship spark to reignite you need to respectfully talk through any issues you are having, see things from your partner’s point of view, and make an effort to decide on a resolution together. To reignite your relationship spark you need to talk as often as possible and make sure that these conversations are respectful and mutually beneficial. If there are no conflicts or issues present in your relationship then chatting about your happy memories or discussing goals for the future will help reignite your spark.
- Romantic gestures count for a lot. It could be that the spark in your relationship is fading because you have both become too comfortable and have stopped showing your partner how much you love them. Sometimes you may forget your partner's love language and how they like to be loved. You could ask your partner this and find out what makes them feel loved and appreciated. It could be that they want to have more time together. They may like receiving little gifts every once in a while or they would like to hear more about how much you love them (verbally). Using your partner’s preferred love language, and them using yours, will help reignite your spark as it demonstrates their understanding of you. If your partner’s love language is verbal affirmation then they may enjoy receiving love letters or verbal compliments. It may be a surprise to you that your partner’s love language is different from yours. This is not a problem as it should make your rekindling more interesting. When someone is loved in a way that they appreciate the most it is one of the most important ways to reignite your spark and rekindle your broken relationship.
Gratitude is a lost art. When we are in long-term relationships we often start to take each other for granted, especially as we become more comfortable with each other. In order to reignite the spark in your relationship both people need to begin to practice gratitude. This does not mean simply saying thank you when your partner has done something for you. Take note of the actions they do that you appreciate and respond in kind, whether verbally or reciprocating or in the same way. If you do this your partner will feel more appreciated and endeared towards you. It will also help you grow your sense of gratitude.
Why should date nights stop? When you first met each other you would go on regular dates together, whether out for a meal, a romantic walk, or a weekend getaway. However, when couples move in with each other or get married they no longer need to plan any time together. While this is normal and part of being in a secure relationship it does take away some of the excitement of spending time together. Life can get very busy, especially as we get older, so planning time together should not be frowned upon but something you get in the habit of doing. There is a thought that sex should always be spontaneous. However, with our lives being so hectic these days that spontaneity can often disappear completely. It is important to plan time together, whether that be going out for a meal, a trip to the cinema, or evening planning a time to be intimate together. Making time for each other will reignite the spark in your relationship as it shows you still care about each other and want to ensure your relationship survives.
New does not mean bad. At the beginning of your relationship, you would both spend time together trying new things. You would want to impress your partner or get involved in activities you may never have tried just to show them that you are interested in their way of life. However, over time it could be that you both fall into a routine and never try new things. Part of this links with improved communication and making plans. In order to reignite your spark you should plan and try out new activities together. If you participate in a shared recreational activity it produces oxytocin, the bonding hormone, bringing you closer together. Some of the new activities you could take part in are joining a mixed sports team, taking part in a dance class, redecorating, volunteering, going on holiday, or planning a weekend getaway somewhere new. If you and your partner take part in new activities together you will notice a renewed sense of closeness, thus reigniting the spark in your relationship.
Kiss, kiss, kiss. We mentioned above how being more intimate can rekindle your relationship and take you back to when you first fell in love. However, it is also important to consider the impact of kissing. We’ve seen it in the films and experienced it ourselves, the first kiss. If it goes well fireworks go off, choirs sing and the world is a better place. If you and your partner enjoyed kissing during the early stages of your relationship you should try and do it more often if the spark is dwindling. Kissing releases oxytocin and serotonin, promoting bonding as well as relieving any stress and anxiety you may be experiencing. Show your affection through hugs and kissing each other often and not just as a prelude to sexual intercourse. You should show your affection often to keep the spark alive. You and your partner will see your spark improving because you will become closer to each other physically as well as emotionally.
Recognize the problem. One of the most important things is to recognize the reason or reasons why the spark in the relationship is fading. This does not necessarily mean that you have to discuss it with each other but this would help. You need to question certain things to figure out where the issue lies. When was the last time you felt emotionally close to your partner? When was the last time you were intimate with each other? Are you happy in the relationship? If you are not happy with the answers you give to these or other similar questions then it is apparent the relationship is in jeopardy and that the spark is fading. In order to reignite the spark you need to recognise the issues at hand and do something about it.
Have some time apart. Yes, we know that this sounds counterproductive but it is important to have time on your own. It is important because you both need your own space but it will also give you something to talk about, therefore improving communication. We do not mean for you to spend all of your time apart but pursue an interest of yours on your own or with friends, and your partner does the same, you can talk to them about it or even introduce them to it later on.
It is okay to seek help. If you and your partner are away and the spark is dwindling or gone completely you may feel it necessary to seek professional help. Seeking the help of a professional does not signal the end of the relationship, in fact, it shows how important the relationship is to you both and how much you want to save it. A professional can give you an independent, outside insight into your relationship and offer you tailored advice on how to reignite the spark.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that every relationship faces hard times at some point. There are no perfect relationships. However, it is how you face the hardships you come across. In order to reignite the spark in a relationship you need to do two things. Firstly, you need to discover why the spark is fading in the first place. The second, and most important thing, is that you do something about it. If you feel you do not want to do something about it, the relationship may not be worth saving. The fact you want to reignite the spark shows how much you care about the relationship.