Fortunately, there are many ways to add some zest to a relationship that feels like it’s stalling or has even gone stale — and to rekindle some of the exhilaration that was there at the beginning.
Even the best of relationships can lose vitality. Relationships once filled with wonder and excitement can become mundane, even tiresome. Perhaps there’s nothing more toxic to a relationship that finding your partner a bore or your life with them devoid of genuine passion. To a certain extent, it’s perfectly natural for any relationship to lose some of its energy over time. But there comes a point where a relationship not sufficiently nourished can run into some real trouble because of its lackluster nature.
Here are five ways which both the research and my own experience as a therapist suggest you can really help revitalize your relationship:
Do something fun, and do it together.
Find an activity that piques both of your interests, and be sure it’s something you’ll likely enjoy doing as a couple. Nothing creates pleasant memories and enhances emotional bonding more than having some real fun. And when a big part of that fun comes as a result of just being and doing things together, it only enhances the experience. So do more than just spend some time together. Spend the time doing something that excites you both and that you’ll enjoy doing together. Doing so will not only leave a lasting, pleasant impression on you both but will also infuse some positive energy into your relationship.
Do something different.
Try something novel or out of the ordinary. Doing the same old things is inherently boring. Think outside the box. Take a baking class together. Send some flowers on just an “ordinary” day. Take some time out of your busy day to ask the person you love out to an unexpected lunch. Whatever you do, break with the usual routine. Doing something you wouldn’t normally consider but which you still enjoy can give you something to talk about and reflect upon for quite a while.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves and our various cares and concerns that we forget our partners are growing and changing from their experiences. Take some time to get to know each other again. Ask your partner to tell you what’s been going on in their life. You may learn some things that will surprise you. To love a person really well you first have to know who they truly are, and who we are evolves over time, so it’s important to keep up with what’s going on both on the outside and on the inside of your partner’s life. Getting to know your partner at deeper levels gives you a unique opportunity for deepening the already existing bonds of love between the two of you.
Plan a getaway.
Take that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take. If that’s not possible, at least get away for a long weekend somewhere. Just having a break from the routine can restore some much needed energy, and being with one another in an entirely new context can set the stage for some new awakenings in your relationship. Go where it would be hard to bring the cares and concerns of your usual life with you. Leave your schedules and appointment calendars behind. If you dare, leave your digital devices and means of social media communication behind as well. Focus on each other and on your new experience together. Cut down on outside communication and focus on deeper levels of communication with one another.
Banish the painful past.
Many people have trouble connecting deeply because of past unresolved emotional baggage. When you’re trying to reconnect and restore your relationship, do your best to send those painful bags packing. Forgive past slights and let go of old injuries. Most especially, don’t bring up for discussion issues that you still have deep, unresolved feelings about. Save that for another time and possibly some mindful introspection. Nothing puts a damper on an attempt at renewed mutual discovery than dredging up past hurts.
Relationships fail at unprecedented rates these days. That’s largely because we live in the age of character dysfunction. But as I assert in Character Disturbance [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], we all have it within us to grow in character, and such growth always occurs within the context of a relationship. One major way to keep a relationship healthy and vital is to not allow it to become stale or tedious. Doing the things outlined above can really help in that regard, but merely doing them won’t necessarily work magic. That’s where character comes in. You have to have character to want to take this task on in the first place, and you have to have character to respond positively to any efforts your partner makes. Taking the prescribed courses of action provides only the opportunity to restore and deepen a relationship that’s possibly gone a bit stale. The rest depends on you and your partner.
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on June 11, 2017.
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