Somewhere, somehow, your relationship has hit rocky ground.
This is quite common in a marriage or long term relationship.
But you want to get things back on track.
You want to rekindle the romance.
You want to reignite the fire.
You want to put some passion back into yours and your partner’s lives.
How can you get that intimacy and love back in a broken marriage or relationship?
That’s what we’ll be sharing in this article.
But first, a quick note…
Think Kitchen Sink, Not Smoking Gun
When a relationship has lost some of its spark, the temptation is to look for one obvious reason why.
After all, if there is only one problem, you only need to find one solution.
This approach of trying to find a ‘smoking gun’ for your relationship woes is doomed to fail.
Because no worthwhile relationship is that simple.
Like it or not, relationships are complex things built upon lots of interacting elements.
Whilst some reasons for your relationship problems may be bigger than others, they all need addressing.
You have to take a ‘kitchen sink’ approach.
In other words, you have to look at a multitude of ways to make your relationship healthier and happier once more.
Real intimacy – one of the cornerstones of a good relationship – can’t be rediscovered by jumping between the sheets alone (although that will help, as we’ll discuss shortly).
Intimacy forms around all the little interactions we have, all the choices we make, all the thoughts we have, all the things we share.
If you want to get the intimacy and connection back, you need to do as many of these things as possible.
1. Be physical without sex.
In one word: HUG.
Honestly, a hug a day keeps the divorce lawyers at bay.
A hug is the ultimate non-sexual way of connecting physically with your partner.
There is a real intimacy (there’s that word again) in allowing each other into your respective personal space.
It feels immensely calming and reassuring to be held in another person’s arms.
Of course, there are other ways to show physical affection without engaging in sex.
Kiss each other.
Offer a relaxing neck massage after a hard day.
Stroke their hair.
Play footsie under the table as you eat your dinner.
Lay on the couch together as you wind down in front of the TV.
These things often disappear from a relationship or marriage as the years pass by, but they needn’t.
If it’s been a while, reintroduce them gradually until they become a habit.
2. Have sex.
What comes first: passion or sex?
No, it’s not a joke, but a question you’ve probably asked yourself.
The truth is, the two things form part of a virtuous circle.
In other words, sex can lead to passion which can lead to sex and so on and so forth.
After all, if a hug is a great way to connect physically, sex is even better.
And, no, you don’t need to spice things up in the bedroom all the time, no matter what you may have read.
Regular sex, even as part of a routine, can be intimate and passionate.
The key is to keep it regular where possible.
The longer you go without sex, the more of an event it becomes, to the point where the pressure on this simple, natural act makes it less intimate than it should be.
For sex to be of real benefit, it ought to be enjoyable for both parties.
3. Recognize the negative influence of external factors.
Different parts of our lives bleed into one another.
Often, the difficulties we face in one area can have a negative impact on our relationships.
Work, family life, health, finances – these are just some of the things that can cause stress and anxiety.
And when we are stressed or anxious, we are less likely to treat our partner and relationship with the care it deserves.
We allow external concerns to influence our behavior in ways that can push a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse away.
But recognizing this fact can help in two ways.
Firstly, we can identify instances where we carry negative externalities into our relationship and work to minimize the impact they have.
For example, just by being aware of where your irritation with your partner is coming from, you can prevent it from spilling over into an angry or upset reaction.
You’ll see that it’s not your partner you are upset with, but the stress of something else that you are merely directing toward them.
And with this realization, you can control your emotions and choose a kinder response.
Secondly, we can better understand when our partner treats us in a way that we don’t appreciate.
If you know that they are under a great deal of stress because of a conflict with a family member, you are more able to control how you respond to their mood.
You don’t have to condone their behavior or even accept it, but you can see where it is coming from and choose a more forgiving response.
So many relationship troubles have roots outside of the relationship that are then allowed to grow into something much bigger.
You can prevent this from happening by being aware of these external factors and adjusting to them.
4. Spend time on a shared activity.
And, no, we don’t mean time spent doing the dishes or playing with the kids (although time as a family is a great thing).
In a well established relationship, it’s easy to fall into a pattern or routine that includes very little quality time together.
The time you do spend together largely consists of mundane day-to-day tasks.
But intimacy (which is quickly becoming the buzzword of this article) comes from shared experiences of a more specific nature.
Activities that you both enjoy give you moments of pleasure and these lead to a longer-lasting connection.
So whether it’s camping in the great outdoors, hitting up a gallery, or one of the countless other hobbies for couples, it’s important to find time for them in your schedule.
5. Focus on little joys, not little annoyances.
A common issue in many relationships is the tendency for both partners to pay more attention to all those little things that their partner does that annoy them than those things they do that make them smile.
When your view of your partner becomes unbalanced toward the negative side, feelings of resentment or frustration can quickly grow.
It’s like only hearing the prosecution’s evidence in a trial – of course you’re going to find your partner guilty.
Yet if you focus on the things that bring a smile to your face or a warm feeling to your heart, you’ll realize that you have a lot to be thankful for.
So instead of listening to the prosecution’s evidence, be your partner’s defense attorney and make the case for all their good points.
This will make you more forgiving of their flaws (because we ALL have flaws) and you can stop getting angry or irritated.
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6. Accept each other’s limitations.
Following on from the previous point, it’s important to accept that your partner is not perfect and they will make mistakes or do things differently to you.
The key in this instance is to look at yourself in the mirror and be brutally honest about your own faults and imperfections.
Now ask how you would wish others to treat you despite these flaws.
You’d want them to accept you for who you are, warts and all, wouldn’t you?
Well, if this is how you want others to treat you, it surely follows that this is how you ought to treat others – especially your partner.
It pays to have realistic expectations of your partner and your relationship.
You will argue sometimes. You will have differences of opinion. You will want to do things in different ways.
And that’s okay.
Try to remember the previous advice about looking at all the good aspects of your partner.
Don’t try to change them. Don’t depend on them for your happiness. Don’t expect them to behave how you want them to behave all the time.
We’re all flawed creatures. We all have our own ways of doing things. Accepting this lifts a great burden from your mind.
7. Talk about how you would like to improve yourself.
When you want to get your relationship back to how it once was, it pays to be willing to work on your own flaws.
The turmoil of a rocky relationship is a good reason to take a good look at who you are and how you might grow.
After all, when things are going smoothly, you probably don’t care about improving yourself.
So talk to your partner and be honest about the areas you think you should work on.
Maybe you need to be more patient. Or perhaps you have low self-esteem which is affecting the bond the two of you have.
Whatever it is, by focusing on yourself, you avoid pointing the finger and laying the blame at your partner’s feet.
They will see how far you are willing to go to be a better person and partner and they will wish to reciprocate.
By both promising to work on yourselves, you can encourage each other and gently prompt each other when you leave the path of growth.
8. Show vulnerability.
Another way to get the love and affection back in your marriage or relationship is to be vulnerable with each other.
The point above is a good example of that as you have to admit your own flaws.
But it goes beyond that to a point where you are willing to talk about your own issues and the problems with the relationship openly and candidly.
It means being emotionally available and willing to express both negative and positive emotions with your partner.
Over the years together, you can lose this willingness to show vulnerability as your levels of emotional and physical intimacy drop.
You close off to each other and harden to the emotions you experience.
But vulnerability is a great way to remind each other just how much you care.
Think how you would respond if your partner cried in front of you or poured their heart out.
Chances are you would feel empathy and a desire to comfort them.
This compassion can reignite your love and desire. It can remind you that your partner is another human being who suffers just like you, and not some cold robot.
Vulnerability is one of those things where one person needs to go first and the other then usually follows.
It can be difficult to be the one to go first, but if you are reading this, take that leap of faith and know that your partner should hopefully respond in kind.
9. Put your relationship first (within reason).
If you want to put the spark back in a broken marriage or relationship, it pays to make that relationship a priority in your life.
You can’t take something for granted just because it’s been that way for many years.
As much as you should spend some time apart doing things that you enjoy, these things should not consume all of your time.
Your partner deserves your attention. And you deserve theirs.
If it’s got to the point where you are like ships passing in the night, it’s no wonder that the fire has been extinguished.
It’s virtually impossible to remain emotionally intimate with one another if you do not see enough of each other.
Those shared activities we spoke of earlier are important, but so is just being in each other’s company.
What’s more, if the opportunity arises, put your partner’s wants and needs ahead of your own sometimes.
Have their favorite meal, watch their preferred show, visit their choice of attraction.
Not all of the time, but sometimes.
And allow your partner to do you the same courtesy in return.
10. Talk about more than how your day was.
When you’ve been married or in a relationship for a long time, one of the most common conversation starters is “How was your day?”
And, yes, it is good to know what’s going on in your partner’s life.
But there is so much more to talk about.
When you’ve had the rundown of your partner’s day, don’t assume the conversation has to end.
Ask them how they are feeling. Talk about current affairs. Have deep conversations about life and the universe.
Share opinions and truly listen when the other person is speaking.
Feeling listened to is a great way to boost the positive feelings you have for one another.
It encourages vulnerability. It can help you find solutions to the negative external factors in your lives.
It can be a source of great comfort to know that your partner shows you the respect to listen to your views.
Humans have developed language like no other species. Don’t waste this gift. Open your mouths and talk to each other.
11. Approach conflict with maturity.
You and your partner will disagree on things.
Sometimes, these disagreements will grow into an argument.
These arguments can quickly erode the intimacy and desire in a relationship.
But this needn’t be the case.
It is possible to argue respectfully and with maturity so that the feelings you have for one another aren’t damaged.
In short, this means not raising your voices, listening to and trying to understand each other’s point of view, and being willing to compromise where appropriate.
You’ll need to accept that, very often, it’s not a case of one person being right and the other being wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion.
And neither person’s opinion should be considered more valid than the other.
Sometimes it can help to view a disagreement as more of a negotiation. Both sides might need to give way a little bit in order to reach a point where both parties are reasonably content.
This is far better than viewing it as a battle in which one person has to be defeated.
12. Take comfort in comfort.
What we mean by this is that you shouldn’t dismiss the value in having a safe and comfortable relationship.
When we are trying to restore the spark in a relationship, it is easy to overlook its more ordinary qualities.
But security and stability are worth a lot.
You may have once valued these more than you do now, but because you are trying to put the romance or sex back into things, you no longer see them as enough.
And, yes, they aren’t enough by themselves to make a marriage happy and healthy, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore their importance.
Many people would give a lot to have those qualities in their relationship.
13. Make plans for the future.
An established relationship or marriage can sometimes begin to feel a little stagnant.
This often comes about when we no longer have any common goals or plans for the future.
We have nothing of significance to look forward to.
Now, whilst your individual happiness nor your relationship health should depend on some future event, it is nice to know that you are moving toward something with your partner.
Make plans for the short, medium, and long term. Set goals that you’d like to achieve together.
As you work toward these things, you will spend more time together, have fun, overcome obstacles, and build greater intimacy.
14. Let go of grudges.
Grudges are poison when it comes to passion, romance, and desire.
Holding on to some complaint only makes you resent your partner.
Forgiving someone is the only way to move beyond a grudge.
It helps to remember points 5 and 6 above: focus on the good things about your partner and accept that they are not perfect.
If you want the spark back in your relationship, you have to look upon your partner with positive eyes, not ones that are still mad about past wrongdoings.
Imagine your grudges are storm clouds. No fire can burn if those clouds are forever raining on your feelings.
15. Ditch the kids for a while.
If you have children in your relationship, you’ll know just how much work they can be.
You have to feed them, clothe them, entertain them, take them to extra-curricular clubs, and generally look after them.
And this reduces the amount of quality time you and your partner can spend together.
So, if you can, try to have at least some time away from the kids every so often.
Perhaps you persuade a family member to look after them for a day. Or you take advantage of overnight school trips.
Whatever you do, when you have some time together, free from children, make the most of it.
As we spoke of above, do something together, share an activity, and don’t forget to enjoy some sex in the knowledge that you won’t be interrupted or have to squeeze it in after a long, stressful day.
16. Put in the effort.
Getting your relationship back on track won’t happen with the wave of a magic wand.
And no matter how much you say all the right things, it is your actions that matter most.
You have to invest in your relationship or marriage if you want to see a return in the form of greater love, passion, and intimacy.
You have to follow through on your promises and commitments.
You have to show each other that you care.
You have to take each other into consideration with everything you do.
Back when your relationship was still relatively new, you probably did all of these things without having to think about them.
It comes more naturally at first.
But over time, you become complacent and forget that you get out what you put in.
This effort needs to be mutual. A one-sided relationship is not a good environment for that true spark to reignite.
So if you haven’t already done so, it might be worth sending this article to your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife so that they can read it too.
That way, they’ll be more on board to put in the necessary effort to get things back to how they used to be.