When a relationship first starts it seems that there are endless conversations to be had with other people about your new love. “She likes ___,” or “he always does ___, it’s so funny,” as your friends roll their eyes because it’s the 100th time they’ve heard that person’s name in the past hour.
But as things progress over the years, the “tea” to spill becomes less and less. You start to work through the major issues, you get used to their weird habits, and you settle into life together.
That’s not to say settling into life is a bad thing, in fact, imagine how exhausting it would be if you didn’t figure out how to coexist in life. However, there are times when that comfort gets a little… too comfortable.
There’s a lot to be said about intentionality. When you and your person first got together you both had to go out of your way to get to know each other, to spend time together, and to grow a deeper connection.
The moment you move in with someone, the dynamic of the relationship can change. You no longer have to be so intentional about when you’ll see that person or what you’re going to do because you know you’ll at least be sleeping next to them every night. And it’s that thought that causes you to lose your intentionality.
The time that you used to delegate to your partner starts to go to other places because you no longer have to chase like you once did. But just because you’re secure with them now doesn’t mean that the relationship you’ve grown together won’t wither without your attention.
So what can be done to help spice things up a bit? How can you go about keeping things “fresh” with someone that has been a part of your life for so long?
Laugh Often (Make it Happen!)
Shared laughter can show that you see the world in the same way as somebody else. In that intimate moment of sharing joy you can feel the connection grow.
Oftentimes when a couple is struggling, they won’t be able to remember the last time they genuinely laughed with their significant other. Now, maybe you and your partner aren’t struggling at the moment, but to help keep the spark alive, be intentional about creating moments of joy.
Go somewhere together that can help you both relax and enjoy each other’s company, get out of the daily grind, and do something that is fun for the both of you.
If you’re feeling extra disconnected you can even spend time going to a place where experiencing laughter is inevitable like a comedy club or seeing a goofy movie that you can enjoy together.
Not Netflix and chill.
I know I just said you can go to a movie together to help you start laughing again, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s the best form of quality time.
It’s important to be intentional during the time that you set aside for your partner. Having fun together is important of course, but creating a space where you both can talk openly about your feelings, and listen to each other is important in seeing where the other person is at.
A lot of the inner workings of our minds won’t come out fully until someone we trust helps to draw those things out of us, and for two people that have been together for a while it’s most likely you that’s able to do that for your loved one.
Not to mention, connecting emotionally can help to spice up other areas of your relationship as well. When people feel emotionally safe they’re more open to adventure, joyful connection, and sex.
There’s a study that suggests when you do something adventurous or thrilling with someone you start to associate the feelings you experienced during the activity to the person you did the activity with.
This is why doing something thrilling with your spouse can help put you both on an emotional high and create a different kind of bond. Getting out of your comfort zone together can help create a lasting spark and even give you more ideas for your next greatest adventure.
Start buying experiences, not things. Sometimes we’re so caught up in getting the next best thing, but our dopamine from buying those things drops within hours of receiving them. Why not use that money that you would spend on things to create lasting memories with your person instead?
Isn’t being able to lay in bed and reminisce about memories with your partner better than forking out cash for all the things that will just have to be replaced eventually anyways?
Start a hobby and stick with it
It’s easy to feel like you’re growing in two completely different directions when you’ve been with someone for so long. Most couples are able to appreciate that growth together, but it can feel hard to find something that you can both still connect on.
Starting a hobby together is one way that you can bring this shared connection back. Whether it’s something active like tennis or something creative like pottery, pick a random thing and try it out. It’s less about falling in love with a new thing and more about enjoying the time spent together while doing something you both wouldn’t have done before.
Something like this does take discipline from both sides, but it can be a great way to prioritize your relationship together and bring a new aspect into it.
Always remember: love is a verb.