Updated: May 21
"Everything was so good before marriage, I miss those days"
"Our schedules are so hectic, there's no time for romance !"
"It's been more than 15 years we're married, and we're just parents now"
"Being in a Joint Family is so tough, I don't get personal time with him"
"He doesn't look at me that way anymore, I wish he just looked at me!"
When I moved to the USA, I was newly married and was really looking forward to this new life with my new partner in a whole new country. But life wasn't so easy. Life here is complicated, as we all know. Being on a dependent visa, the visa restrictions did not allow me to work, and my frustration about not being able to work started creating troubles in my marriage. When I was talking to other women who just moved to the country, I realized that many women are facing similar challenges communicating these issues, and other than just understanding our situation, there's not much our partners can do. Also, there is so much that we Indians just love to sweep under the rug, be it intimacy issues, mental health, or the need for emotional support from partners. That is when I knew I had to approach a relationship expert for help, instead of talking to people about it.
Talking to a relationship expert helped me bridge the gap between what I knew about relationships from parents or friends, and what I really needed to know. I learned so much about communication, conflict management, intimacy, confidence, and emotional management that it brought a tremendous transformation in my marriage! That's when I decided to study and become a Relationship Coach to be able to help many more Indians like me who could benefit from Relationship Coaching! Long story short, years later, I am a Certified Relationship Coach and have helped more than 300 couples bring transformations into their marriage.
Marriage is like a work of art, it takes effort.
Great marriages don't just happen; they are the result of a consistent investment of time, love, forgiveness, affection, and thoughtfulness. Couples are really curious about how they can work to make their marriage better, relationships stronger, more passionate, and more intimate for themselves.
Not just marriage, relationships also lose the spark after a few years and it's very normal. Couples that say they have the same passion they had in their initial years don't have it all laid out to them, it's because they work at it willingly.
The passionate love you feel at the beginning of a new relationship, often referred to as Eros love, is due to a rush of dopamine and oxytocin experienced when meeting someone new. These hormones and reward brain stimulators make you feel excited and happy to be around your spouse.
But as time goes on and you get used to each other, these feelings lessen. This is a completely natural part of falling in love, but it may leave some couples feeling like something is missing in their relationship.
Whether finances are weighing you down with stress or you just can’t seem to find that spark you felt when you first met, all couples struggle to connect at some point in their marriage.
The good news is that one slump doesn’t mean the end of your happy married life. There are many things you can do to bring that spark back into your relationship.
If you're someone who is struggling with marital problems, please talk to @my_wonderwoman
Here are 10 ways to reignite that spark in your marriage!
1. Learn each other's love language - You may express affection to your significant other regularly, but do you truly take the time to make sure you're communicating it the way your partner wants to receive it? Even love can sometimes get lost in translation when two partners speak different love languages. For you, expressing love might be cooking a special meal for your partner, but for your partner, the idea of love might be spending quality time together.
Not everyone communicates love in the same way, and likewise, people have different ways they prefer to receive love. The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Discovering you and your partner's primary love language and speaking that language regularly may create a better understanding of each other's needs and support each other's growth. You can figure out each other's love language by taking an online love language quiz or simply asking each other, "how do you like to receive love?" Take turns to show love in your partner's love language.
2. Share house duties/ chores - If there’s one thing that almost all couples who live together argue about, it’s completing chores. Having to do a majority of house duties and being burdened with all the house chores breeds resentment against the partner. Even if one of the partners is not working or doesn't have a job, it is important to understand that the entire responsibility of managing a house is not a one-man's job. Shopping, paying bills, groceries, cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning the house, taking the trash out, and the list is endless.
Chores are shared responsibilities, and doing a good job dividing up the housework is essential to ensure a happy marriage. All chores should be split equally between both partners. Account for every task that needs to be done, see which ones can be handled by which better, and which ones one needs to learn. If they don't know, teach them patiently, let them make mistakes, and they'll be open to learning. ( Today I showed my husband how to give our dog a bath, and now he knows so that he can give Oscar a bath the next time )
To learn about how to get your partner to share the responsibilities around the house better,
read my article How to manage chores together as a couple.
3. Weekend Getaways - I strongly suggest couples not just have date nights, but date overnights during weekends. Your first priority should be quality time with each other, before kids, before parents, before house chores, and of course before office work. (Office work on weekends are big marriage killers) If you have a business or hectic work hours, I understand it's difficult for couples to take out every weekend. So at least, take out one weekend every month to just spend time with each other.
Go to a nearby destination, no need to even go on expensive vacations. Just book a room in your city and enjoy quality time. If you have kids, and no one to look after them, I encourage asking close friends with kids to babysit your kids during weekends when you are away. (offer the same to them and make it a routine, every couple deserves it)
Having the space away from mundane duties allows you to enjoy each other's company in a new light, bring back the romance, and make you feel wanted, special, and very happy!
4. Take care of yourself - You can give all the lip service in the world to the idea that appearances don’t matter. But how about health? Bringing a more balanced and happy self to a relationship will garner more connection. Self-care by both partners means more connection more often. It also means more authenticity, more empathy, and more heartfelt moments.
Self-care means taking control of our own feelings, thoughts, and emotional well-being rather than giving someone else that power. In a marriage, self-care means all the obvious things: eating healthy, getting enough exercise, being well-rested, focusing on your financial well-being, being intentional about your own independence, etc. On a deeper, more fundamental level, being intentional about self-care helps you achieve a healthy love for yourself; so you can love others well too.
5. Set Healthy Couple Goals - Building a set of goals and developing a plan to reach them together can be an important tool in forging a better relationship. Even if one individual is less goal-driven, working together towards a common goal will bring a sense of unity and connectedness. Goals do not have to be highly aspirational, like buying a house or a boat. They can be as simple as going to a theater to watch a movie every 2 months or learning a new skill as a couple like enrolling in a salsa class together.
You can also encourage each other in individual goals. Like professional goals, for example, or supporting each other in being fit by joining a gym or a yoga class. It would be great if you set big long-term goals ranging from the current year to 5 years ahead and short-term small goals - 1 for every month. It makes life exciting and you feel like progressing together! Completing goals one by one gives you a sense of achievement as a couple and boosts confidence and seeing eye-to-eye can mean you're heading in the same direction. It also makes for a stronger relationship and helps you bond as a couple.
6. Couple games - Games trigger novelty, which can help you avoid a relationship rut. There are many couple games available in the market nowadays to spice up romance and intimacy between couples. Setting aside some private time to enjoy these games as a couple on a date is a great idea to enjoy quality time together. Couple card games, building games like Jhenga, and other games are fun games to play with your partner. Sometimes, there's no need for games as well. Just playing "stare off" is a beautiful way to spark that intimacy.
To play, look into your partner’s eyes without blinking for as long as you can. Often, this leads to kissing, maybe more. Play anywhere, any time.
Or, you can play "Copycat Movie"
Want to mix up your movie night? Put on a rom-com or one of your other fave films, and act out a scene. While it can be something steamy, you can also just reenact your best "I'm Flying" scene from the prow of the Titanic (or, you know, your bed)
7. Revisit favorite places - Even though you can’t live in the past, you can act like it. Turn back the clock by dressing up for dinner and going to a restaurant as though you’re on a first date together. If you’re looking for a more casual option, take a hike on the trail you used to run before life became so busy. Revisiting a place that means something to your relationship will not only bring back the nostalgia of the old days but remind you that those feelings are still alive today. Reminiscing about the days when you both were new in the relationship is a good way to bond over beautiful memories.
8. Romantic Atmosphere - Set up a living room or a bedroom with just the right tone. Turn down the lights, put on a little bit of music, and spend a little bit of intimate time together. Just the two of you alone, letting the weight of the day just melt away can be a significant distraction and help spice up the love in your romantic life. You do not just have to use perfume or cologne and sexy clothing. Light relaxing candles that smell divine. Close your eyes and stroke your partner’s hair. Put on some light music that is romantic. Feed each other some of your favorite foods. It can be a wonderful way to use all senses to reconnect. Blindfold your partner while they listen to sensual music with earphones on. Then, take it to the next level and experiment with objects like ice, feathers, melted wax, and coconut oil. Not being able to see or hear heightens awareness and anticipation for sensations that are to come. It’s the surprise and mystery that is exciting.
9. Have a faux affair. (With your partner!) - Plan a date with your partner, and act like you’re meeting up with your lover, while you both (pretend to) leave your partners at home. (Use your imagination!) According to intimacy expert and certified Ayurvedic educator Coltrane Lord, part of the reason why couples cheat (which I am not suggesting you do IRL) is to feel more sexually uninhibited, simply because it’s taboo—so who knows where a faux affair can lead you. Even prepping for it may make you hot with anticipation.
10. Create a common tradition - A great way to spice up your relationship and inject a little excitement into your relationship is to create traditions that make you anticipate the future. From trying a different coffee shop every month to scheduling a movie date together every month. Holding your relationship accountable to the traditions you choose is a fool-proof solution to making time for each other — and looking forward to it.
While there are many more tips, the above tips are great just to get started on a lifelong journey of exciting and blissful togetherness. The idea is to keep things fun, fresh, and new. Relax and enjoy the process of discovering new ways to enjoy each other's company!
Don't stop putting the work into your relationship constantly, every relationship is like a garden. You need to cut out weeds and keep watering constantly. As long as you're feeling desired and fulfilled in your relationship, I'll consider my job done :)
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