When you’ve been in a relationship for a long period of time, it is only natural to slowly lose that fiery passion you had for one another in the beginning. This is known as transitioning from passionate love to compassionate love. While the former is primarily about sexual arousal, the latter is what has let you develop a deep, emotional attachment towards one another.
It is normal for couples in this transitional phase to feel as if their marriage or relationship doesn’t have the same excitement or even love, but this is rarely true. Actually, you’re just more comfortable being in each other’s presence. For example, binging your favorite television show while wearing your least flattering pajamas and stuffing your face full of cheetos doesn't faze you.
All of this being said, an increase in compassionate love doesn’t mean you have to lose the spark forever. With a little effort, you can ensure the romantic part of your relationship continues to burn bright. Below are some counseling tips to help couples entering this phase of their life together:
1. Create a Passion Wheel
To help you each experiment with trying new things, a passion wheel can be implemented. To create this device, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen. On the paper, draw a circle and divide it up into 12 slices. Then each of you will take turns writing in romantic or sexual activities you’d like to do with each other. You can either alternate activities or use a pen to spin on the circle and land on a random pick.
2. Keep It Physical
Regular physical contact with your partner is important for maintaining intimacy. Although this should include some sex, it is not the only physical act you should focus on. Just touching your spouse’s hand or giving them hugs when you see them will help to increase the oxytocin levels in both of your brains. When this occurs, you’ll each feel closer to one another. As a bonus, consistent physical contact will help to boost both of your immune systems.
3. Make New Memories
It’s very easy for couples to get stuck in a rut, but boredom can quickly breed emotional separation. Make an effort to do something out of the ordinary together at least once a week. Breaking your usual routines will help to keep your relationship fun and will allow you to maintain a certain level of excitement. Also, this will create a boost of dopamine—a neurotransmitter that helps to control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and produces the feeling you get when first dating someone—in your systems.
4. Put Your Partner First
In a 2012 study from the University of Toronto, psychologists discovered that the most important factor for keeping a spark alive in a long-term relationship was for each spouse to put the other’s needs first. When you put your wife or husband’s happiness before your own—either in or out of the bedroom—you’ll both receive greater satisfaction in your relationship.
5. Make Sex a Priority
Although some make it sound like sex should always be spontaneous and easy, this is very rarely the case—especially when you’ve been together for a long time. Sometimes desires can wane but being open and communicating with one another is the first step in finding a way to spice up your bedroom life. If you both have very hectic schedules, it might even be prudent for you to schedule in this time together so it is not forgotten. As long as it works for the both of you and you put in the effort to try, you should not see your spark go out.
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