Maybe you’ve noticed how you and your spouse don’t have fun or interact in the same way you did when you were dating or first married. Is it because of the kids, you wonder? Have we been married too long? Lack of vacation? Maybe those things you did together seem appealing, but you’re unsure if it’s possible to bring them back and feel the same way. Or maybe you’re just skeptical that love notes and affirmation would have any effect on your relationship. Let me eliminate your doubt…they will!
There is a reason when you first started dating that you felt so attractive and special to your partner. To clarify, no, it wasn’t the flowers or special places, or the pet names, but the meaning behind those things to your brain. Your brain helps regulate your emotions. You may have heard of, oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.” This hormone is released when breastfeeding or during sex. But did you know it helps create trust, empathy, and longing for that person, in addition to bonding? Did you know you can create this same emotional bond on a day-to-day basis? You can have the same “I can’t stop thinking about you” phase of dating, even now.
Our brains are naturally drawn toward what makes us feel loved and appreciated. For example, if you’re like many Americans, you might have a cup of coffee each morning. You probably look forward to it, rely on it, and enjoy it while you drink it, all creating a fondness for coffee. What happens in the morning you walk out without it? Or you were running late and didn’t have time? Yikes! For most people there is an instant sense of sadness, longing, disappointment, and the desire to find a way to get it. Our brains do the same thing with love. So, here are some tips to bring back the “spark” in your relationship.
- Do something new consistently. This gets the brain counting on it. Maybe a text every day at lunch, a kiss before leaving, a cup of coffee.
- Do something unexpected. This keeps your partner’s brain looking for you. Write a note expressing your love and appreciation, plan a workday lunch outing, send flowers, try a new show in the city, or plan a day of relaxation.
- Have a date night without the kids. Make time to be alone. This eliminates distractions so you can focus on one another.
- Ask your partner about his or her day and take genuine interest, signaling your partner’s importance to you.
- Notice when your partner does something you like and tell them. Maybe he made dinner and put the kids to bed, ironed your shirt, ran an errand for you, or mowed the lawn. Point out that you notice these things and show appreciation. This makes the other person more likely to keep doing those things and feel loved and appreciated.
Do something for your loved one. This tells your partner’s brain that you are thinking about him or her. Find out what would be helpful or make them feel important and do it.We all want to feel connected and important to our significant other. We have made them significant for a reason. Risk being more intentional in your relationship, and you will quickly see the positive rewards!