You can bring the spark back into your relationship by remembering what brought you two together, listening to the needs of your partner, and finding space for things you both enjoy.
Rekindling a relationship may not always be possible. If there’s mutual love, however, you may both want to put in the work to spark the flame and strengthen your connection for the long run.
Yes, it’s possible to rekindle love, passion, and trust in a relationship. But, it might depend on the circumstances that led to the current challenges. It may also require that you choose love every day.
You’ve probably experienced the giddy feeling when you develop a crush or start dating someone new. That “spark” is often the result of a cocktail of sex hormones and feel-good substances like dopamine and norepinephrine.
As time passes, that thrill may subside. It might give space to love, if you both nurture the bond.
If you nourish your relationship, your brain may increase the production of hormones that facilitate attachment, such as oxytocin and vasopressin. During this stage, you may start to cultivate a closeness that lasts a lifetime.
This doesn’t mean you won’t face ups and downs, though.
You may not be able to recreate the overwhelming feeling of infatuation from early in your relationship. But it’s possible to reach new depths of intimacy that can bring you closer than ever, and have a healthy and lasting relationship.
Many things can deteriorate a romantic relationship, depending on both your needs and expectations.
Some examples include:
- neglecting communication. Poor communication can make it difficult to empathize with each other. This can lead to contempt, which is one of the biggest predictors of divorce.
- not spending meaningful time together. Many couples see each other every day, but don’t prioritize quality time. This can lead to feeling like roommates.
- not appreciating each other. It’s easy to begin to take your partner for granted over time, but a lack of gratitude can degrade your relationship’s intimacy.
- breaking the trust. Feeling safe with one another is key to growing in love. Dishonesty and infidelity, for example, may kill the flame, so to speak.
Revisiting your relationship roots can help rekindle the romance. In fact, new research shows that nostalgia is associated with greater relationship commitment, reported satisfaction, and a sense of closeness.
“When I meet with a couple for couples counseling, the first thing I always do is ask questions about the beginning of the relationship,” says Amanda Baquero, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Coral Gables, Florida.
To tap into nostalgia, Baquero suggests visiting the place you first met, your old favorite date spot, or looking through old photos together. It’s not about reliving your honeymoon phase. It’s about remembering what made you fall in love in the first place.
Other tips include:
- reading old chats or messages you exchanged during good times
- making a list of all the things that brought you together
- naming a few things your partner has done for you
- listening together to “your” songs
- revising your couple bucket list
2. Focusing on communication
Good communication can help you clarify misunderstandings, let each other know how you feel and what you expect, and deepen your connection. All of these are key to rekindling love and trust.
3. Bringing back the romantic gestures
Consider asking your partner how they like to be loved or rather, what things make them feel loved and appreciated. Is it time with them? Maybe it’s getting gifts once in a while? Perhaps they prefer you verbally express love. Using their love language can help bring you back together.
Someone whose love language is words of affirmation may prefer receiving compliments or love letters, whereas someone who appreciates acts of service may feel loved when you complete a project around the house or cook them a meal. The three other love languages are receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
You may be surprised to find that your partner’s love language is different than your own.
Being loved in the way you appreciate the most may be one of the most important ways to rekindle a broken relationship.
4. Practicing gratitude
“Oftentimes, when we are in a long-term relationship, we start to take each other for granted,” Baquero says. “One great way to reignite the spark in your relationship is to make time to practice gratitude with each other.”
Rather than simply saying “thank you” more often, consider taking note of actions your partner does that you appreciate. Then, try to share this gratitude verbally or in a note as often as you can.
This practice not only makes your partner feel more appreciated and endeared toward you, but it also helps you grow your sense of gratitude organically.
5. Scheduling date nights
Many couples stop dating after moving in together or getting married because they no longer need to plan to see each other. But this may take away some of the excitement of spending time together.
“There is a myth that sex should be spontaneous. Life can get busy and things can get in the way of being physically intimate with your partner,” says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a certified sex therapist. “Planning ahead can build anticipation and excitement.”
6. Try new things together
If date nights become repetitive, Baquero recommends trying out a new hobby together.
“A great strategy to combat [staleness in a relationship] is to plan out and try new activities together,” she says.
Baquero’s suggestion is backed by a
After sharing a new experience, you may notice an increased level of closeness with your partner.
- joining a sports team
- taking a dance class
- trying a new cuisine
- going camping
- planning a weekend getaway
7. Kissing more often
If you and your partner enjoyed kissing at the beginning of your relationship, making it a more common occurrence again could reignite romantic feelings.
Kissing causes your brain to release oxytocin and serotonin, promoting bonding, as well as helping you relieve stress and anxiety.
“Continuing to hug, kiss, [and] snuggle is an important component of a healthy relationship and will increase the likelihood of remaining sexually active with your long-term partner,” says Needle. “Show your affection with hugs and kisses often, not always as a prelude to intercourse.”
It’s common for long-term romantic partners to reach impasses in their relationships.
Signs that you may benefit from seeking support from a mental health professional include:
- always arguing about the same topic with little progress
- arguments that frequently escalate into fights
- general dissatisfaction in your relationship
- personal challenges with your mental health
- emotional unavailability
Marriage and family therapists, counselors, and sex therapists may help you navigate challenging moments and learn new techniques for connecting with your partner, from communication to sexual intimacy.
You can rekindle your relationship by revising your roots, doing new things together, practicing gratitude, and kissing more. Getting professional support may also help the process.
As long as both partners are willing to stay open-minded and try new techniques, the next phase of your relationship can be deeply fulfilling. Once you identify your relationship’s core areas of improvement, the path forward becomes clearer.