Posted by John Aiken, 2 September 2015: When you first get together with your new partner the excitement level is off the charts! Everything is new and exciting. You’re meeting friends, having great sex, sharing different experiences together and spending as much time together as possible.
But as time rolls on, this state fades as you begin to form a long-term attachment with your new partner. For many couples, this is the time when complacency can set in and you fall into bad habits. The passion then fades, the spark disappears and everything seems to become routine and boring.
You no longer have regular sex. You spend more time in your track-suit pants than ever before. You can’t be bothered going out on date nights. You go to bed at different times. You stop asking questions and taking an interest in each other. You drink more than you should. You stop exercising and hang out more with your own friends. And when you are together, the TV is usually on, or you’re focused on your phone, computer, or ipad.
If this sounds familiar then it’s time to shake things up. If you want different you have to do different.
So here are 5 ways to put the passion back into your relationship:
1 Organise a Surrender Date
One of the most important things that all couples must do to stop complacency setting in is to try out new things. A great way to do this is to have a Surrender Date once a week. This sees one person organize everything for the date – taxi ride, tickets, restaurant reservation, hotel room, dresses their partner, chooses the perfume, orders off the menu for them etc. The other person simply surrenders and says “yes”. It’s a date that you want rather than something for your partner. It allows them to learn about what you like, it’s fun and exciting, you get couple time, and it evens out the power roles in the relationship. Then the next week you reverse it.
2 Turn off the technology
Technology was meant to create greater connection between couples, but unfortunately it can have the opposite effect of creating distance. Passion tends to get put on the backburner when you’re busy focusing on posting new Instagram pics, Facebook updates, tweets and watching Youtube. To get the spark back in your relationship you need to put boundaries around your technology use. Have tech free date nights, don’t answer your phone after 7pm, keep the computer out of the bedroom, and focus on talking to your partner rather than updating your social media.
3 Have weekends away
A weekend away is a great strategy for bringing back the passion. Rather than choosing the same favourite getaway place to reconnect, go somewhere that’s new and different. That way you can share this fresh experience together, get away from old routines and create a new memory that brings you closer. Be creative, get outside your comfort zone and try and do this once a month.
4 Review your sex life
Couples that talk about sex have a much better sex life. So if you want to spice up this side of your relationship then you need to discuss it. Rather than just letting it become an occasional thing you do together when you’re not too hungover, talk to your partner about what you want different moving forward. What needs to change? How often do you want sex? What hits your buttons and what turns you off? What makes sex more enjoyable for you? Be delicate with this conversation and reassure each other that things are good – but you want even better! Then make it a priority. The more sex you have – the more you’ll want to have sex.
5 Establish rituals of connection
If you want a spark in your relationship then you have to make time to connect on a daily basis. Think little and often rather than grand gestures once a month. For instance, prioritise hellos and goodbyes in the mornings and evenings, go to bed at the same time, have a 15 minute daily debrief every night before the TV goes on, and get up slightly earlier so you can have a morning coffee together. Sleep in on Sundays and have sex, send a thoughtful text during the day, meet for lunch and have a favourite programme you can both watch on TV each week.
John Aiken, Findsomeone’s dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit TV 3 show Married At First Sight. He is a best selling author, appears regularly on TV, radio and in magazines, is a clinical psychologist and runs a private practice in Sydney, is a sought after speaker, and offers intensive couples retreats. (www.johnaiken.com.au)