When dating your partner chances are passion came easy. As time progresses in a relationship couples must work harder to keep passion strong. According to Sternberg (1986) relationships can be mapped into a triangle where its points are intimacy, commitment, and passion. In order to keep your marriage or relationship growing passion is needed.
Why does passion fade over time?
There are stages to love. The first stage is called passionate love where everything feels exciting and it creates an intense longing/desire and attraction. Then as time progresses, love will move into the next stage called compassionate love, which is a blend of deep affection and connection. As humans we adapt, which means we become accustomed to situations, including those with whom we are in relationship. When things feel mundane, try out some of these unique ideas to reawaken the passion in your relationship.
Ideas to Increase Passion for Couples
Communicate your Appreciation- According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs we all have a desire for belonging. Research shows that when a person feels appreciated it gives them a sense of belonging. Many times, our spouses do things for us and it feels so routine that we forget to take the time to thank them for their efforts. Try not to let these things go unnoticed. Get in the habit of noticing their contribution and communicating it at least once a day. If there is not something that they do that you notice, point out something you like about them as a person.
Be Playful with One Another- In the busyness of life, it can be easy to be so serious you forget to have fun. What makes your partner laugh? Be intentional about making them smile. Tell one another jokes, tell about a funny memory you may have or even tickle them. If you don’t know what makes them laugh, ask them. Try watching funny movies or videos together at least once a week.
Do not be a Lone Ranger- Spend time with other couples or family. Be intentional about once a week making time for the two of you to be surrounded by others it is easier to get frustrated with each other if you never make time for yourselves and your friends and family. You do not want to be disengaged from the benefit of community and fellowship.
Be Curious- No matter how long you have been together it is impossible for you to know everything about your spouse. Be intentional by asking them questions. Is there a favorite memory you share? What do they want to see happen over the next year? What was interesting about their day? In a long-term relationship, the learning never ends. Stay clear of asking them questions about why they do things a certain way if you’re in the middle of a disagreement because this could come across as perceived criticism. We do not know why…and they may not either. Only God really knows why we do what we do, and so we should let it alone!
Increase the Excitement- If things feel stale keep things fresh by giving each other something to look forward to each week. Get out of the house. Try new things with another. Maybe you both enjoy cooking? Use your weekly date night to go to a cooking class together. Do not forget the power in a surprise. Being intentional about showing your love to your partner can be fun. Maybe you could write each other little love notes and put them throughout the house? Or maybe you could make them their favorite dinner when they get home from work?
Be intentional with Touch- This may be easier for some people than others. Studies show that oxytocin increases in our bodies when we are touched physically. Passion is linked to intimacy. Try to get in the habit of hugging your spouse when they come through the door or maybe holding their hand as you walk. One of the things that can decrease in relationships is sex. Life gets in the way and it can be pushed to the back burner. Be sure to have conversations with your partner about their expectations and make coming together a priority. It may seem artificial to have to put sex on the calendar, but with the type of schedule most of us have these days, it is a good idea to plan ahead!!
Resolve Conflicts Quickly- Disagreements happen. It is how we handle them that matters. The little things that bother us can add up. Be sure to try to address conflicts as they happen if at all possible, instead of letting it go without talking about it. The key in trying to work out your differences is listening to one another. Although you may not come to a resolve, you can at least show the other you validate how they feel about the matter. Here is an effective couple listening technique you can try.
Over time, if problems are left unresolved, they can build up. Sometimes the reason passion fades is because each partner has done their share of hurtful things to one another. Depending on the level of hurt, couples often find it difficult to navigate through on their own. In cases like these, it is best to reach out to a marriage counselor for help. Couples therapy is able to give you the tools you need to work on repairing your connection.