As a couple’s therapist, I hear a lot how couples lose passion over time or “lose the spark”. If you are feeling a lack of passion in your relationship, then you are also probably questioning whether or not you can get it back. In the beginning of your relationship, there was tons of passion and “spark”, otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten into the relationship in the first place. As time passes and different life phases come along, passion can decrease. If this is your relationship, answer these questions to see whether or not your relationship can be passionate again.
1. Are you creating opportunities for passion?
Having regular routines and day-to-day habits are helpful to make life function, but they can dramatically impact whether or not there is passion in your relationship. Having the same old date nights, dinner together, etc, is great, but not passionate. To create opportunities for passion, you have to be diligent in getting outside of the norm. What are activities you and your partner want to try, but haven’t yet? Where could you go on a spontaneous road trip? Has your partner suggested things outside of the norm, but you have rejected them? Once you and your partner start engaging in activities outside of the usual date night, passion will start to increase. These activities allow for spontaneity and adventure which are naturally thrilling in a relationship.
2. Are you having conversations outside of day-to-day stuff?
Frequently, when couples come into therapy they find that their relationship has become boring. Over time, couples stop staying up late to talk to their partner, they stop engaging in conversations outside of “how was your day?”, and they don’t try to have in-depth conversations with their partner. At the beginning of your relationship, you had to learn about your partner. Thus, you started asking questions about who your partner is, what excites them, what fears do they have, what struggles are they facing, what are their goals and aspirations, etc. But, think about the last time that you had a conversation like this with your partner. Most likely, it has been long ago. Relationships and people change over time, which means that it is important to continually be having conversations (such as these) with your partner to stay passionate and connected with them. Don’t come to the point where you are saying, “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”
Instead, set aside uninterrupted time for you and your partner to have a meaningful conversation. Go into this with an open mind (you may realize that you don’t know everything about your partner – and that’s the point of this exercise!), be curious, and reciprocate! Open up to your partner as well and be vulnerable with them. Nothing can help build passion more than getting to know the depths of each other.
3. Can you have differences of opinions?
This is a tough one! Many couples feel that their partner should have the same opinion as they do, and if their partner does not agree with their opinion, then World War III happens to try and prove that they are “right”. But, consider this – if you and your partner agreed about everything, would there be any opportunity for passion? Differences of opinions can be intriguing. When there is a difference of opinion between you and your partner, get curious as to why they have the opinion that they do. The purpose of this is NOT to change their opinion, but rather, discover what makes your partner uniquely them. Having a rational, and calm conversation about differences of opinion can allow you and your partner to be become more passionate with each other because you realize that you aren’t the same person and that’s just fine. If you wanted to be passionate with yourself then you wouldn’t be in a relationship!
4. Do you still take time for yourself?
It’s important for couples to enjoy spending time together, but as previously mentioned, you and your partner DO NOT need to be the SAME person! When you first met, you were spending a lot of time together, but more likely than not, you were also making time for yourself and your circle of friends (unrelated to your partner’s circle of friends). Are you still taking time for yourself? Or, because of the hectic life that you live, have you neglected your own self-care? Time away from your partner can be healthy! You don’t need to spend every waking minute together. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. And this couldn’t be more true! If you want to have passion in your relationship, you have to be growing individually as a person (by balancing the things that you enjoy) while creating space for you to miss your partner’s presence.
So, now that you have read this blog, how does your relationship check out? If the passion is missing, try engaging in these exercises so that your answers to these questions can be “yes” instead of “no”. Passion can most definitely be restored if the right effort is put into it.
Amanda Cummins is an associate therapist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She focuses on working with couples in distress as well as families and children in transitions. As a Denver Native, Amanda enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family.