5 Meaningful Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in a Relationship

31 May

When you have finally met that special someone, it’s not uncommon to think that you have reached your ‘happily ever after’. The truth is, happily ever after is not the result of the sparks that flew around when you met, but rather the work that is put into the relationship as you go along.

Keep the spark alive

How to keep the spark alive in a relationship

Perhaps counterintuitively, working at your relationship keeps the spark alive automatically. What happens when you consciously take the time to ‘invest’ in the relationship with the following points below, they will become habitual over time and your relationship will flourish. So what are they? What things can you do to keep the spark alive in your relationship?

Radical generosity

Several psychologists argue that we need to give more than we expect to receive in our relationships. The trick is not to be giving from a place of obligation, but from a place of compassion. That is from a place of wanting to elevate your partner and ‘invest’ in the relationship. Many couples argue about who did what when and whose turn it is to do something.

The arguments evolve around the idea that relationships are and must be ’50/50′. This is unhelpful and keeps people thinking in terms of losses and gains. Unintentionally your partner becomes somebody you have to argue with, rather than a source of warmth, relaxation, and fun. Stop cooking or cleaning because it’s your turn, do it because you want to. Don’t have sex because you feel obligated to, do it because you want to get close to your partner.

Don’t let the little stuff build up

It’s not necessarily the big disagreements that erode a relationship, it’s the numerous smaller negative ones that do. The minor annoyances, like not taking the rubbish out, or consistently forgetting to replace the loo roll that don’t get mentioned. It’s the snarky comments, the eye rolls, the huffs and sighs, the put-downs that don’t get talked about. Insidiously these small annoyances that don’t get mentioned or talked about, but build up over time and fester as resentment.

Five-to-one

In a similar vein, for every negative interaction, ensure you have five positive interactions. Adopt a mindset of positive affirmation. Remember to tell your partner that you care about them, give them compliments and positive feedback at every opportunity. Show your gratitude for the things they do. Allow for celebrations of any successes or personal highlights. Think of every positive encounter as a deposit, and you want to make as many deposits as possible. Every negative encounter is a withdrawal. You want to have far more ‘social currency’ deposited to mitigate for any withdrawals. The greater the amount of positive deposits, the easier it becomes to overcome relational difficulties.

Spend at least 15 hours of quality time a week together

Many people think that it’s better, as a couple, to have different interests so that there is something to talk about. However, it may be that sharing interests and hobbies foster a great likelihood of conversation. The idea behind spending a sizable amount of quality time together (binging Netflix series doesn’t count), you strengthen and reinforce the relationship. There may be couples who can’t bear to spend a huge amount of time together, and their relationship may be more functional than emotionally connected. This advice would not make sense to them. But for those who appreciate the spark and emotional connection, spending quality time together enhances the relationship bonds.

Plan for fun and intimacy

It might sound archaic to plan for fun. Why not be spontaneous about it? The reality is, once the honeymoon period is over, the daily grind kicks in and we tend to get busy. The relationship to a certain extent gets taken for granted and there is a tendency to forget to nurture the fun and intimacy. Make it a habit to spend time together where you engage in activities that are not sedate. This can also extend to the sex life, where if couples initially work at having sex regularly it (ironically) can become spontaneous.

If you find that you are struggling to keep the spark alive in your relationship and would like further advice about how to manage the minor annoyances and frustrations, or to get tips on how to reconnect with your partner in a more meaningful way, get in touch today and book in a complimentary consultation with me.

by Dr Madeleine Mason Roantree

Psychologist

Madeleine has over 15 years of experience in psychology, where she is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Applied Positive Psychology. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Counselling Psychology, and is member of the British Psychological Society, the International Positive Psychology Association & Dating Industry Professionals Network.More by this author

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