I have often heard people in long-term relationships say that love inevitably fades over time.
When I was younger, I doubted these claims and thought that if I found the “right person” things would always be exhilarating. As I grew up I discovered the unfortunate truth that things can easily become routine and less exciting, especially in a long-term relationship that spans over years or decades.
I absolutely love my partner, but I have to be honest, there are days when I feel a bit of a struggle and find it difficult not to reflect on the early honeymoon stage with a bit of longing.
A way that we combat boredom is by identifying ways that we can ensure that we stay connected and (for lack of a better phrase) ensure that “the spark” stays alive and burning.
Here are four things that we try to incorporate into our relationship especially when life gets hectic.
#1. Check out a new city at least once a year
This is a bit more difficult these days but in a post-pandemic world, this is easier than it may seem.
Often so many of us get into our routines and forget to see the places even a couple of hours away from us. I remember talking to a friend who had lived only thirty minutes from the Grand Canyon for over a year but never made the time to actually go see it.
Trips abroad are always romanticized, but you don’t need to leave the country to have an exciting experience with your partner.
This weekend we are having a staycation, taking our dog for some hikes, and planning an Italian dinner in our home complete with lights and decorations.
#2. Ask each other unique questions
One of my favorite things to do with my partner is asking unique questions even if some of them are ones that we have covered before. There are tons of card decks and games that can spark unique conversation and uncover things that you may have not known about your partner even if you have been together for years.
My personal favorite is the love languages question deck. We have used it on numerous road trips and even just while hanging out at home. The great thing is that the questions are extremely deep and unique in my opinion, so you can end up spending time on just a couple of cards.
Obviously, you don’t need a deck to ask questions. Take the time to ask your partner about their past dreams, what they want for the future, what they are struggling with within the present, and I guarantee that the conversations will flow.
#3. Schedule time in the bedroom to try something “new”
This is something that my younger self would scoff at if she saw me writing it now.
Intimacy was something that I thought would never become “a chore.”
That was before adding in living together, full-time jobs, a pet, and a global pandemic to the mix. For the past few months, intimacy hasn’t looked the same, and my partner and I have decided to have a conversation every month about what we what to try in the bedroom that is “new.”
Scheduling intimacy as a whole may seem a bit boring in theory but the reality is that you have to make time for it or else you may start feeling less connected to your partner. It can actually give you something to look forward to because if you take the time to have open conversations, you may both learn something new about the other person’s sexual preferences.
#4. Be creative and push yourself outside of your comfort zone
Recently I put together ideas in a slideshow format for my boyfriend that included ridiculous photos and meme’s to illustrate three options for his upcoming birthday
Although I personally believe I am awkward about doing cute things that are creative, I decided that it would be a great way to provide him choices as he doesn’t like surprises.
Because I took the time we decided to take a trip to wine country in a few months which we have never done together. The reality is that although thoughtful little things aren’t necessarily my forte it felt good knowing that taking a little extra time made a difference in my partner’s day.
The “spark” doesn’t have to be fireworks
I have been with my partner for years, and he is still the best part of my day. That being said, we prioritize our relationship and ensure that we are both making time for each other and communicating what our needs/wants are as they evolve.
When I was younger I believed that a relationship needed to involve constant fireworks and butterflies in your stomach.
What I didn’t know was that there would be no feeling like having the end of a long day and having your favorite person wrap their arms around you. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for all of the fireworks in the world.