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Has your relationship lost its spark? Breathe new life into it to stop familiarity breeding contempt
The first in an occasional series on relationship issues by ProvenTherapy Director and Therapist, Matt Butler
Relationship feeling a little jaded? Lost the spark with your nearest and dearest? It’s unfortunately all too easy to take our partners for granted sometimes. The familiarity factor whereby we drift along in our most important relationships is common, though ultimately corrosive. We all need that extra spark in our relationships to keep them alive – the feeling that we are involved in something special; a frisson of excitement, a soupcon of … well … sauce. When in a committed relationship though we need to realise that we must act to make these things happen. This is vital in order to keep our relationships alive. It’s no accident that the word for keeping relationship alive is the same as that for keeping a fire going – relationships need kindling and re-kindling. The fire needs stoking. Ultimately such sparks of desire signify something we all yearn for but are sometimes phased by, maybe even a little scared of, intimacy and perhaps for some this is the root of the problem.
Relationship difficulties should remind us of the central importance of intimacy in our lives. Clearly a human desire, it is perhaps more than that, a human need.
Psychologist Robert Sternberg said, “Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still”. In an age of advanced communications it remains the case that people can still feel lonely amid apparent togetherness, even in outwardly committed relationships.
So, to keep your relationships kindled, re-kindled and positively fizzing here are ProvenTherapy’s tips for maintaining a great relationship.
6 tips to give your jaded relationship a boost
- Make a point of paying your loved one a compliment or two, pick out something you like about them and tell them you like it! Don’t lay it on too thick – just be honest about it
- Be physical but gentle. Take time for touch – a hug, a kiss .. and who knows, maybe something more ..
- Go on a date together. It’s so easy when in a long term relationship – especially if you have children – to get out of the habit of going out together so make a date and stick to it. Even if you can’t go out try taking time to dress up and have a candle lit dinner together indoors every once in a while
- Talk! Spend time each day talking to your significant other, find out what’s happening for them
- Listen! Take time to really listen to your partner. You might feel tempted to dive into communications with ‘answers’ or comments on your partner’s self-expression. Try not to act on these – really give them space to talk and freely express themselves. This will be time well spent
- Have some fun! Try not to take things so seriously. Even in the most difficult situations it is often possible to find some humour
In summary, if you find your relationship with your significant other is showing signs of strain then take some time out to re-connect – make time to rekindle those closest of relationships with tenderness, gentleness and understanding – before things have a chance to take a turn for the worse.