Talk about it
To stop your relationship from continuing down its boring path, the first and best thing you can do is talk about it. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page, it will not work out.
Mention that you feel like your relationship has fallen into a rut and you want to shake things up. Throw out some ideas like going away for the weekend, rock climbing, or just exploring a nearby town.
Prioritize your relationship
Relationships need to be maintained; they don't just look after themselves. A couple whose relationship has grown stale may put the dirty dishes, feeding the cat, doing Pilates, and finishing the crossword puzzle before spending time with their partner.
Look after your relationship by aiming to have an uninterrupted time together every day and making that an important part of your day. Organize stuff that you both like to do ahead of time. This can feel strange at first if you've just been rubbing along for decades, but consider it a form of dating.
Listen to your partner
This tip is multifaceted. First, it is important to listen—really listen—to your partner. Ask him about his day and then actually be interested. (If you find it tough to be interested, you might want to practice some empathy skills training.) One client who came in because he and his wife were considering a divorce lamented, “She never even asks me about my day. She just complains about hers.” Your partner wants to be heard and understood.
Another reason to listen to your partner is because your partner is telling you what he or she wants from you. What kinds of things does he say or do to tell you that he loves you? For example, when we were first married, I realized my husband often told me “I am so proud of you” when I was talking about my work. At first, I just said, “thanks,” but then I realized that was what he needed to hear from me. And when I started telling him that I was proud of him, I could tell that he felt really loved from me.
Give good compliments
Compliments are powerful; use them. So many couples come to feel that it is their role in life to point out what is 'wrong' with their partner and assume that 'what is right with them' is understood and doesn't need saying. This is a big mistake! Find things to compliment your partner about regularly. But how you compliment is vital.
Don't just give empty compliments such as: "You are wonderful!" This may be nice to hear, but it's not specific. People know they are not wonderful in allways. We are more likely to feel a compliment is sincere if it's linked to an event or time. For example:
"That was great the way you handled that rude man in the bank. You were so calm and you stood your ground!" or "I'd forgotten what a fantastic dancer you are! The way you danced tonight was amazing!"
Your partner needs to be able to relate to the compliment.
Catch up at night
It's easy to fall into bed, maybe have sex, then pass out night after night. Or maybe you two go to sleep at different times, or you use the hour right before bed to get in another chapter of the latest book you're into.
That's all well and good, but start taking time at night to lie in bed and really focus on talking to each other even if it's just for 10 minutes. It provides an opportunity to make the other person feel listened to in a way that can be hard to incorporate during everyday life.
Keep the thrills
One of the biggest mistakes that couples make is that they put the emphasis in their long-term maintenance on romance – date nights at romantic restaurants for candle-lit dinners and soft music, trying to remind themselves of what it was like when things were new.
But while this may remind you of those lovey-dovey moments from early in your courtship, it’s actually not what you want to bring the spark back to your relationship. This isn’t to say that romance is bad, but when it comes to rekindling passion, you don’t want “sweet” or “romantic”. You want excitement, and you’re not going to get that by trying to recreate soft-focus montages from romantic comedies.
So skip the romantic dinners for dancing, rock climbing or chugging some coffee and hitting some roller-coasters instead.
Even though you’re aware that your relationship needs a perk up, once date night comes around, what is stopping you from plopping down on the sofa and watching TV?
Invite others into your plans to give yourself more accountability. If you have a double date planned, you are less likely to cancel or fall into your rut. Ask another couple you know to go bowling, mini golfing, or to an escape room. This keeps things exciting, and hanging out with other couples can keep things fresh.
Spend time apart
Part of the reason couples get so comfortable is because they start spending 24/7 together! An easy way to remedy this one is by taking some time alone so it's more of a treat when you really get to be together.
Make more plans with your friends, pick up a new hobby in addition to the one you're doing together, or stay late at work to get that promotion. Solo time will help you both keep evolving, which is key for a healthy relationship.
Reunited and it feels so good
When you and your partner reunite—at the end of a day, when one of you comes back from a trip, or even when you wake up—do something to show your love. When your partner comes home, for example, stop what you are doing (within reason) and devote just a few seconds to being completely present with her.
Give her a hug or kiss, look her in the eyes, and ask her how she is. Put down your phone, pause the TV, turn down the stove… do whatever you need to focus even just a short amount of time on your partner. You both will feel much more connected.
What if nothing works?
Sometimes none of these will work. That doesn’t mean your relationship is beyond repair, just that you may need a helping hand in repairing it. Couples therapy can give you a closer look at what got you into a boring relationship in the first place so you can find the perfect way to have fun again.
Switching up your routine and reigniting the flame can work, but finding a professional who can get to know you and your partner on a deeper level will help you tremendously.
Whether you relationship might be in a fog, or you are just looking to add a little bit of fun to your date nights, do at least one of these suggestions to add a little bit of playfulness back into your relationship. You no longer have to yawn your way through dinner and snore your way through dessert.