Have you and your partner been together for ages — or are you still sailing along in the honeymoon phase? No matter how long you’ve been a twosome, it’s always smart to take a step back from your relationship to give it a tune-up.
In fact, all relationships need TLC. Without it, partners get lazy and the spark dies out, says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a New York City relationship counselor who has doled out relationship advice to couples for over 20 years.
Her best advice? "Try to remember what attracted you to your partner in the beginning
of your relationship. Feel it again and keep it fresh in your mind."
Here, Firstein offers five no-fail tips for recharging your relationship.
Try a Little Tenderness
Here’s a rule of thumb that seems like a no-brainer, but often gets forgotten in the rush of daily life: Be nice to each other! It’s all too easy to take your partner for granted and get wrapped up in kids and work, says Firstein. Instead, try this: Take a moment every day to pay your partner a compliment. "Go out of your way to make your partner feel special and important," she says.
One piece of relationship advice all experts agree on? Communication is key.
When was the last time you went out of your way to have a real conversation with your partner — one that you didn't rush through? "Have a genuine interest in every aspect of your mate's life the way you did when you first met and started dating,” says Firstein. “Ask questions and really listen to what they have to say. Be interested in how they
feel and what they think."
Add Oomph to Your ‘Thank You’
Do you remember the last time you told your honey how much you appreciate him?
A healthy relationship is a blessing, so say thanks with both words and with deeds.
If your wife usually gets home from work late, surprise her one night with a homemade, late-night meal. If your husband is usually in charge of yard duty, give him the day off and get out there with the mower yourself.
Abandon Your Comfort Zone
You don’t have to splurge on the expensive or the exotic — any change of pace can
be good for a relationship that has gotten into a rut. "If you are in a routine as a couple, just do something totally new and different. Trying new things always sparks something unexpected," says Firstein. It could be as simple as going to a new restaurant or going to a concert instead of watching a movie on your own sofa. Instead of eating breakfast with the kids, have breakfast in bed. Instead of watching the news, go for an
And Don’t Forget to Have Sex Tonight!
Remember: Romance is one of the most important parts of intimacy. Look for unexpected ways to show your sexual interest. "Try acting like you can't keep your hands off each other," suggests Firstein. Plan a special breakfast in bed or take a shower together. And if you are a couple with kids, it is crucial to have some private time. "Why not get away for a weekend together, even if it is just at a hotel down the street?" says Firstein.
Can you remember why you fell in love in the first place? Then you’re off to a great start.
Learn more in the Emotional Health Center.