If the spark is gone from your relationship, don't chalk it up to an inevitable metamorphosis from romance to routine. Familiarity doesn't necessarily have to extinguish excitement -- if it's feeling that way, it is time you moved back toward intimacy. Follow these expert suggestions to reignite the spark.
Looking Back to Find the Magic
Your relationship may feel drab, flat or empty of romance, but it once had magic to spare. Psychologist Barbara Markway, Ph.D., suggests both you and your spouse look backward and remember the details of when it was exciting. Tell each other stories from the time you were falling in love; the miracle of the first kiss; your first night together; and how you couldn't bear to be apart. These backward glances are more than nostalgic -- they give you information about the strengths in your relationship that you can build on now to increase hope and motivation. Try it in bed and see what happens.
Performing Small Acts of Kindness
The sooner you understand that the fire of romance is stoked well before bedtime, the sooner you will regain the magic. Dr. Markway sees a direct relationship between the heat a couple generates early in a relationship and the hundreds of nice things each did for the other when they were first dating. Caring behavior can be blatantly romantic -- like a gift of red roses -- or simply thoughtful and kind, like bringing him a cold drink when he's working in the garden. Small gestures are the lifeblood of a romantic relationship because they make you feel cherished.
Getting Back to Romantic Behavior
The road back to romance doesn't necessarily have to take you through a store selling erotic items. According to Dr. Markway, loving behavior out of bed leads to sparks in bed. Walk hand in hand with your spouse under the stars, sing her a love song or take him out for a romantic dinner and dancing. Offer your spouse one loving gesture a day for a month -- the results might surprise and delight both of you.
Putting Your Partner's Needs First
Self-sacrifice may not sound very sexy, but, according to psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, it's what keeps the sexual spark alive in long-term relationships. Each partner in a successful relationship is willing to sacrifice what would bring him most happiness in order to please his spouse. Experts contrast this communal model with the exchange model, where a spouse weighs his contributions against those of his spouse. Self-sacrifice works in bed, as well as out, to create intimacy. Dr. Whitbourne counsels that wanting to please your spouse in bed can be more exciting than expecting her to pay back every sensual gesture.