With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you have likely been thinking about how you plan to spend the weekend with your significant other. Although acknowledging the holiday is important, February 14th is not your only chance to mix things up or to show that you care. Truthfully, relationships need nurturing 365 days of the year—otherwise, you risk growing apart and hurting both you and your partner.
While dating and in marriage, participants must choose to actively work to keep their love alive. If your relationship is in need of a little TLC, this month is the perfect time to get back on track. Read below for ideas on how to rekindle sparks that may be burning out:
Try new things together.
If you have been in the same relationship for years or decades, it may feel like your life has become the same, day in and day out. In order to keep your relationship fresh and interesting, you have to do things that are fresh and interesting. Skip your Friday night takeout routine and instead opt for a new, fancy restaurant; take a mini-vacation when you both have the weekend off work; try a new extreme sport that makes you both nervous; learn a new skill together. Whatever you choose to do, make it bold and out of the ordinary—you will make new memories and grow closer together because of it.
Don’t stop the courting process.
When you are trying to “get” the guy or girl, going out of your way to impress him or her comes naturally. Once you have been in the same relationship for a while, however, it is easy lose perspective and to stop the courting process. Just because you are in a long-term relationship does not mean you get to stop trying—and people who do will likely end up alone.
Love notes, flowers, date nights, birthdays, and anniversaries do not disappear or become less important simply because you are committed to someone for the long haul. Romantic gestures, surprises, and sacrifices are all necessary elements of healthy relationships. Love is a living thing that does not keep, and constantly choosing to make your partner feel loved will make all the difference in your relationship.
Make time for physical needs.
Depending on your specific relationship, the people involved will have different physical needs. Be respectful of your partner’s sexual desires, but do not disregard other aspects of your relationship—hugging, handholding, and kissing are all important romantic elements that often get pushed aside as relationships progress. Just because you are comfortable being intimate together does not mean you can’t still enjoy the little things like cuddling while watching movies or holding hands as you walk around in public. Physical closeness strengthens your emotional connection and, by treating your physical relationship like it is new and exciting, you will find that it genuinely feels newer and more exciting.
Remember the good times.
If your relationship is in a rut, take time to remember what made you fall in love in the first place. Focus on the good qualities your partner possesses, and remind yourself how lucky you are to have someone who meshes with you so well.
Try recreating old dates, visiting places that are significant your relationship, or catching up with old friends. The “honeymoon” phase of your romance may not last forever, but the memories do—and the foundation of your relationship was built during those memories. Mindfully focus on your past, and use it to make an even more amazing future.
Even in the best of situations, relationships are hard work. Be patient with your partner and allow for plenty of friendship, romance, and spontaneity. Grow together as a couple as well as individuals, and never forget to show your partner that you care through your words and through your actions.