6 Easy Ways You Can Recharge Your Relationships
The Need to Recharge and Reconnect
You’re in a long-term relationship. You love and respect each other, but it’s all a bit ho-hum. The spark is gone.
Before you blame yourself, your partner, or the relationship, consider the following. The human brain is programmed to adapt to things it’s exposed to day after day. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: hedonic adaptation.
The tendency to adapt works fine when the experience is negative. It gives us the strength to go on after loss and through grief. But it’s a drag when we get so used to our happy experiences that we get bored.
You can counteract the slow decline of passion and joy in your relationships by consciously resetting your brain so that it doesn’t derail your happiness. Here are six ways to recharge your relationships and reconnect with your partner.
1. Cultivate Positive Experiences Together
Instead of waiting for those positive moments to happen, plan them. Behave the way you want to feel.
Small acts of love build trust. Send a text message to support your partner through a difficult day. Sit down together after dinner for a caring conversation. Take out the trash when it’s not your turn.
Schedule time alone together. A date night twice a month, even if it feels awkward at first, gives you time and space to reconnect.
Exercise together. Go biking on Saturday mornings. Walk together in the evening.
Have fun together. Go bowling. Play catch on the lawn. Find activities that you both enjoy, and let yourselves go.
2. Inject Variety and Surprise into Your Shared Activities
Novelty fosters bonding. When couples share new and exciting activities, it enhances their relationship.
Add variety to your play and exercise. Try something new: cross-country skiing or river rafting. On date night, try a new restaurant. Take a new route on your weekly hike.
Take a vacation without the kids. Go somewhere new, somewhere you both agree would be fun. If your budget doesn’t allow for long trips, borrow a friend’s’ cabin for a long weekend.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t be predictable.
3. Show Your Appreciation for Each Other
Feeling appreciated is a big deal. Research shows that people who feel that their partners appreciate them appreciate their partners more. In addition,
- partners are more committed to their relationship
- partners respond more to their partner’s needs
- partners are more likely to remain in the relationship
Appreciation builds deeper emotional connection. Say “thanks” when your partner does something right. Notice small things and give credit where it’s due.
Tell your partner how much your relationship means to you. What would your life be like if you’d never met your mate? Take time every day to be grateful for the good things in your relationship.
4. Encourage, Don’t Criticize
Criticism, especially when it manifests itself as sarcasm, tears people down. Your job as a partner is to build up.
One of the most important things you can do for your relationship is to encourage each other. Look for the positive things. Keep your sense of humor. Give honest and specific praise when it’s due.
Be kind. Sometimes we forget, in the heat of the moment, that we have tremendous power to hurt our nearest and dearest. There’s no room for threats or spite when your intention is to stay connected.
Close partners “sculpt” one another. They shape one another’s skills and traits and promote one another’s goals. The effect is known as the “Michelangelo Phenomenon” When partners support each other and acknowledge each other’s potential, both partners move toward their best selves. And their relationship becomes richer and more enduring.
5. Touch Each Other Often
Touch triggers a brain chemical, the hormone oxytocin. It’s been called the “love” hormone, or the “cuddle” hormone. When couples touch, they connect both physically and emotionally. Oxytocin lowers stress, increases bonding, and solidifies relationships. It also boosts sexual arousal and triggers protective instincts.
Going to bed at the same time, giving each other foot rubs, and touching lovingly set the stage for a better sex life. More, this kind of touch helps couples have deeper conversations and strengthens their bond with each other.
6. Listen and Share
Couples are usually able to listen to each other, at least enough to get by. But often we’re distracted by other things: social media, TV, cooking, supervising the kids, wondering who won the football game or trying to remember where we left the keys. But really listening means giving your partner your full attention.
Love is in the details. We need to share our loved one’s experience. Go beyond, “How was your day, dear?” Listen to your partner. Being curious. Ask for details. Show that you care.
Recharging and Reconnecting
When your relationship returns to a stable ho-hum, look for ways to rekindle that spark. Cultivate positive experiences together. Use variety and surprise to keep things interesting. Show your appreciation for each other. Support, don’t criticize. Touch each other often. Listen, and share the details of your lives.
Don’t let your happiness fade. Recharge intentionally and reconnect.