How To Rekindle The Spark

Men's Dating

How to Rekindle the Spark (5 Tips)

Hunt Ethridge

Written by: Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge is the co-founder and CMO of the MatchmakingAcademy.com as well as senior advisor and board of directors at other firms. He has been featured in well over 100 media sources and currently "coach on record" for most of the top matchmaking firms in the U.S. and internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Clubhouse.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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Falling in love is great! You get butterflies in your stomach when you think of that special someone, you write sappy poetry, and you moon over them to your friends. Your body is releasing dopamine, serotonin, some cortisol (the stress hormone), and your pulse races!

Eventually, around a year in, those infatuation hormones start to wear off and the fireworks of love turn into something with a slower, steadier burn. Young love becomes mature love, if you will. This is where everybody hopes to get if they want a life-long companion.  

However, sometimes at this point, or later in the relationship, you might feel a little like it’s on auto-pilot.  You find yourself doing the same things, having the same conversations – and you may feel like you’re in a rut.

Also, life is long. Sometimes you may find yourself growing apart as you attend to kids, a job, school, or other responsibilities. If you need to to bring the spark back into the relationship, this article is for you. Because you still need to date your girlfriend, fiancé, wife after you “catch” her!

1. Turn Toward Each Other

In his book “The Relationship Cure,“ John Gottman,  Co-Founder of the Gottman Institute, writes, “Maybe it’s not the depth of intimacy in conversations that matters. Maybe it doesn’t even matter whether couples agree or disagree. Maybe the important thing is how these people pay attention to each other.”

Photo of John Gottman
John Gottman is a relationship expert.

When we speak to each other, we’re constantly offering what the Gottman Institute calls “bids.”

As in, “Oh hey, look at that bird!” People can respond one of three ways: negatively (“I don’t have time to look at birds”), neutrally (“Um, that’s nice”), or positively “Cool!  What color is it?”).

In his work in couples therapy, John Gottman found that he could predict the length of a couple’s relationship by watching how they responded to each other.  Successful couples, whether new or mature, would turn toward each other’s bids. 

Take the time to hear what a person is saying and consciously turn toward their bid.

2. Reminisce 

Tap into nostalgia! You guys were head over heels for each other at one point. Go revisit the places that you frequented back in the day. They will be steeped with memories and emotions.  

Couple selfie outdoors
Photos capture emotions in a time capsule that’s fun to revisit.

Sometimes when you feel like everything is dull, you have to shake things up. What did you do when you first started dating? Go to the movies? Take walks on the boardwalk? Go back and do some of those things again.

You can also take a walk down memory lane with your photos. It should be pretty easy to find specific old photos. Sit down with your significant other and go through some of your favorite pics.  

Laugh at your outfits, retell stories of those nights, try to remember everyone’s name in the group shot.  It’s not necessarily about recreating the honeymoon phase. It’s about reconnecting with what made you fall in love in the first place.

3. Do New Things Together 

When you have been with someone for a long time, there’s a certain comfort to the predictability of life. You know which takeout places you’ll order from, which shows or movies you’ll watch, which friends you’ll hang out with, and what daily life looks like.  

Couple on a date
Couples can create new, exciting memories by planning unique date nights.

However, comfort can lead to complacency and stagnation. Most committed relationships end with a whimper when the emotional intimacy runs out.  

While yes, it’s great to know that Friday night is McDonald’s and movie night – to create new memories, we need to do new things.

So shake it up a little! When you do new things, your brain sends out a whole bunch of new chemicals and your synapses are wiring new pathways. These hormones produce emotions.  And those emotions produce memories!  

It can sometimes be hard to remember what we did last week because nothing changed enough to create new memories.

4. Make Time for Small Gestures & Date Nights 

When women get excited over flowers, it’s not really about the flowers. It’s about the fact that you thought of her, wanted to do something nice for her, went out of your way to make her happy, and used up some of your resources ($$) for it. That feeling never changes.  

The longer you’re in a relationship, the less often you may make these small gestures. But it’s worth picking that habit back up.

Photo of a man bringing flowers
Little things like bringing flowers and coffee home can make a difference.

Think of your significant other’s likes and interests. You might want to ask them if they want a specific treat or gift. This is fine, but it’s not as romantic as a surprise offering.

I recommend planning a date night, totally on your own, to do something memorable together. You can plan it with her or make it a surprise. 

Something fun to try is taking turns planning date activities. She can choose anything she wants to do, like getting a massage, going to that new tapas place, or seeing a tear-jerker movie together.  

And when it’s your turn, you can go axe-throwing, visit a barcade restaurant, or go putt-putting and go-kart racing. The trick is doing all the planning yourself. For the most part, we’re all good with whatever we’re doing, as long as we’re together. So have some fun!

5. Write Down a Bucket List

It’s easy to tell partners that we are going to do so many things “someday.”  I know that life can get in the way sometimes. Maybe you haven’t even really given some thought to what you’d like to do in your free time with your partner.  

Starting writing a to-do list that has nothing to do with errands or groceries. Ask your partner:  What do you want to accomplish? 

It might even be like the “Pina Colada Song.”  

“I never knew/ That you like piña coladas/ And gettin’ caught in the rain./ And the feel of the ocean,/ And the taste of champagne.”

Make an effort to cross things off your bucket list. Some of those dreams may be easy, like going to a drive-in movie. Others may take some work. It could be you want to catch a fish over 50 lbs, or run a marathon, or learn a new language.  

Discussing and figuring out how to get personal goals accomplished is part of being in a healthy, fulfilling relationship. It helps to have made a concrete list of things to look forward to in life!

Be Present With Your Partner to Fall in Love Again

There are many, many more things couples can do to reignite the spark. Pay more compliments. Plan double dates. Go on romantic getaways. Volunteer with an organization you care about. 

If you’re really feeling the strain, you may want to talk to a professional couples therapist to help bring the relationship back on track.  “Smile when you see each other. Just get into the habit of smiling at first sight,” wrote Alltexanalllday in a Reddit post. “Pick up something unexpected like a candy bar, flowers, magazine, and just say ‘Thought you’d like this.’  Do these things every day and the spark will come back.”