Is your relationship feeling a little “meh” these days? Is your marriage no longer a happy marriage?
The passionate love you feel at the beginning of a new relationship, often referred to as Eros love, is due to a rush of dopamine and oxytocin experienced when meeting someone new. These hormones and reward brain stimulators make you feel excited and happy to be around your spouse.
But as time goes on and you get used to each other, these feelings lessen. This is a completely natural part of falling in love, but it may leave some couples feeling like something is missing in their relationship.
Whether finances are weighing you down with stress or you just can’t seem to find that spark you felt when you first met, all couples struggle to connect at some point in their marriage.
Here are 13 ways to reignite the passion and romance for a happy marriage.
1. Learn How to Communicate
It isn’t always easy to talk to a partner, especially if the news you have to share involves wrongdoing or has an awkward element to the subject matter. But it’s important to learn how to communicate.
Communication is the key to a happy marriage. Research shows that communicating with a spouse is closely related to heightened relationship quality.
You can contribute to a happy married life by learning how to communicate your wants, needs, and feelings to your spouse.
2. Boost Emotional Intimacy
Physical intimacy is one of the highest predictors in heightened emotional intimacy.
Pillow talk is another great way couples can bring the spark back into their relationship. This is because the fire associated with a passionate marriage starts with emotional intimacy.
Studies show that pillow talk improves relationship satisfaction and enhance closeness.
Research on what makes a lasting marriage found that couples were happier when they agreed on aims and goals and viewed their marriage as a sacred institution.
Studies on a lasting marriage showed that later life couples (ages 70-86) were more likely to emphasize the importance of emotional intimacy over any other marital quality.
3. Focus on Your Finances
In a Money Matters report, 68 percent of couples said they would rather reveal how much they weigh than talk about how much money they had in their savings accounts. Yikes!
Yes, money is a difficult subject for many people to talk about. Even couples!
Research shows that of 748 conflicts, money was the most repetitive and salient argument between partners.
These studies highlight the importance of communicating not only about your feelings but also about your finances.
Talk with your partner about budgeting, spending, and saving. Compromise and find a way to make your shared finances work in a way that won’t break the bank.
4. Do New Activities Together
One great way to maintain a happy married life is by trying new things with your spouse.
SAGE Journals found that couples who did exciting hobbies together had higher levels of marital satisfaction and were happier in their relationship.
Have you and your spouse been itching to get healthier? Why not do it together by taking up running, kickboxing, or taking another fun fitness class together?
Studies show that exercise is good for both your mental and physical health.
It also relieves stress, depression, and anxiety.
If exercise isn’t your thing, there are still many activities you can do with your spouse, such as:
- Learning a new language
- Playing an instrument together
- Starting a collection
- Learning to dance
- Going on nature walks
- Playing a sport together
5. Touch Often
The oxytocin hormone that is released during such physical touch as snuggling, holding hands, or being intimate has been shown to reduce anxiety and strengthen monogamy.
Research also indicates that oxytocin is largely responsible for feelings of happiness and trust between partners.
The more physically intimate you are with your spouse, the more likely you are to verbalize your love for one another.
6. Be Honest with Your Spouse
Honesty and trust are essential to a healthy relationship. It creates a sense of stability and honor in a marriage.
While sometimes the truth may hurt, it is important for partners to learn how to open up about potential problems in the relationship.
Spouses should agree to be honest, even when it is difficult to do so.
Trust improves communication and allows partners to be vulnerable with one another. This vulnerability creates a deeper emotional connection.
7. Show Appreciation Regularly
Does your partner do a lot for you or your family?
Perhaps they regularly take care of the family, cook meals, clean the house, or are the breadwinner of the house?
Nobody likes feeling taken advantage of – so the next time you feel appreciative of your partner, say so!
Studies show that marriages with partners who express gratitude also show the highest predictors in increased relationship satisfaction, commitment, self-expansion, intimacy, and goal pursuits.
You can show appreciation for your spouse by:
- Complimenting them on either their behavior or appearance
- Not forgetting your manners
- Being helpful
- Doing thoughtful things for your partner
- Write a thoughtful letter or card
- Give your spouse a break
8. Treasure Your Alone Time
Married couples experience a boost in happiness and a decrease in stress when spending quality time together, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make time for yourself.
Use alone time to focus on hobbies and activities that make you, well, you! This will strengthen your sense of self and make you feel more confident about your relationship.
9. Laugh Regularly
One way that couples can reignite the passion they once felt for one another is by embracing humor in their relationship.
Don’t take life so seriously.
Not only is laughing a great way to diffuse awkward situations or potential arguments, but research shows that shared laughter makes couples feel more satisfied and supported in a marriage.
Laughter also makes couples more likely to stay together than those who don’t make time for humor.
10. Have a Regular Date Night
Studies show that marital satisfaction is higher when spouses are best friends. One way to ensure this deep bond of friendship stays strong and fiery is to spend quality time together regularly.
Studies show that couples who have a regular date night are happier than those who don’t.
Having a date night once a week (or at least once a month) has been proven to improve communication, increase the romantic novelty often associated with new relationships, boost love, increase commitment, and reduce stress.
11. Take Care of Yourself
If you want to put the spice back into your marriage, you need to take good care of yourself.
Paying attention to your mental health is important, as is having a great diet and exercise.
Having a healthy body and mind will make you feel more confident and happier with yourself. Plus, your fit body and personal happiness will be an attractive quality to your partner.
Other avenues of self-care include:
- Taking care of personal grooming
- Brushing and flossing teeth daily
- Making sure you smell nice
- Getting dressed up for your spouse
- Putting effort into the way you look
12. Create Tech-Free Time in your Life
One survey of 243 married couples found that ignoring a partner in favor of a cell phone (often referred to as “phubbing” or “phone snubbing”) can undermine relationship satisfaction.
Phubbing becomes a serious risk for depression in married partners.
Fight against the negative addiction to smart devices by putting your phone away when your spouse is trying to talk to you.
Many couples also institute a “tech-free” time in their house. Perhaps during dinnertime or in the evening. During this time, phones, computers, and televisions are shut off and partners can give each other their undivided attention.
13. Keep an Air of Mystery
Harvard research shows that staying curious about a partner is healthy for couples.
While this is true, creating a sense of mystery is another way couples can reignite the passion they once felt.
Do not cut yourself off emotionally or stop communicating with your spouse. You do not want them to mistrust you.
Rather, do little things like – do not change in front of your partner.
Not letting your spouse see you undress reminds them that such an intimate part of you is no casual thing to be viewed on a whim. This creates an air of mystery and excitement in the marriage.
If you are missing that exciting eros love from your relationship, don’t fret! Work on communication, be open about your finances and learn to see the good in life.
Laugh regularly with your partner and look for ways to show appreciation for one another.
Quality time is another big factor in a happy married life. Having a regular date night can boost communication and commitment.
By doing these things, you’ll ensure that you have a passionate and exciting relationship for the rest of your lives.
Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.