Marriage is such a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Two people deciding to commit to each other for the rest of their lives provides incredible security in addition to all of the other wonderful little perks of being married, and then as funny and as fickle as human beings can be, sometimes this security can start to feel a little… stale? Flat? Dare I even say… boring???
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
It’s only natural that relationships, just like people, can fall into a rut and need a little jump-start from the predictability of routine. If this sounds like you and yours, hopefully you will find some helpful ideas in the following 10 ways to spice up your marriage!
Go Beyond the I Love You
Saying “I love you” likely happens every day in very predictable situations: Before you head your separate ways in the morning, before you turn out the light at night, and as a standard sign off in your texts and calls. It’s a testament to the very strong feelings that two people can have for each other that “I love you” can become a phrase that is uttered as a reflex of sorts, with no need to think twice.
Here’s the thing though: Think twice! Because it is this automatic call and response routine in long-term relationships, it often loses a little of the impact and the oomph that it had when you and yours first uttered these words, right?
Get creative and bring the oomph back! Think phrases like, “I am so lucky to have you,” or “You still mean the world to me, you know that?” or any other special little phrase that you can sprinkle in where “I love you” used to predictably insert itself. Going beyond the I love you can make sure they are really and truly hearing the heat behind the love you’re slinging their way.
At the beginning of a relationship, most couples can’t keep their hands off of each other, but as the years march on, it’s normal for physical affection to fall by the wayside as people get caught up in the day-to-day business of life.
This isn’t just about sexy time, either (although that’s super important, too!) because even just a short back rub or a loving caress of the hand is enough to release oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, and relationships in which couples touch each other often report higher relationship satisfaction.
Physical affection builds on itself, so set a goal of something like 10 meaningful touches per day with your spouse and see for yourself how you and your partner feel after a few days (and nights!) of intentionally amped-up physical affection.
Share Something New
There’s no doubt about it, sharing new and interesting experiences is bonding, but this can feel like a tall order when a married couple is caught up in the day-to-day routine of life. There can be a lot on the to-do list, but if there’s never anything new and interesting, this can be a sure-fire recipe for boredom in a long-term relationship.
In a world that is increasingly accessible by a few clicks of the ol’ mouse, it’s easier than ever to share fresh, new experiences! Maybe you both have always wanted to learn to ballroom dance; well, Zoom it up and get to dancing in the middle of your living room floor after dinner! It doesn’t have to be anything life-changing; it just needs to be something new that you and your spouse get to learn and experience together. Share something new and grow together so you don’t grow apart!
Mix it Up in the Bedroom
While it’s lovely to learn each other’s every little like and dislike and to create a perfect routine to express your love physically, and still lovely the 2,214th time you’ve danced this same dance, sometimes you’ve got to bust out some new moves! How funky you decide to get is entirely up to you and your partner’s comfort level, but keep in mind that the best way to get out of a rut is to step out of your comfort zone a bit!
Ask your partner to join you for a night of adult shopping from the comfort of your own boudoir and surf a few fun adult sites for goodies like lingerie and accessories. Have fun with it, you can find lingerie for every season… what’s more fun and festive than holiday lingerie??
You can also do a little redecorating of your favorite sexy-time space by adding some twinkle lights and candle votives for the perfect mood lighting, and if you’re really feeling bold, add some strategically placed mirrors nearby to add an extra dimension to the experience! There are many ways to build intimacy in your relationship, and mixing it up in the bedroom builds intimacy and passion!
See Someone Else… Together!
When you find a neutral third party who is well-versed in relationships and all of the patterns that people in long-term committed relationships tend to follow, you find answers to all of the Whys and How Comes of your relationship.
Why wait until the wheels come off to take the car in to be looked at? Get the oil changed, rotate the tires, and come home with tools, tips, and strategies that are perfectly tailored to your relationship and you’ll find that one of the easiest ways to spice up any relationship is to carefully care for and nurture it.
Traveling together as a couple is a great tool to strengthen marriages, but did you know that couples who travel together have better sex lives, too??? It’s true, we did an entire post about it here!
There are a few reasons for this, but at its core it is that when you go out in the world somewhere new together, you two are heading out in full on partner mode, ready to take on the world as the fabulous pair that you are. You’re sharing new and fun experiences, you’re not distracted by the pull of everyday responsibilities, and you’re building confidence as you adventure through the world together. You’re going to be even more in tune with each other after this, and any embers that needed fanning are likely to be back to a full-on flame!
Walk down Memory Lane
Want to ride the high of passionate love again? Stroll down memory lane by recreating some of your favorite shared experiences together. Instead of going out and physically doing those things again, grab a little piece of each one and stitch it all together for a unique date night.
Maybe you start off by having the funny podcast you both about died laughing to in the car that one time all cued up as you lead your spouse over to a bottle of the same wine you shared the first night of your honeymoon. Maybe off to the side is a baby gate with a stuffed cheetah and your cell phone behind it, because on your 2nd date you dropped your cell phone over the side of the cheetah enclosure at the zoo and now it’s a funny inside joke between you two about cheetahs and cell phones.
The whole point here is to share the memories of you two at your best because sometimes the jumpstart a relationship needs is for its participants to remember how great they really are together.
Prioritize some Playtime
Humans are playful creatures, but oftentimes we can let this part of ourselves go dormant when we get bogged down by the everyday tasks of life. Being playful is a part of what keeps us young and is crucial to friendship in marriage. When the playfulness in your marriage falls to the wayside, so do the associations you two have of each other as being a fun, carefree shelter for the other from all the external worries of the world.
Playtime can be both adult-themed or completely PG because both are important for maintaining connection and revving up that Wow Factor that you want your marriage to be full of! You can send fun and flirty text messages, surprise your significant other with an inside joke gag gift, or even just schedule yourselves a date night of watching some great stand up on Netflix with your favorite snacks.
Don’t take yourselves too seriously here: find a way to have fun together, and the more laughter, the better! Laughter gets your feel-good hormones flowing, so you’ll both be feeling great and associating each other’s presence with all those happy chemicals coursing through your blood.
Make their Dreams Come True
Okay, this might sound like a tall order, but hear me out! Most of us have lots of things on the Wish List of Life that are on the back burner, but a little movement going in the direction of dreams can have a big impact on increasing the passion levels in your marriage.
Maybe the dream is a foreign destination vacation that won’t happen for another few years; surprise them by downloading an easy-to-use language-learning app like Duolingo and practice together by exchanging flirty texts and watching films made in that language. Investing time and effort in each other’s dreams fans the flames of passion, big time!
Get a Better Game Plan with a Coach
If you two are ready to play but are still feeling a little bland, it may be time to call in a sex and intimacy coach. Sometimes a couple needs a little more of an individualized game plan to stoke the fire again, and that’s when you should call in a pro!
There are many advantages to working with an intimacy coach, including practical ideas and specific tips to help rev up the physical passion between you two. You can search Google or the World Association of Sex Coaches directory, and your physical intimacy pro is just a call or click away!
Every long-term relationship is going to go through periods where it seems like the spark is, well, just not sparking the way it used to! There are things you can do every single day to strengthen your marriage, but if you’re feeling like your relationship needs a little jumpstart, refer back to this list of 10 ways to spice up your marriage and get your spark back!
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Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.