If you’ve been together for years, chances are you’re missing that spark. Here are 10 ways to add some zest to your partnership.
1. Be Cheesy
Think like a kid in love and come up with an idea that brings some of the “warm fuzzies” back into your relationship. For example, decide that every Tuesday is “new restaurant day” and that you will meet for lunch at a different location. Or, make every Thursday “dessert night” and take turns picking up a decadent treat to enjoy together after the kids have gone to bed. Be cheesy and create fun moments you can both look forward to when things get hectic.
2. Make a Deposit
When we think about our checkbooks, we realize that if we keep spending, deposits must be made. Yet too often we don’t think about all the things our partners do for us, and so we forget to put something back into the “relationship bank.” Spontaneously tell your significant other that you’d like to make a “deposit” back into the partnership, and what task or favor you can perform to show your appreciation.
3. Buy an Odd Gift
We often forget that gifts are supposed to express something. Whether it is for a holiday or just a nice gesture, think carefully before buying a gift. Skip the coffee pot or the tie and buy something unusual. For example, if your partner loved Big Bird as a child, pick up a Sesame Street lunch box or toy. Buy a biography of his or her favorite movie star, or find an item that is connected to a past experience you shared together.
4. Remember What Mommy Said
Your mother always told you to say “please” and “thank you.” Just because you and your partner been together for years doesn’t mean common courtesy doesn’t apply. Don’t assume that your partner knows how much you appreciate the work he or she does — say the words. And take time to say a proper “goodbye” before taking off for work in the morning.
5. Find a Theme Song
Sometimes a song says it best. Whether it’s a high or low point in your relationship, you’ve probably been in the car and heard a song that perfectly reflects what you are feeling. Take time to swing by the record store and pick up a copy you can share with your spouse.
6. Give a Time-Out
Realize that everyone gets overwhelmed at some point and needs a break. If your partner seems to need a few minutes or hours alone, let him or her have it while you take care of the kids or the chores for a while.
7. Send a Card
The Internet is full of sites offering electronic cards that express everything from “I love you” to “I’m sorry.” Take a couple of minutes to send your partner a personalized e-card to make him or her smile.
8. Break the Routine
If it’s always “home from work at 6:00, dinner at 6:30, television at 8:00” and so on, make an effort to break the routine from time to time. Call up your partner and ask him or her to meet you at a restaurant instead. Then rent a fun movie to watch together instead of just staring at the same old reruns once again.
9. Invent a Holiday
Don’t feel you have to wait until Valentine’s Day or a birthday to plan a unique, fun activity. Take time to invent your own holiday that celebrates your partnership. You may also consider planning a “half anniversary” six months before the real date.
10. Hold a Hand
Sometimes we get so comfortable in a relationship that we forget the simple things, like how nice it is for someone to grab our hand on that stroll through the mall. Don’t let time diminish your tendency to physically reaffirm your feelings to your partner. Take that hand out of the popcorn for a few minutes and show your special someone that you care.