Rediscovering Intimacy: 7 Ways to Reignite the Flame
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When you first started dating, your new relationship gave you butterflies in your stomach. You felt intense desire toward your partner. You went on romantic dates, had playful conversations, and had ample leisure time in bed. In your honeymooner eyes… your partner could do no wrong. You thought their quirks were cute. You dreamed about what your future together would hold.
Fast forward three, five, ten years into the future — those “quirks” are now annoying. Time in bed can be stressful because of your differing sex drives. Conversations have become tired, stale arguments or misunderstandings. And romantic dates? You can’t even remember the last time you did something besides watch Netflix together.
If you’re struggling in your relationship right now, this may sound familiar…
- One of you is working late and the other is eating dinner at home alone (again).
- You’re lacking emotional intimacy so… the sex has fallen by the wayside.
- Your partner is still wanting sex… but you’re just. Not. feeling it.
- Your needs aren’t getting met… (physically or emotionally.)
- You’re starting to wonder if you’re in the wrong relationship.
- You’re fighting more than usual… which sucks because the time you have together is limited.
- Communication breakdowns and arguments are becoming more and more frequent.
- You’re tired of going to bed frustrated. You’re tired of feeling like you’re talking to a wall.
Many couples go through difficult phases in their relationship. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship, phasing out of the honeymoon stage, or are married and in a rut, it can be distressing when you feel like your relationship is struggling.
Let’s talk about 7 ways you and your partner can reignite the flame in your struggling relationship.
First, I want to point out that this does not apply to couples who experience domestic violence.
If you are in an unsafe relationship, please reach out for immediate help:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233
- or Text START to 88788
This blog post aims to provide guidance, tips, and actionable advice so you can rekindle the flame and foster a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
1. The 6-Second Kiss
Physical touch is a crucial part of our well-being as humans. Relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman speak often about cultivating rituals of connection and boosting fondness and admiration between partners. The 6-second kiss can do just that.
The 6-second kiss goes beyond a simple display of affection. Rather than offering your partner a rushed “hello,” or “goodbye,” you take the time to nurture your connection by sharing a lingering kiss. It’s a welcome pause from the busyness of life, allowing you to be fully present with your partner.
This lingering kiss fosters intimacy, builds anticipation, and ignites passion. It serves as a reminder of the love and desire that brought you together, revitalizing the spark in your relationship.
Embrace the power of the 6-second kiss, as it has the potential to deepen your emotional bond and bring you closer as a couple. Try it out when you greet or say goodbye to your partner and see how they respond.
2. Take the Love Languages Quiz & Love Your Partner How They Want to Be Loved
Understanding and appreciating your partner’s love language is the key to nurturing a thriving relationship. By taking the Love Languages Quiz together, you can gain valuable insights into how your partner desires to be loved.
The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and receiving gifts. Each person has a unique way of experiencing and expressing love.
By learning your partner’s love language and making a conscious effort to love them in a way that resonates with them, you not only strengthen your emotional connection but also show them profound respect. Remember, love is not just about how you want to be loved. It’s also about understanding your partner and loving them how they yearn to be loved.
(A bonus is you’ll get to teach your partner about your love language, too, so hopefully they take notes!)
3. Build Rituals of Connection
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, relationship researchers and experts, suggest that couples create rituals of connection to foster emotional closeness.
What is a ritual of connection? Think of it as a habit. For your relationship.
A ritual can be daily, weekly, quarterly, or yearly—whatever works best for your relationship! Whether it’s a daily ritual like having breakfast together without cell phones, or a yearly ritual of celebrating your anniversary, rituals of connection are intentional actions that prioritize the relationship amidst the busyness of life.
They can be silly (playing April Fool’s pranks on each other) or serious (setting aside time once a quarter to discuss stressful topics).
They create a sense of togetherness. They encourage quality time. And they offer an opportunity to express love and appreciation and communicate openly with your partner.
By consistently engaging in these rituals, couples can build a strong foundation of trust and create cherished memories that will strengthen their bond over time.
4. Take An Attachment Quiz to Understand Your (And Your Partner’s) Attachment Style
Do you know that we all have an attachment style that greatly impacts the way we form, behave in, and keep (or end) relationships?
You may not have ever heard of “attachment styles” before, so if this is new to you, don’t worry! There are many resources out there on attachment. If you’re just starting, I suggest taking an attachment quiz with your partner to understand your attachment styles and how they differ.
Our attachment style shapes how we communicate, behave, and what we need from our partners. You may have an anxious attachment style, meaning you need more reassurance, or an avoidant attachment style, meaning you need more distance in a relationship.
When you gain insight into the attachment styles coming into play in your relationship, you can better understand how to approach intimacy, express love, and respond to challenges within the relationship.
Knowledge of your (and your partner’s) attachment style can help you navigate conflicts empathetically, improve communication, and move toward a secure and meaningful emotional bond. This is a powerful tool for building a connected partnership (and also for understanding yourself better, too!)
5. Discuss Any Relationship Patterns You’re Noticing
Is one of you withdrawing while the other is pursuing?
After you take your attachment style quiz, you may find that one of you is a pursuer while the other is a distancer. Can you discuss these patterns when both of you are feeling calm and open?
Pay attention to recurring patterns, (positive and negative) and discuss them openly with your partner by using “I” statements. Avoid blaming language. Be curious. Ask questions. Be open to feedback.
This process of self-reflection and open dialogue can increase understanding and help you move toward a more conscious, intentional way of engaging with each other.
6. Revisit the Basics
Sometimes, in the midst of the various complexities, challenges, and nuances of a relationship, going back to the basics can be incredibly valuable. Think about what initially drew you together and focus on strengthening those foundational aspects.
Share your favorite memories and why they mean so much to you. Make a list of all the things you value in your partner, and share them out loud. Reconnect with the simple joys of spending quality time together. Recreate your first date. Engage in meaningful conversations. Practice active listening. (Active listening means you’re giving your partner your undivided attention and listening to understand, not just respond.)
Go back to the very basics and share what’s important to you in your relationship and what you actually need. One of my clients had an illuminating moment with her husband when he shared that he needed two hours after getting home from work to decompress and unwind. After that, he was happy to help with chores or cook dinner, but he asked for two hours of uninterrupted time to let his brain rest and do whatever he needed to do to feel good (exercise, answer emails, work on personal projects, etc.) This eliminated the arguments they were having about spending time together immediately after he got off of work.
Go back to the basics of respect, kindness, and clear communication about your needs.
7. Consider Sex Therapy
Sometimes, it’s just too hard to do relationship work on your own. You probably lead a jam-packed life and need scheduled time on your calendar to do the work.
And that’s totally okay!
If you feel like you and your partner are in need of professional help, sex therapy or couples therapy can be incredibly beneficial.
When the “I” statements have become “you always” or “you never” statements, the blame game is likely afoot. This makes constructive conversations very difficult, and can often result in more hurt and harm than good.
A licensed sex therapist or couples therapist can help you navigate difficult terrain so you can speak respectfully to one another and re-establish emotional safety and connection in your relationship.
Try Googling “sex therapy Georgia” or “sex therapy” followed by whatever city or state you are located in to locate a therapist near you! Many clinicians are offering telehealth, so as long as they’re licensed to practice in your state, you can see your therapist virtually.
What is Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy helps you improve your sex life with education, negotiating patterns or dynamics, reframing thinking on sexual performance or body image, and mindfulness practices to encourage relaxation and enjoyment.
My name is Rachel and I’m a licensed therapist offering sex therapy in Georgia. I help couples overcome difficulties around sex so that they can improve intimacy and foster closeness.
Online sex therapy in Georgia can be extremely helpful if you and your partner are feeling disconnected, distant, or overall dissatisfied in your relationship.
Whether you’ve simply fallen into a routine or are in a stagnant phase in your relationship, sex therapy can give you practical strategies to break free from monotony and bring excitement and passion back into your relationship. I also offer half or full-day relationship and sex therapy intensives in Cumming, GA, or online for Georgia, Florida, or South Carolina residents.
Couples therapy is also for couples who just want to be proactive in nurturing and strengthening their relationship! Maybe you’re not in a state of crisis, but you want to proactively maintain your relationship. That’s great too! I can give you tools to deepen your bond, improve communication, and continue to nurture your appreciation and love for one another.
Seeking a Sex Therapist in Georgia?
I offer sex therapy for Georgia residents online via telehealth. I can also see you in person in Cumming, GA for outdoor walk and talk sessions, or you can sign up for a half or full-day relationship intensive or sex therapy intensive.
I’m a sex-positive, gender-affirming, kink and poly-friendly therapist who welcomes folks from all walks of life.
There is nothing shameful about seeking therapy to improve your intimate relationships. However, I understand it can feel daunting to ask for help.
I offer a welcoming, warm, and compassionate space where you can share your concerns without judgment. I’d love to hear about your current relationship challenges and determine if we’d be a good fit to work together.
If you’re looking for a sex therapist in Georgia or are interested in premarital counseling, book a free 15-minute consultation today!