Find Your “SPARK” Again – How to keep your relationship ignited
Relationships can be challenging even when we’re not in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. Challenges today vary among working from home, distance learning with school-age children, societal restrictions, and uncertainty about what the future may look like. Nightly news and social media report daily COVID-19 statistics, footage of political unrest, social injustices, job and food insecurities, and more. All of this news can begin to weigh heavily on our minds and hearts and along with our personal struggles, it’s not uncommon for some relationships to struggle during this season.
Has your relationship felt like two ships passing in the night, glorified roommates managing a home, and lacking communication or intimacy? Would you like to put the spark back in your relationship?
I’d like to share a tool for couples during this challenging time that will hopefully help you find deeper connection again. Here’s your mission should you chose to accept it: Each partner will engage in lived experiences through this “SPARK” lens to help build momentum from roommate status to a sense of deeper intimacy. Each partner will randomly pick one letter to focus on each day, for five days. Couples may adjust the timeframes to accommodate their desired pace. Feel free to try these ideas once each day or over the course of a weekend or a few weeks. Make it work for you!
Surprise: Roommates are comfortable, predictable, reliable and at times boring. Surprise your partner with anything he/she doesn’t expect you to do. For example, say yes to something you might normally say no to, turn right instead of left, have cereal for dinner, alternate what music you listen to, sleep on the other side of the bed, or if you go to bed with clothes on, change it up a little or a lot! 😉
Play: Goes against the opposite of work (we work enough in… our occupation, therapy, relationships in general are work!)). Who wants to work all the time? Invite some playfulness into your lives. Try bringing play into the bedroom. Play board games, tickle one another, try something new or something you love to do (golf, ski, etc.), and even rediscover your inner child (play hide and seek, go sledding or ice skating…)
Ask: Reclaim curiosity in your relationship. Ask questions again. Early on in relationships we want to know everything about each other. Then we reach a point where we stop being curious and become certain. This space of certainty stifles relational growth. Ask something of your partner just as you would have in your early days together.
Read: A great way to build intellectual intimacy in a relationship. Swing the pendulum away from boredom and challenge each other to read something new. Read anything – or read something together – and share what you read during a committed time with each other.
Kiss: Deviate from those boring roommate patterns. Reclaim sexual intimacy in your relationship and don’t let it slip away among the pressures of life, work, and the kids. Kiss for six seconds without the expectation of it leading to sex.
Marriage Therapy Radio Podcast Ep.143 Zach Brittle, LMFT & Laura Heck, LMFT
“This is what happens to couples under stress” The New Yorker 05/2020 Ester Perel, LMFT, AASECT Certified Sex Therapy Supervisor