How to bring back the spark in a relationship

Do you want to rekindle love and create more sexual energy to fix a broken relationship? Start by remembering what it was like to fall in love.

For many couples, there were intense emotions like joy, happiness, excitement, and a deep connection.

This didn’t just happen when you went to a movie and dinner. It evolved as you got to know one another. It is unlikely to return during a routine “date night” either.

Altered perception of the world

At the start of healthy relationships, you pay attention to one another. You paid attention to what once seemed ordinary. Colors seemed brighter, music more meaningful, and everyday experiences took on a new significance. Dr. Acevedo learned that couples who kept love alive continued to notice one another to see the ordinary in a new way.

Sense of wonder and discovery

Discovering and getting to know a new person was an exciting adventure filled with surprises and unique qualities. This process of exploration added to the novelty of falling in love. Can you surprise yourself and your partner in consistent ways?

Enhanced focus

Being in love led to an increased focus on this new person. This hyper-focus on your partner felt novel as it temporarily shifted attention away from other aspects of life. Holding hands and additional physical touch could feel electric. When you started dating, even an awkward sex life led to greater sexual intimacy.

How can you make your partner feel special and cared about? How can you send the message: “Nothing is more important than my being with you right now.”

Increased motivation and risk-taking

Love motivates individuals to take risks and step out of their comfort zones. This newfound boldness and willingness to try new things can make the experience of falling in love feel novel.

Consider how you might shake up your own life.

Enhanced self-awareness

Falling in love increases self-awareness as individuals reflect on their feelings, desires, and vulnerabilities. This introspective journey can be a novel experience.

Look inward and ask, “What am I feeling right now? How can I share more of what is happening to me?”

Heightened empathy and understanding

New love fosters a deep sense of empathy and understanding for one’s partner, creating a novel connection and emotional intimacy. You listen better. You spend longer wanting to understand and drink in this lover.

Set aside time daily to discover what your partner’s day was like. Give them your undivided attention and investment.

Time distortion

People in love often experience a sense of time distortion. Moments spent with their partner feel like they pass too quickly, creating a unique and exciting time perception.

Vacations at least two weeks long provide that ‘endless free time’ feeling. You need a period of calm between “shaking off work” (when you first arrive) and “getting ready to go back to the grind” (as you prepare to leave.)

Neurochemical changes

Falling in love triggers a release of neurochemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals create a euphoric feeling and contribute to the heightened emotional state associated with being in love.

The good news is that novelty can activate these same brain chemicals.

How to reactivate a sense of renewal in a long-term marriage

About 13 percent of people reported high levels of romance (“spark”) in their long-term relationships.

This according to Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D., who authored the study published in the Journal Review of General Psychology. She is a Social Neuroscientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She found that “obsessive” love was briefer and more costly. It gave bursts of energy, but interfered with one’s ability to focus on other aspects of life. Romantic love, however, does not fizzle out for all couples. She found romance alive and well in couples who were together 20 years or more.

Rekindling a relationship requires recapturing some of these early experiences from a long time ago. You can bring back a sense of renewal and rejuvenation by consciously bringing back novelty into your relationship. Individuals begin to feel like they are experiencing life with a fresh perspective.

Professionals often see “difference “and “novelty” as a stressor. But does it have to be? Studies have shown that novel experiences stimulate the production of the neurochemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals appear in the brain in a relationship’s early, blissful stages.

Some aspects of living in an intimate relationship may invite this novel experience. Here are three of the big ones:

Learn a new language together.

Learn a language. Go beyond elementary levels and study the idioms, the “mindset,” and the worldview.

Watch movies with sex scenes in that same native language, and learn what “sexy talk” is to your spouse. In one study, bilingual Spanish/English women had a very different sexual experience depending upon what language they thought in. Try talking “sexy” in another language.

Cook the Food, Eat the Food, Mix up the Food

Tasting different types of food intensifies t an appreciation for culture. But why stop at discovering your partner’s new “favorite food”? Why not work together to make foods that have elements of several cultures?

Think in broad categories like sweet, savory, texture, or “mouth feel.” Is there a way to combine foods from several cultures that surprises the palette? What about experimenting with wines, beers, or other liquors? Can we put these together to make a novel meal?

“Escape” back home in your living room.

Locate a travel video and “head back home.” Check out a film in your new language to watch together.

Buy magazines from a different culture you plan to visit and keep them around. Buy perfume that is unique or popular in your country.

Sometimes even re-arranging the furniture in a way that “feels like someone else’s home” can make a big difference. In the USA, for example, TVs often dominate a living room, but this is less true in many parts of Europe.

Try banishing the television for a month or two. It might make the space feel more novel and “homey.”

Overall, to rekindle a broken relationship takes work. The novel experience of falling in love combines physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. By spending time, you can mimic this unique and memorable journey of connection and intimacy with another person. One can duplicate and cherish this transformative and extraordinary time again and again over a lifetime.