Are you in a relationship that once was full of affection and intimacy, but now feels chilly and distant? Do you miss the sparks, the special gestures and that feeling that you and your mate are in sync? Putting these seven pointers into action can help bring you closer again.
1. DOWNSIZE YOUR SCHEDULES.
Even if you’re both sincere about wanting to restore the closeness in your relationship, it’s not likely to happen if you don’t arrange to spend more time together. Discuss how both of you can purge your schedules of those non-essential commitments that keep you apart. By making this sacrifice you’ll make it clear to each other that enhancing your relationship is a high priority.
2. CHANGE YOUR FOCUS.
- Continually harping on what’s not happening in your relationship only results in more distance and frustration. Instead, identify the specific expressions of love and affection that are important to your mate. Lavish them on him—when you feel like it and when you don’t. When you give the kind of affection that’s most satisfying to the one you love, you are much more likely to get back the kind that’s satisfying to you.
3. POINT OUT THE POSITIVES.
Be sure to applaud the ways that your mate expresses the kind of affection and intimacy that you desire. Acknowledge even their baby steps in the right direction and you’re likely to see full-size steps in the future. Behavior you reward is behavior your beloved will tend to repeat.
4. GET REAL.
Life circumstances, like an unusually heavy workload, parent related demands, temporarily mismatched schedules or personal crises, may mean that, for a time, you can’t expect the same level of intimacy with your mate that you once could. Talk candidly about what are—and are not—realistic expectations for this season in the relationship. By doing so, you’ll unburden yourselves of unnecessary guilt and forge a mutually-supportive partnership.
5. GO BACKWARD TO MOVE FORWARD.
Emotional detachment and declining affection are often the result of unresolved conflict. The mere passage of time is seldom enough to heal anger and hurt feelings. It takes acknowledgment of the pain you are feeling and apologies for the pain you have caused. No, you can’t relive the past, but at times, you must revisit it to reconcile. Although cleaning up an old mess may feel unsettling, it’s worth it.
6. STRENGTHEN YOUR SPIRIT.
Disillusionment with your relationship can be a symptom of “spiritual anemia.” When intimacy is lacking in your relationship with God, you can easily place unrealistic demands on your romantic relationship. Establish—or re-establish—the priority of your fellowship with God. Keep up with soul-strengthening habits like praying, reading scripture and seeking the support of a wise minister, mentor or counselor. It will help free you both to give and receive love that’s motivated by desire, not desperate need.
7. BE PATIENT.
Rebuilding a relationship doesn’t happen overnight. Your willingness to accept and cherish the small steps is vital. In the beginning, consistent effort is a more important goal than intense feelings. You and your mate won’t feel as intimidated by this process if you truly celebrate even the tiniest victories along the way.