The honeymoon phase — it's when you want to spend all of your time with your partner and get to know as much as possible about them. But what happens when the honeymoon phase fizzles out, and you lose that initial spark?
The reality of relationships is that you may very well grow bored. It's okay to not be constantly stimulated — after all, if you need your partner to fill your boredom, you're probably in the relationship for the wrong reasons. That said, there are ways to dive deeper in your relationship to stimulate each other in new, just-as-exciting ways — if you stay stagnant in the same place, anyway, the relationship may not be a healthy one that fosters growth.
With that said, here are 12 ways to get closer with your partner.
1. Share secrets.
Spend the night together sharing secrets with one another. You may think you already know everything there is to know about your partner, but there are inevitably stories you've yet to tell and secrets you've yet to spill. So spend the evening doing just that, which will certainly pave the way to more and deeper conversations.
2. Get to the root of a reoccurring argument.
If you have an issue that repeatedly comes up in your relationship, unpack it together. Using nonjudgemental language and without pointing fingers, dive into why the issue affects you the way it does, and ask your partner to share the same personal information. When you can get to the root of a reoccurring argument while in a state of calm, you can learn a lot more about one another and, hopefully, leave the issue at bay.
3. Plan a date night.
It's easy to stop going on dates once you get into a routine of being together. After the honeymoon phase is over, it seems simpler to just kick back and flick on the television — especially if you live together. But make a regular point to go on actual planned dates — to dinner, to the beach for a picnic, to see a film, to spend the day sightseeing in your city, etc. Going on dates will keep the chemistry alive since routine is expected and can feel mundane.
4. Go on a getaway together.
Couples who travel together report having happier, healthier relationships. After all, traveling tests how well you handle stressful situations and finances, and if things hit the fan (as they so often do on the road), it's an opportunity to care for each other.
5. Spend time with each other's families.
Spending time with the people who know your partner best is one surefire way to get to know them more. You can learn more about how they act around family and treat the people they love — and you can also learn more about their background and upbringing by getting to know the people who'd experienced it all alongside them.
6. Go on a double date.
In the same way that spending time with your partner's family can make you feel closer to them, spending time with their friends can draw the same connection. Your partner will likely be their true selves around their close friends, and you can spend time getting to know this fun, silly side of them that certainly comes out around people with whom they're comfortable.
7. Unplug together.
Too many couples spend their time together stuck in their phones. While they're physically present with one another, they're not mentally there. Designate unplugged time together when neither of you will be on your phones or laptops or tablets, and actually spend quality time with one another devoid of distractions.
8. Be more sexually explorative.
More, better sex makes couples happier and healthier, according to science. And one way to ensure that you have better sex is to have more open communication with your partner about your desires. When you're explorative with one another on an intimate level, you learn more about one another, have better sex and, ultimately, are happier.
9. Learn each other's love languages.
Even if two people click well with one another, it doesn't necessarily mean that they speak the same love language. The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman, has been around for 25 years and has been a #1 New York Times bestseller for eight years running with over 11 million copies sold. The book identifies and ruminates on five love languages we use in romantic and personal relationships.
Get to know which of the following love language you and your partner speak, and practice each other's:
- Words of Affirmation: "This language uses words to affirm other people."
- Quality Time: "This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention."
- Receiving Gifts: "For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift."
- Acts of Service: "For these people, actions speak louder than words."
- Physical Touch: "To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch."
10. Invest in a series (book, podcast or television!) together.
Start watching a television series, listening to a podcast series or reading a book series together. You can watch a show or listen to a podcast together, and you can read on your own time and discuss together over dinner. The point is that you'll be able to have discussions, debates and deep conversation over harmless topics together, which will inevitably bring you closer.
11. Meditate together.
Meditating together means practicing mindfulness together, and being mindful of each other and each other's feelings is an obvious way to connect on a deeper level. In partnered meditation, you can practice being grounded in the moment together — which you can apply to day-to-day experiences with one another.
12. Make a playlist for each other.
Music is a definite way that people express themselves. By making a playlist for your partner and listening to a playlist that they make for you, you can get to know what songs really resonate with them and talk about why. This will not only help you both to express yourselves, but it'll also probably bring up nostalgic stories behind why some songs are favorites.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.