July 25, 2015

Tips To Bring the Spark Back & Affair-Proof Your Marriage

Infidelity is one of the most traumatic and devastating experiences of life. The scars of betrayal can last a lifetime and even though some marriages can become stronger after an affair, there are better ways to strengthen your marriage than endure the tears and agony of the affair.

While affairs can happen for a wide variety of reasons, one of the most commonly cited reason for an affair is boredom.

In this article, we reached to different experts to gather their tips on how couples can eliminate boredom, revive the spark back and affair-proof their marriage.

# 1. Power of simple words

Gloria Arenson

A love relationship is a living organism that you have to keep alive daily just like your plants. You think nothing of watering them on a regular basis because when you feed them they bloom and bring you joy. A simple way for you and your lover to nourish your love and respect for each other is to remember to say “thank you” when he or she does something for you, no matter how small. Uttering these two small words can easily become an ongoing reminder of your love every day.

When we imagine that our partner already knows that we love them, courtesy often goes out the window. Yet, even saying “thanks honey” or “I really appreciate that” after your mate takes the laundry out of the dryer, feeds the cat, diapers the baby or washes your car can become a way of blowing a kiss to this special person. Showing pleasure when he or she is considerate is like sending a message saying I love you. Consideration is another word for caring or kindness. The more you appreciate these small acts, the more your mate will feel loved also.

Gloria Arenson, MS, MFT – www.gloriaarenson.com

# 2. Be a little mysterious

Dana Vince

In marriage, over time we can get caught up in the same old routine. We become very predictable and so does our partner. For a ‘spark’ to occur, we need to bring back some mystery, spontaneity, a way to keep your partner guessing.

The book “101 Nights of Great Sex” can be a helpful tool if you need some ideas on how to bring the spark back. Catch your partner off guard with something they wouldn’t expect, whether it be in the bedroom or out, and put some fun back in the relationship!

Dana Vince, MA, LPC – www.marriagecounselingknoxville.com

# 3. Challenge yourself to be vulnerable

Kristine Gottesman

To create connection and excitement, make a commitment to yourself to be vulnerable and honest with your partner. Instead of reading into your partner’s behavior, let him know what you really feel and want. Be truly curious about her feelings rather than assuming that you know what her behavior means.

Take the risk of reaching out to communicate love and kindness in some way on a daily basis. Also, make quality time to talk with your partner more deeply on a weekly basis. Find a healthy balance of communication with your spouse that allows for both safety and risk-tasking, and your connection will begin to deepen, rekindling the excitement and the “spark.”

Kristine Gottesman, MA, LMFT – www.kristinetherapyla.com

# 4. Look for the good

Dr. Charles F. Glassman

Everyone feels insecure at times. That insecurity may come from the stresses of work or relate to the way we view our physical body. When we feed our insecurity, it becomes contagious and spreads to those around us, often to the one closest to us. Nothing diminishes passion more than insecurity. Everyday look for one thing in your partner on which to compliment.

Since familiarity breeds complacency, you have to look. You may see his smile and say, “I love the way you smile.” Or, you may observe her lips and reply, “Your lips look really sexy today.” Pump up your spouse by genuinely observing their strengths and watch the passion explode.

Dr. Charles F. Glassman – www.charlesglassmanmd.com

# 5. Go back to school and start taking notes

Allison Cohen

Often in a long term marriage, we stop listening and revert to auto-pilot – what worked in the past, what we THINK our partner likes or what will be easiest to execute. As a result, monotony sets in and the flames you used to fan turn to dust.

Put the spark back in your relationship by making a list of all the things that turn you on (both emotionally and physically)and ask your partner to do the same – then trade lists. You will have composed a personalized, detailed road map that leads directly to yours and your partner’s “hot spots.” Watch the embers of your relationship build to a blaze.

Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT – www.lifeissuespsychotherapy.com

# 6. Invest in a hot tub

Lucille Zimmerman

When I asked my husband what he thought brought the spark into our marriage, he said the hot tub. Whenever we start to bicker, or get caught up in a negative news story on TV, one of us will say, “Let’s go to the hot tub.”

It’s not so much the hot tub, as it is the focus we give each other. We are facing each other, talking, listening, and love is reflected back from our Love’s eyes. We end up sharing parts of our day and then go to sleep feeling like we are close and connected.

Lucille Zimmerman, LPC – www.lucillezimmerman.com

# 7. Act like you would on your first date

Carolyn Kelley North

Pretend like you are just beginning to date your husband. Would you talk about wanting lipo, the grocery list or pick an argument? Would you complain or be generally negative? Would you dress like a grandma? Of course not, he never would have been interested in you! Act like you did at the beginning, admire him and take an interest in him!

Think about all of his good traits. Women get turned on in their heads, not with their eyes, so fantasize about you two together. He has to work on your relationship too, but you can’t control him, you can only control your own behavior.

Carolyn Kelley North, LCSW, LMFT – www.carolynkelley.com

# 8. Do 3 secret acts of love

Shelby Riley

I will often give couples the homework assignment to go home, and over the next week, do 3 small, secret things to show the other that you know them and love them. Don’t announce the gesture, simply do it and wait quietly. At the next session, each person has to guess what the other did to complete the assignment. Couples have reported simple gestures like making the bed, brewing coffee with cinnamon in the grounds, and wearing their partner’s favorite perfume. They have done bigger things like cleaning out the car, making a favorite meal, or slipping into bed without their pajamas.

Couples tell me that finding creative ways to show their love (and maybe even stump their partner when it’s time to guess) brings a fun tension and spark back into the relationship, as well as refocuses their attention on the ways their partner pleases them. I have had several people who say, “I can count ten things” when the partner only purposefully did three.

Shelby Riley, M.S., LMFT – www.shelbyrileymft.com

# 9. If you lost your spark, you did not guard the fire.

Dr. Daniela Schreier

1. Friendship: You were best friends, shared everything. Now you nag at home; share with others. Get it straight! S/he is the one! Reinstate home! It’s your place for trust and romance!

2. Communication: Off your cell! Look him/her in the eyes! His/her needs and desires have changed. Listen, learn, share! Rediscover your partner! Get excited!

3. Physical Attraction: Looks are important, so is self-confidence! Work on yourself; feel sexy! You only had sporadic 10-second sex lately? Stop it! Start making outpassionately! Start each morning with a long kiss; continue at night! Build the excitement! Let it culminate in passionate sex Friday night!

4. Guard your fire, so you won’t lose your spark!

Dr. Daniela Schreier – www.drdaniela.com

# 10. Check in with each other

Bobbi Jankovich

Intimacy doesn’t start in the bedroom. Intimacy begins when we feel connected to each other. Make it a habit to check in with your partner. How are we doing? What could we be doing differently? What do you need more of from me? When we disagree, how can we better understand each other? How satisfied are you with our physical intimacy?

Waiting for your partner to notice what is missing for you is a sure way to dim the relationship spark. Create a safe place in your relationship to ask the questions. Then embrace the answers.

Bobbi Jankovich, LMFT – www.bobbijankovich.com

# 11. Find your inner spark

Brooke Campbell

How can we find our spark with others if we lose our own inner light? A marriage is about relating in our relationship. We must assess our own behavior filled with imperfections and tremendous strengths. Our motivations, goals, and connection with humanity reunites us with our partner. Would you want to be married to you? If you answered “no” then ask “why not” and make some changes to best support your development.

Brooke Campbell, MA, RDT-BCT, LCAT – www.creativekinections.com

# 12. Find the courage to really touch again

Matthew Cohen

Bringing back the spark in your marriage is about touching. Touching that is tender, gentle, nurturing, and sexy infuses a marriage with aliveness. When circumstances, such as the demands of family and work, get in the way of the immediacy of simply being with each other and touching each other, what can we do? We can be real and aligned with each other in the face of stress and feeling overwhelmed.

This creates a bond that lessens the fear and hurt that keeps couples apart. Even in the presence of difficulties, couples can discover and make choices that bring them together again. When, instead of being resentful or heavy handed, you find the courage to be lighthearted and playful, you are rekindling the spark.

Matthew Cohen, LMFT, MA – www.matthewcohen.us

# 13. Use imagination, fantasy and communication to rekindle romance

Joan E Childs

The proverbial question that keeps popping up is “How can I keep the passion in my relationship? The answer is simple: You can’t! Love changes as time passes. That doesn’t mean that love has ended. It only means that it has entered a new phase. Love can actually grow in other ways that produce the chemical called oxytocin instead of that original dopamine high that once took your breath away in the beginning of your relationship. Oxytocin can provide the warm fuzzies and the feeling of caring and nurturing that come after the honeymoon stage. This is normal for all relationships.

If understood and appreciated, your relationship can take on new meaning and feelings that are very satisfying. There’s a dip that occurs in all long term relationships because we were tricked by nature. Nature meant for us to make more of us, so when we no longer need babies, the fire that once prompted that outcome, tends to diminish over time, so we need to trick ourselves into other ways of keeping the passion. Creating romance by using your imagination, fantasies and communication can foster those sexy feelings once more.

Joan E Childs, LCSW – www.joanechilds.com

# 14. Identify your sexual turn on’s and turn off’s

Carolynn Aristone

With comfort and familiarity can come complacency. Couples assume that they know their partner’s sexual turn on’s and off ‘s but often, over time, what turns someone on or off can change. I ask couples to write down the 5 senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and auditory – and to list 3 turn on’s and 3 turn off’s for each category.

Have their partner guess what they put down for each. It’s a fun way to have sexy conversation and to reacquaint them selves sexually. Then I ask them to trade lists and do some of the things on their partner’s list. Keep it playful and appreciate each other’s efforts.

Carolynn Aristone, MSW, LCSW – www.myintimaterelationship.com

# 15. Be conscious about keeping the spark alive

Mary Kay Cocharo

The natural progression of a relationship is that after the initial “romantic stage”, couples must be conscious about keeping the spark alive. Here are some ideas for reigniting your flame:

– Talk to one another about what you’re experiencing at this stage in your life.

– Set time aside to be together: make a regular date night, plan a weekend away, stay in bed on the weekend.

– Find a hobby or project you can do together.

– Have sex. Sensual and sexual intimacy connects couples at a deep level and releases hormones that help you stay young.

– Laugh often. Seek ways to introduce humor and frivolity into your relationship.

– Spend time with friends. Seeing your partner through the eyes of others makes you feel proud to be with him and reminds you of why you’re still together.

Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT – www.mkcocharo.com

# 16. Take pride in the way you look

Elizabeth Ramirez

While marriage should not be based purely on appearance, something can be said about taking pride in the way you look. When you don’t take time to take care of yourself it can change the way you feel and think about yourself. Think about how differently you feel when you workout, get a haircut or put on a nice outfit? When you take care of yourself, you send the message to your partner, that your relationship is important and that you care about what he or she thinks about you.

Elizabeth Ramirez, MSCJ, MSW, LCSW – www.positivechanges4women.com

# 17. Travel together

Dr. David Baker-Hargrove

Traveling can be stressful, especially with children.However, Traveling together well is a skill that can be developed and can enhance the bond and spark between a couple, even when traveling with children.Couples that make time to travel together and learn to travel well stay more interested and invested in each other. If money is an issue, short overnight orday trips can be fairly economical and still have the same positive impact. In fact, many short overnight or day trips throughout the year can rekindle excitement in the relationship much better than a once-a-year big vacation.

Dr. David Baker-Hargrove – www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com

# 18. Pretend you and your partner just began dating

Brandy Brown

Relationships are always so fun in the beginning! Each partner feels like they are the most important thing in the world to the other person. Think about how you tried SO hard to impress your partner in the beginning. Were you careful with your words? Did you make sure he or she knew every day how important he or she was to you? It’s time to go back to treating your partner the way you did in the good old days!

Re-explore the sentimental things that brought you together: Your old love song, visit the place of your first date, make it a point to look your partner in the eye when you have a moment to say, “I love you,” talk to each other about what attracted you to him or her when you first met. Reminisce together! Make it a point every day to do something now that you so easily did back in the beginning.

Brandy Brown, MA, LAMFT – www.brandybrowncounseling.com

# 19. Be playful.

Naomi Doriott

To bring back the spark a playful attitude can make things fun again. Sometimes we start to take our relationships and ourselves too seriously and we forget to let go and be playful with our partner. There are many different ways to bring play back in to your relationship but here are some examples to get you started:

– Play a board game together

– Role play in the bedroom each others’ fantasies

– Go for a hike and turn it in to an exploring adventure

– Laugh at your partner’s little jokes

– In moments of conflict, bring lightness to it by making a joke or being playful

– Make corny romantic gestures (e.g. do a dip kiss, buy flowers)

– Dance together

Life is too short to not have fun. Get creative in trying to bring fun and play into your relationship.

Naomi Doriott, MA, LPC – www.collaborativemn.com

# 20. Be playful and encourage light heartedness

Margie Ulbrick

Relationships can be so intense and our intimate ones even more so. And on top of this they can also become mundane, predictable and boring. But it’s not meant to be like that! We can keep the spark going and we can reignite the spark with a little conscious effort. A great way to guard against the danger of taking things too seriously and then becoming overwhelmed by the “problems” in the relationship is to cultivate a playful attitude. This also helps in keeping that wonderful feeling of aliveness that human beings thrive on. Playing together is essential medicine. We all need fun in our lives. Each couple is unique and there is no one solution that fits all here. But play with the idea!

See what it is that ignites your passion and sense of well-being and brainstorm with your partner on ways you can be creative with play. Play sport together, take up a new hobby together or watch live comedy or music together. If time is limited or money allocated elsewhere, find simple things that you enjoy together from home, cards, scrabble or board games to name a few! Create a new garden together or develop a new project together that interests you both.

Go for walks together, cook together; whatever you choose, remember the idea is to cultivate a light attitude and a sense of fun. We all need to play together in our relationships to release those endorphins and feel good hormones. Make a point of having fun at least some of the time together! You will be amazed at the ripple effect this has in your relationship!

Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI – www.margieulbrickcounselling.com

# 21. Talk about sex

Lyndsey Fraser

The exercise I will often give couples is the before, during, and after exercise. This exercise allows couples to start talking about their likes and dislikes in the bedroom. The exercise is not to be done in the afterglow of sex but at a time of both partners choosing. What each partner does is discuss one aspect that they enjoy before sex (example: how you look at me), during sex (example: when you kiss my neck), and after (example: how you hold me). It is also important to share dislikes during this exercise (example: I don’t like when you spank me). This exercise encourages conversations around sex which can ignite the spark.

Lyndsey Fraser, MA, LMFT – www.relationalconnections.com

# 22. Exercise together

Brenda Hansen-Mayer

One way to bring the spark back in a marriage is to exercise together. Yeah, get active. I tell my clients that exercise is the best medicine for almost anything. It helps you feel better physically and mentally. It improves your energy level, brings clarity to the mind and gives you a renewed sense of accomplishment, happiness and pleasure. Furthermore, it can be a contact sport and a great means for getting close.

While strength training, help each other have good form and proper positioning. Take a dance class, swim together and leave a little time for the spa or hot tube afterwards. Or, better yet, after a hard workout, shower together. In no time, you will learn to enjoy your 30 to 60 minute workout together and excuses will not be an obstacle.

Brenda Hansen-Mayer, LAC – www.bhmtherapy.com

# 23. Send love letters to your spouse

Natalie Chandler

Do you remember writing notes or “love letters” to your boy/girlfriend back in high school? Remember how you felt when you received one? Loved! Although we aren’t trying to have the type of “love” we had when we were teenagers (it’s unrealistic), we can still send each other letters and express our love and appreciation for each other.


a. Old fashion writing…with a pen and paper! (remember that?)

–On perfumed paper ladies! 😉

–Actually mail it to them!

b. Get a journal and pass it back and forth

c. Cards

If you are just not into this, a text or email is okay (but not a BIG spark!)

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC – www.imaginehopecounseling.com

# 24. Enter into your partner’s world.

Karla Downing

Go to his/her work, activities, sports, and events. Stand back and watch as if you weren’t married. You will recognize character traits and skills that will help you gain a new appreciation. You will see why other people admire and like your spouse. When you dated, you saw your prospective spouse as a good catch because you saw the things others see.

When you are in an intimate relationship, you tend to see your partner in his/her role in the marriage and lose sight of the bigger picture by focusing on what you are getting or not getting. You may even see why you need to invest in the relationship when you realize you could have competition if you don’t value what you have!

Karla Downing, MFT – www.changemyrelationship.com

# 25. Be spontaneous, playful and joyful

Cheryl Thapa

We all get caught up in the daily grind of work schedules, household chores, and if you have children, chasing them and their activities. We often function like robots. This creates more distance between lovers. Love is one of the most powerful emotions we are drawn to, but it requires being present in the moment and spontaneous, playful, and joyful.

Make more eye contact, smile more, surprise your partner with a gift, serve breakfast, play their favorite music, dance in the kitchen. If you need to reconnect, reminisce together about how you first met, what you remember, and what you LOVED about your partner.

Cheryl Thapa, MSW, LICSW – www.evolvtherapy.com

# 26. Know that sparks, butterflies and lust will change over time

Dr. Stefanie Bauer

Most of us live with the illusion once we marry our one and only love, the sparks, butterflies, and lust we experience, will never dissipate. Growing habits, getting into a routine, becoming roommates, friends even, proves us wrong. It is not unhealthy or unusual that sparks turn into arguments, butterflies turn into frustration or stomach aches, and lust turns into deep love. Changes occurring in a marriage can be very healthy and productive, but what if we do miss those “sparks”? Keep in mind when you got married you turned into one, from one plus one, so you do create a “we” and “us” and that means you may have sacrificed and compromised what “we” like versus what “I” like. My suggestions for bringing the sparks back are:

Start with yourself, do what you love and transfer that excitement to your spouse, go Zumba dancing, get a massage, go shopping. Your happiness and lust for life will transpire into your relationship.

Ask your spouse to join an activity with you, you really like. Even if it occurs less often than you wish.

– Let go of habits and try something new, go camping, go sky diving, play games.

– Surprise each other.

– Make the day less predictable.

– Turn sex into intimacy.

Dr. Stefanie Bauer – www.liferippl.es

# 27. Don’t forget the power of touch

Rodney Owen

Touch is an important part of a successful relationship. Touch creates intimacy, creates a sense of trust and security, heals emotional wounds and causes chemical reactions in the body. Touch is sensed by the nerves which causes arousal, increases the heart rate and releases endorphins into the body which make us feel good. It is better than any drug!

Couples can start by holding hands, rubbing your partners back, stroking their hair and face or cuddling (my personal favorite). When couples reach the next level of their relationship, massages are a great way of touching. Try massaging each other’s neck, shoulders and feet eventually leading to full body massages.

To really heat things up, try touching your partners genitals, breasts, buttocks and everything in between. Don’t just use your hands either, use your whole body. Wrap your arms and legs around your partner. Slide your body up and down each other and use your tongue on their sensitive areas. This is the fastest way to great sex. Whether you need to spice up, maintain or start your relationship, introducing touch will bring you closer together.

Rodney Owen, Counselor – www.blokesupport.com.au

# 28. Create an adventure!

Brooke Schmidt

Stuck in a rut? Create an adventure day! Have your adventure day be a once-a-month priority. For example it could be the first Saturday of every month. You and your partner can alternate who plans the adventure each month. Get creative. Think of something new that you haven’t tried before. You can discuss the adventure with your partner beforehand, or surprise him/her when it’s your month to plan!

Can’t think of ideas? Here are some new adventures to try: Kayaking, scavenger hunts around the city, new restaurant, horseback riding, picnic in the park, rock climbing, road trip, visit a museum, take a tour, and wine tasting; just to name a few! Don’t forget to laugh with each other, and have fun!

Brooke Schmidt, MA, LAMFT – www.brookeschmidt.com

# 29. Never stop wooing your love

Melissa Kester

Too frequently in relationships we stop wooing each other. Wooing consists of dating, compassion, lust, interest, playfulness, secrecy, flirtation, and everything that makes relationships exciting! Instead we find ourselves no longer communicating, playing, or helping. We either expect the other to give in or resent them for not doing enough. We become more open on private matters: undressing in front of each other, sharing stories of our menstrual cycles, flatulence, etc… Although we hate to admit it, especially being so modern, we really miss being wooed.

5 Wooing Tips:

– Listen to their story

– Massages

– Be playful

– Be intimate

– Create a romantic meal

Melissa Kester, MA, LMFT – www.MadisonMFT.com

# 30. Do something novel

Winifred Reilly

The ho-hum feeling that long-time couples often experience comes, in part, from living life in a rut. Comfortable and familiar as they are, our routines are not exactly pulse-quickening.

Do something surprising: if your usual Friday night routine is movie and a pizza, opt for a moonlight hike instead. If your have sex only on Sunday– and never with the light on– use your imagination and try something new. And if your partner resists, don’t despair. Change in a marriage comes from one person courageously making the first move.

Winifred Reilly, MA, MFT – www.winifredreilly.com

# 31. Team up for exercise or yoga or any other sport

Rima Danielle Jomaa

Hit the ground running or hiking! Any type of exercise can have positive effects on your brain, your mood, and your relationship. Choose a favorite activity you used to share or pick one neither of you have tried before. Make a commitment to engage in this activity two to three times throughout the week by scheduling it in your planner or calendar. Do yoga together, surf together, play tennis, ride bikes at night… The possibilities of what you can enjoy as a couple are endless. If you two both enjoy healthy competition, pick a sport you can challenge each other in and watch each other reach new goals as you try to beat each other! You will feel proud and alive.

New brain research is showing that exercise helps to generate neuronal growth and chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are released in the brain during exercise. Endorphins inhibit the nervous system’s ability to send pain impulses to the brain from your body, serotonin is a pleasure neurotransmitter and regulates our moods, appetites, and sleep, and dopamine regulates fine-motor function and allows your brain to associate exercise with happiness, and thus with your partner! Encouraging each other to get healthy together, achieving new goals, and feeling amazing physically and mentally leads to a stronger bond and trust, and it’s undeniably sexy. Get your heart racing outside of the bed to make it race inside.

Rima Danielle Jomaa, MFT – www.arimatherapy.com

# 32. Keep the marital bank account full

Sally Leboy

When people marry, they often open a joint bank account. They each work hard to grow their assets to finance their life-style as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. If both people are contributing, the balance grows and there are more resources available to the family. If one member either isn’t adding, or makes a lot of withdrawals, the balance will be lower, and the options fewer.

There is another type of bank account, often referred to as the Marital Bank Account. This account holds the positive energy, good will, trust, honesty and loving behaviors that are a part of being a good relationship partner and building a solid relationship. Make deposits whenever possible. Don’t wait for your partner to make a deposit before you make a deposit.

Each partner is responsible for contributing to the Marital Bank Account whenever possible. There are times when one partner is more able to contribute and there are always times when someone will need to make a withdrawal. Withdrawals can be absorbed if the balance in the account is kept high. If nobody has been contributing, a withdrawal can result in relationship bankruptcy.

Relationship bankruptcy opens the door to infidelity. Think everyday about whether you are contributing or withdrawing from your Marital Bank Account. Take personal responsibility to keep the balance high.

Sally Leboy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

# 33. Chocolate and wine

Jason Coleman

We all experience lows in the romance department at times. Two things that just can’t go wrong are Chocolate and Wine. A chilled glass of wine and a few Hershey Kisses are a great way to say “I Love You” and a sure way to bring a smile to her face…and yours! Buy a bag of Kisses and hide them where she is sure to find them – in the coffee grounds, in her purse, pinned to her calendar, etc. Surprise her with a glass of wine after her bath and the glowing embers will soon erupt into a raging fire!

Jason Coleman, Author – www.youramazingmarriage.com

# 34. Create a bucket list

Dr. Kelly Schinke

All too often the daily grind can result in living on auto pilot. Boredom can sneak in and put the fire out in your relationship. Here’s your chance to rekindle your spark, and be thoughtful about your marriage. In all likelihood, you are passionate about many things. Why not borrow from other parts of life to bring the spark back into your relationship? Think about recreation and hobbies. Is there something you can introduce your partner to? Are you willing to try something your partner loves?

Create a couples bucket list. Together, you can generate ideas including new activities to try and places to see. This can range from making an authentic Italian dinner from scratch to zip lining over Royal Gorge in Colorado. Dream with your partner, put your dreams into action, and before you know it, you will be feeling the heat!

Dr. Kelly Schinke – www.alternative-pathways.com

# 35. Instead of trying to find the spark again, how about finding the fire?

Andrea Mathews

A spark is a tiny flicker of the original fire that flies off into the air and goes out quickly. But the fire, well, the fire must be tended. And the fire of real relationship is all about that deep inner connection, which at its core essence is a longing for intimacy. Intimacy is not about sex, though it definitely can lead to sex. Intimacy is about taking the risk to really reveal yourself to your partner.

I see so many couples who spend most of their time guessing at what the partner is thinking or feeling. My response to this is commonly to ask, “Have you asked her how she feels?” “Have you asked him what he is thinking?” The answer is a resounding “no.” They can’t do that, that would mean taking the risk to allow the partner to know we care about what she is thinking or feeling. We say only half of what we mean in any conversation and then get mad that they didn’t “get it.”

Intimacy means being willing to reveal your truest thoughts and feelings, even the dark ones, to your partner, and being willing to receive the same in turn. Intimacy is how we tend the fire.

Andrea Mathews, LPC, PhD – www.andreamathewslpc.com

# 36. Express and resolve the resentments that deaden an intimate relationship

Daniel Beaver

So many of us grew up with the attitude of “ if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything”. Or they believe in the attitude of don’t sweat the little things. What these concepts support is don’t express the emotions of resentment or anger they are look at as being negative.

When resentment is repressed or ignored and left unresolved in an intimate relationship it blocks the passion and sexual desire between the couple. It’s really hard to be turned on sexually, romantic and affectionate with someone who you are resenting. What happens over time is resentments may start out small, but they add up over time and deaden the passion.

Daniel Beaver, MS, MFT – www.danielbeaver.com

# 37. Go to bed at the same time

Tamara Wilhelm

When you go to bed at the same time, it opens the door for all types of interesting and intimate conversation. As you’re relaxing, your mind slows down and allows you to process the events of your day and share things with each other that you wouldn’t normally think to share as you’re going about your day.

At the same time for some people, it’s easier for them to be more vulnerable & open in conversation with the lights off. When partners are more open and vulnerable in conversation, it generally opens the door to sexual connection. Try it for 2 weeks and see if you notice a difference.

Tamara Wilhelm, MA, LMHC, LCAC – www.imaginehopecounseling.com

# 38. Integrate other parts of the body to update your sexual repertoire

Kayna Cassard

It is normal to get into the same sexual routine with your partner. One way to reignite the spark, is to imagine parts of your spouse’s body that also get your blood flowing.  A shoulder or back of the knee, perhaps.  Think about what parts of your body may have not been as attended and let your partner know.  Gently caress, kiss, or nibble these parts, spending ample time on each new area you’ve (re)discovered. You might be surprised at what has been overlooked yet can heighten the pleasure just as much as your primary sex organs.

Kayna Cassard, MA, MFT – www.kaynacassard.com

# 39. Read out loud to each other

Renee Segal

I often give couples this homework after the first session. Find a book that you are interested in and read it together aloud in bed or on the couch. It can be a novel, poetry or non-fiction. Just read out loud. The act of listening to your partner’s voice can be calming and can increase the cuddle factor. Each partner can choose the book and then alternate reading it. Sometimes people choose a racy novel and that can really get things going. Have fun!!

Renee Segal, MA, LMFT – www.mplscounseling.com

# 40. Create a resentment-free relationship

Vicki Langemo

Of course there is always the basic advice for bringing back the spark in your relationship: flirt, romantic gestures, or have a date night. But in order for romance to occur, you must be happy with your partner. Therefore, each of you must make sure there is no hidden anger or resentment that is blocking your intimacy. Have an open discussion about any secret resentments each of you may be withholding.

Then commit to resolving them by finding a Win/Win Solution. Win/Win Solutions are resolutions where both sides feel like their feelings and needs have been validated. When a disagreement occurs, brainstorm a solution that satisfies both sides. If you are happy in your relationship then loving gestures should ignite the passionate flames.

Vicki Langemo, LPC – www.facebook.com/CounselingConversations

# 41. Give a little love in the way your partner needs

Gloria Bannasch

Many men feel loved when they are physically intimate with their partners. For women, the words, “Let me take care of that honey”, are our favorite pornography; we feel love when our partners are attentive. When women don’t, “feel the love”, they don’t feel like making love; when men don’t make love, they don’t feel like being helpful, attentive and emotionally intimate. A vicious cycle begins as the partners spiral away from each other. The only way out is for everyone to give a little love in the way their partner needs it; even when they don’t feel like it.

Gloria Bannasch, MEd, LPC, NCC – www.gjbsupportservices.com

# 42. Remember as humans we have two paradoxical needs

Remember as humans we have two paradoxical needs

As humans we have two paradoxical needs—the security of home and the experience of adventure. Not only do individuals need to experience vitality, passion and excitement, a relationship needs these too. Relationships slide into boredom and routine easily. Remember, how we live relationships is going directly into our partner’s brain circuitry so why not make those memories vibrant and alive versus dull and dreary.

Tips to turn on the feel good chemicals in our brain

– Balance commitment with spontaneity
– Create romance any way you can
– Do something completely unexpected
– Do something amazingly thoughtful
– Revisit and imprint memorable moments
– Have an adventure
– Never become boring

Brenda Schaeffer, D.Min., M.A.L.P., C.A.S. – www.itsallaboutlove.com

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