You’re lounging on your sofa together, the third rerun of that sitcom playing in the background, both in your well-worn PJs—the comfort’s real, but the spark? It seems dimmer.
It’s beautiful to build such a strong and safe connection with a partner where you can see and love all of each other. But too much comfort can come at the expense of excitement and unpredictability.
In this article, we’ll go over tips and ideas to help you spice up your relationship so that it feels exciting to be with each other again.
New and Exciting Date Ideas
Studies suggest1https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02332.x that feeling bored 7 years into a relationship predicts feeling dissatisfied in that relationship 16 years in. Boredom in a relationship is natural but can become corrosive if not addressed.
One way to combat this is to share exciting experiences. In one test2https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0031719, couples who spent 90 minutes per week engaging in an exciting new activity for four weeks displayed greater excitement about their relationship. And these results lasted for four months!
Below are several ideas for new dates to bring some unpredictability and excitement into your connection.
DIY film festival
Instead of the usual Netflix binge, co-create a themed film fest with your loved one.
Curate a list of short films neither of you has seen, complete with popcorn and festival-like discussions after each viewing.
Action Step: Research unique film themes, curate your list, and set up a mini theatre at home with dim lights and comfy cushions.
If you need help figuring out where to start, here’s IMDB’s list of top films.
The mysterious getaway
Ever dreamt of a spontaneous escape? Now’s the time. One person organizes a mystery day trip, while the other enjoys the suspense.
This gives one partner the joy of creative planning and the other the pleasure of surrendering to the experience.
Action Step: Pick which partner will plan the getaway. Then, agree on a date. And planning partner, have fun with it! If you want to go all out, you can even blindfold your partner in the car ride so they have no idea where you’ll be going.
Consider doing this tip twice, where you each get a turn as the planner.
Your History Through Music
This one is super fun because it is nostalgic and creative! Each person should create a playlist of their life history through music. Which songs did you enjoy at different times of your life? Which songs remind you of other parts of your life? Which songs bring up memories of certain people and when they came into your life? Go through the playlist, listen to each piece, and tell stories of each time.
Gallery hop with persona play
Art stimulates, but how about adding a bit of roleplay? Choose an art district, and as you meander, adopt new personas for each gallery you visit. Discuss artworks as these alternate versions of yourselves.
This roleplay will bring improvisational skills, inspire new ways of looking at art, and draw out different dynamics in your connection with your partner.
Action Step: Choose an art district, prep a list of quirky personas, and let the day guide your narrative.
Analog night out
The radical move is to step back in a world oversaturated by digital stimuli. Think sepia-toned evenings sans phones. Dive into your city’s underground jazz bar or a forgotten ’50s diner. Let conversations linger without the interference of instant fact-checking.
Action Step: Set up a phone-free adventure where you either get lost wandering around your city together. And if you choose to make plans, consider writing down directions the old-fashioned way.
Chart your dreams together
Amidst the rhythm of everyday life, it’s not uncommon for couples to drift on their currents. But sitting down with your partners and speaking candidly about your life goals can be powerful.
This can be an empowering activity that links you to each others’ sense of purpose.
It’s about intertwining aspirations, painting a shared canvas, and whispering secrets of tomorrow yet to unfold.
Action Step: Plan time to grab coffee with your partner and chart your life dreams, goals, and aspirations. Try reflecting on these questions:
- What do I want my career to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
- What do I want my finances to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
- What do I want my relationships to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
- What do I want my health to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
- What do I want our partnership to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
And if you’d like some support clarifying your goals, you might enjoy this free guide:
How To Set Better Goals Using Science
Do you set the same goals over and over again? If you’re not achieving your goals – it’s not your fault!
Let me show you the science-based goal-setting framework to help you achieve your biggest goals.
Ideas to Rekindle Your Romance
The surprise bouquet, the unexpected note, and the tiny acts remind us why we fell in love. A sprinkle of these gestures can stoke the embers of passion, ensuring the flame never truly fades.
Part of the reason romantic gestures feel so good is because they show devotion and effort. Let’s explore a few ideas.
The memory dive
In the midst of daily life, we sometimes forget the pivotal moments that shaped our love.
Strolling down memory lane can help you reconnect with your relationship history’s beautiful moments and aspects. Rediscovering the little things, those quirky anecdotes, and shared secrets can reignite that old spark.
Action Step: Spend an evening going through the entire history of your relationship. Peruse old photos, read old texts, listen to songs from your early dating days, or revisit places that hold special memories. Feel the magic of the past weave its way into your present.
Routine, though comforting, often lacks the thrill that spontaneous plans bring.
There’s something incredibly romantic about an unexpected getaway, be it a cozy cabin in the woods, a luxury hotel in the city, or a charming B&B by the sea.
Action Step: Look for a nearby location you’ve never explored together. Secretly pack an overnight bag for both and invite your partner for this impromptu adventure when the time feels right.
Gazing at the vast cosmic expanse reminds one of the infiniteness of love.
Arrange for a stargazing date, perhaps coupled with a telescope to explore distant galaxies.
Action Step: On a clear evening, lay out a blanket in your backyard or a quiet open spot, bring some wine or hot cocoa, and immerse yourselves in celestial wonder.
Literary love affair: an evening of romantic readings
Imagine cuddling with your partner in a cozy nook with the glow of ambient candlelight, diving into romantic literature together.
Consider engaging in an intimate exchange of heartfelt words from timeless tales. Take turns reading passionate poems, sentimental sonnets, or evocative excerpts from classic love stories aloud.
The stories might inspire feelings and ideas about love and romance. Listening to your partner’s voice lulling you into an imaginative world can be unique.
Action Step: Curate a list of romantic literature or poetry. Set the scene with ambient lighting, perhaps some wine, and let the words draw you closer together.
Consider doing this activity in a library or a bookshop if it has the right vibe.
Ideas to Deepen Your Intimacy
More than touch, intimacy is about seeing and being seen. From a silent dance to a locked gaze, these shared moments offer a profound connection, uniting two souls on a sublime level.
All couples have their go-to ways of connecting intimately: massage, cuddles, or kissing. While it’s important to have the tried-and-true, experimenting with a new form of intimate connection can go a long way.
Studies suggest3https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-019-09807-4 that novelty/variety is a basic human need for well-being, which also applies to relationships!
Take inspiration from some of these ideas on intimately bonding with your partner.
There’s something truly intimate about sharing one’s soundtrack.
One evening, create a shared playlist where you both add songs that have significance to each of you.
If you both share a passion for dance, put on the playlist and allow the beats to guide your movements.
If dancing isn’t one person’s forte, let the music play while you sit silently, letting the lyrics and instrumentals weave stories and draw you closer.
Action Step: Choose a tranquil setting, whether your living room or a cozy corner of your home. Co-create a playlist together—somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. Then connect a speaker, perhaps bring a favorite drink, and open your hearts through the art of music.
The soulful stare
Eye-gazing, a practice hailed from ancient traditions, is a profound way to reconnect.
This activity is more than just a staring contest; it explores vulnerability, understanding, and rediscovery. By gazing into your partner’s eyes without uttering a word, you transcend the mundane and tap into an unspoken language of the soul.
Action Step: Choose a comfortable and quiet spot, sit facing each other, and gaze into each other’s eyes. Set a timer for just five minutes. After the timer goes off, share what the experience was like for you.
Try several rounds. See what happens if you are both silent versus both sharing what’s happening in real-time (e.g., “I notice looking into your eyes right now that I feel a sense of grief under the surface.” Or whatever is true for you at the moment).
The sensory soiree
In a perpetually hustling world, we often forget the allure of simplicity. This enchantment lies in the feather-light touch of a hand or the intoxicating scent of essential oils.
This is an activity to explore physical pleasure with each other and with the eyes closed.
Research shows4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444970/ that closing your eyes increases your “somatosensory perception” (colloquially known as your sense of touch).
Action Step: Follow these steps:
- Pick who will give pleasure and who will receive pleasure first
- The person giving pleasure puts a blindfold over the receiver
- The receiver lies down in a comfortable position
- Put on a timer for 10 minutes. Giver, get creative with the pleasurable sensations you can give the receiver. Try essential oils beneath the nose, whispers in the ears, berries on the lips, and varieties of touch across the body
- The receiver surrenders into trust and vulnerability
- When the timer goes off, reflect on how that experience was for both of you
- Then switch roles
Ideas to Deepen Your Quality Time
Life can so often feel rushed and hurried. But when we can slow down and be with another person, time can stop for us and make these experiences unforgettable.
These instances, devoid of distractions, allow us to reconnect, rekindle, and remember the magic between us.
Nature’s tranquil moments
Nature provides a unique serenity—a pause, a quiet, a backdrop perfect for heartfelt conversations and introspection.
Take advantage of the beauty of nature and enjoy it with your partner.
Action Step: Set aside two hours for a nature experience together. Take a stroll in the park, hike up a nearby trail, or find a forest creek to sit by and relax. The simplicity of nature draws out genuine emotions and connections.
Candle’s scent renewal
When you light a candle, it smells phenomenal at first. It still smells nice over the next ten minutes, but the fragrance fades. After thirty minutes, you can’t even smell the candle anymore. However, if you leave the room for ten minutes and return, the candle smells as potent as ever.
This metaphor applies to your relationship as well.
When you see a person every day, day after day, you become accustomed to them. You stop appreciating their freshness and uniqueness as you can no longer smell the candle.
But if you take a short break from the relationship, then once you return, the connection can feel full of vitality and appreciation once again.
Action Step: Pick a weekend to take a break from your partner. One of you can rent an Airbnb or stay with a friend. Try not to text in these days. Allow yourselves to disconnect so that once you see each other again, you can have the experience of reconnecting.
If a weekend isn’t possible, see if you can slot out a day.
Form and tweak your rituals
Having shared rituals or routines can be a simple yet effective way to ensure quality time. It creates a sense of belonging and stability.
It can also shake things up to alter the rituals you already have
Action Step: It could be as simple as having a cup of tea together every morning, reading to each other before bed, or having a dedicated date night. Find what resonates and make it “your thing.”
If you don’t have rituals, try a new one for a week.
If you already have rituals, the next time you do it, state aloud that it’s one of your rituals, which can give extra meaning to the act. Then, explore if there are any ways you’d like to change up the ritual.
Everyone has their own idea of what perfect quality time looks like—those idyllic moments that have an everlasting impact.
Sharing these visions can lead to mutual understanding and an appreciation of each other’s needs and desires.
You can even create a vision board together!
Action Step: Set aside an evening to describe to each other your ideal scenarios for quality time, down to the details—whether it’s a quiet evening at home, an adventurous outing, or a shared hobby.
Once shared, try to turn each other’s visions into reality, ensuring both feel seen and valued.
Ideas to Open to Each Other Through Communication
By fostering honest, heartfelt dialogues, couples can unveil hidden desires and release pent-up emotions, creating a space where both partners truly feel heard and cherished.
The sacred 5-minute share
It’s said that being heard is so close to being loved that many can’t tell the difference.
This is a practice of deep listening where you give each other a dedicated time slot to speak freely. This type of sharing offers a profound way to connect, understand, and validate each other’s experiences.
Action Step: Set a timer for 5 minutes. One person shares anything on their mind—no interruptions, just a safe space to speak. They can share about their day, relationship, or feelings. Whatever authentically wants to be heard. The other person listens and receives.
When the timer ends, switch roles.
This type of sharing can also be helpful to work through conflicts because it prevents you from talking over each other, like this:
Consider trying this list of deep questions for another type of deep listening.
The art of expressing appreciation
During a conflict, healthy couples share five positive comments5https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples/ (like appreciation) for every negative comment.
On the other hand, during a conflict, unhealthy couples tend to share 0.8 positive comments for every negative comment.
In other words—a healthy couple would share 50 appreciations for every 10 negative comments during a conflict, whereas an unhealthy couple would share 8 appreciations for every 10 negative comments.
There’s magic in expressing gratitude and appreciation. It’s like watering a plant, nurturing its growth, and keeping the love alive.
Action Step: Choose a quiet moment together. Sit face to face and take turns sharing five genuine appreciations about the other.
These can range from admiring a physical feature, cherishing a specific memory, valuing a trait they consistently display, or even celebrating a choice they’ve made recently.
Not only does this create an environment of positivity, but it can also make you aware of the many reasons you cherish your partner. And, perhaps most importantly, it can remind your partner of their worth and impact on you (and vice versa).
The curiosity game
In the vast universe of two people’s shared lives, numerous galaxies are yet to be explored.
Sometimes, the delight of discovering something new about a relationship, even after years together, keeps a relationship fresh.
This could be significant revelations like understanding their relationship with fear on a more profound level, or it can be as simple as learning their favorite childhood candy.
Action Step: Allocate 7 minutes to each partner. In that time, one becomes the curious explorer, asking questions that come to mind – from whimsical to profound—and the other answers sincerely.
After each session, discuss the experience. What did you discover? How did it feel to be the focus or the inquirer?
Switch roles and repeat.
Here’s a great place to start if you’d like to ask questions from a pre-scripted list.
Decode your love languages
In the vast vocabulary of love, sometimes we speak in different dialects.
Understanding your partner’s love language, be it ‘Words of Affirmation’ or ‘Acts of Service,’ transforms a simple gesture into a profound expression of love.
As a primer, the five love languages are:
- 1. Word affirmation
This love language values verbal expressions of love, such as compliments, words of appreciation, and verbal encouragement.
You might recognize this as a primary love language if You feel especially cherished when someone takes the time to reassure you verbally or offer genuine compliments.
- 2. Acts of service
For some, actions truly speak louder than words. This love language involves performing acts of service like doing chores or helping with tasks.
You might recognize this as a primary love language if You feel loved when someone cooks you a meal or helps you with a task without being asked.
- 3. Receiving gifts
This isn’t necessarily about materialism but the thought and effort behind the gift. Even small tokens can have profound meaning.
You might recognize this as a primary love language if You feel deeply touched and appreciated when receiving thoughtful gifts, whether big or small.
- 4. Quality time
This love language prioritizes undivided attention. It’s all about spending meaningful time together without distractions.
You might recognize this as a primary love language if You feel most connected when having deep conversations or simply spending uninterrupted time with a loved one.
- 5. Physical touch
This love language involves physical expressions of love like hugging, holding hands, and cuddling.
You might recognize this as a primary love language if You feel most loved and secure when engaged in physical closeness, from simple touches to deeper intimacies.
And if you’d like a quiz to understand your love languages better, you can check that out here.
Action Step: Each partner shares which love language resonates most with them and provides examples from the past when they felt deeply loved.
Watch our video below to find your love language and improve your relationship’s communication:
Ideas to Bring External Support In to Give Your Relationship a Spark
Bringing in expert voices, therapists, or enlightening books can offer fresh perspectives, guiding couples toward a harmonious symphony.
Embrace expert guidance
The average married couple waits six years5https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples/ before seeking help with marital problems. If you have a challenge you still need to solve together, why wait?
A relationship therapist or coach can offer a fresh perspective, aiding partners in navigating the complexities of togetherness and providing tools to enhance the bond.
Action Step: Research local therapists or coaches specializing in couples’ work. Schedule a consultation and approach the process with an open mind. See it as an investment in the foundation of your relationship.
Here are a few resources:
- PsychologyToday has a repository of couples therapists
- The Gottman Institute is a group of relationship therapists trained in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
- The Somatica Institute is a community of sex and relationship coaching that uses an attachment theory style.
A chapter a day keeps distance at bay
Just as classic literature stands the test of time, there are relationship books that have deeply impacted generations of lovers. These times offer insights, exercises, and shared experiences that can illuminate the path of your own love journey.
Action Step: Choose a highly recommended relationship book. Take turns reading aloud or independently and discussing a chapter each week. Dive into the exercises, reflect on the lessons, and grow together through shared insights.
Here are a few solid options to consider:
- Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic by Esther Perel
Perel delves into the complexities of sustaining desire within committed relationships, exploring how intimacy and passion can coexist.
- Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion by Danielle Harel and Celeste Hirschman
Harel and Hirschman provide actionable guidance on building genuine intimacy and passion, advocating for honest communication and mutual understanding.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman
Gottman presents evidence-based methods and principles to strengthen and rejuvenate marital bonds, drawing from decades of relationship research.
- The Art of Giving and Receiving: The Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin
Martin introduces the “Wheel of Consent” framework, emphasizing the importance of mutual agreement and understanding in touch and intimacy.
Relationship workshops can be transformative. They offer concentrated periods of learning, introspection, and shared experiences, often in the company of other couples navigating similar terrains.
Action Step: Find a local or virtual relationship workshop that resonates with both of you. Block the date and attend with an open heart, ready to learn and bond.
Connect with cards
Connection cards are tools designed to facilitate deeper conversations, encourage vulnerability, and foster intimacy. They can be a treasure trove of unexplored topics, leading to beautiful moments of discovery.
Action Step: Purchase a set of connection cards. Set a regular date, perhaps once a week, to draw a card and dive into its prompt. Let the simplicity of a card question guide you into realms of your relationship previously uncharted.
Here are a few options:
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Spice Up a Relationship
Signs that a relationship might need some added excitement include recurring patterns of monotony or a noticeable decrease in shared enthusiasm. Addressing this proactively with new experiences can breathe fresh life into the bond.
Couples can maintain a healthy balance between familiarity and novelty by cherishing established routines and introducing new experiences. This blend fosters both comfort and adventure within the relationship.
Yes, there are communication strategies for discussing fantasies with a partner; open-mindedness and creating a judgment-free zone are paramount. It can help you share how your fantasy makes you feel to help you understand. It’s important to understand that sexual fantasies are normal and can be key to sexual satisfaction, stoking sexual desire, creating sexual tension, and developing a healthy sex life.
Some unique date ideas to rekindle the romance in a relationship include stargazing nights, recreating a first date, or embarking on a spontaneous road trip. Embracing these activities can reignite the spark and create cherished memories. Trying new things can go a long way!
Spontaneity is crucial in keeping a relationship vibrant as it infuses moments of unpredictability and excitement. Such acts break the routine, get you out of the rut, and remind both partners of the joy in unexpected gestures.
Trying new activities together can improve emotional intimacy, as shared experiences foster deeper connections. Facing challenges or exploring novelties as a pair strengthens the emotional bond and increases relationship satisfaction.
Cultural differences impact spicing up relationships by introducing diverse traditions, values, and perspectives. Embracing and learning from these differences can enrich the relationship, adding layers of depth and understanding.
Takeaways on How to Spice Up a Relationship
Best of luck bringing some spice back into your relationship!
Here are a few tips from the list above to try out:
- The mysterious getaway: One person takes the reins to plan a spontaneous day trip or overnight stay, enveloping the other in delightful suspense, merging the joys of creative planning and pleasurable surrender.
- The memory dive: Revisit the poignant moments and tales of your love history to tug at nostalgia and reignite the foundational spark that has always been there.
- Harmonious heartbeats: Create a shared musical playlist to open an avenue for intimate connection; it’s an auditory dance of memories, emotions, and silent revelations.
- Take a few days apart: Just as our senses adjust and diminish the scent of a candle over time, a brief separation from your partner can renew appreciation and invigorate your bond.
- Express appreciations: Go back and forth and share five preferences for each other about their beauty, personality, or how they move through life.
If you’d like a few other tools to bring to your relationship, you might enjoy these relationship hacks.
How to Deal with Difficult People at Work
Do you have a difficult boss? Colleague? Client? Learn how to transform your difficult relationship.
I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.