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How can I keep the spark in my romantic relationship?

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine
Try the following tips to reawaken the passion in your love life. It can be done!

- Relive your first date. Try to re-create all aspects of that first time with your partner, whether it's going to the same restaurant or coffeehouse. Remember the anticipation of being with your partner for the first time? Consider why you wanted to spend time together in the first place. This can be a fun way to rekindle a dwindling romance.

- Remember what first attracted you to your mate. What did you think when you first saw your mate? Did he or she have a certain spring to their walk? Was there a special smile? Was it something he or she said or how it was said? Did you meet in a busy airport or train station and discover that you loved John Grisham thrillers? The things that initially attracted you to the person will always force you to remember why you're together and will help to recenter your life with your mate.
  • Flirt. It could be a sexy phone call, a note left on the pillow or a suggestive glance. Don't assume that your sweetie couldn't be wooed by you like the old days.
  • Get dolled up. Unfortunately, as relationships age, we tend to neglect the little things that initially attracted our mate's attention. So take a little extra time at least once a week to spruce up your appearance. Women: Put on a little makeup or paint your nails. Men: Shave extra close and use some aftershave. Try wearing something other than sweatpants and T-shirts.
Remember, you have a stake in keeping "the bloom on the rose." Marriages and relationships do not sustain themselves; they must be carefully tended if they are to retain their blush. That means coming up with innovative ways to intrigue your mate, alleviate boredom and avoid anxiety.

Remind each other how important it is to try to retain the happiness you experienced when you first discovered each other and decided you just had to be together.

Respect and affection are essential. Confide in each other. Go on dates, even small ones like visiting a coffee shop to chat. Spend time apart to develop your own friends and interests. Fight fairly-be specific about what's bothering you now; don't rehash the past or use blaming statements. Pick times to talk that are good for both of you; don't have a weighty discussion before bed after a long workday. Listen without multitasking, passing judgment or interrupting. Also, set goals, both individual ones and those you'd like to accomplish together, such as an amount of money to save for a house or vacation. Discuss any ideas that might affect those goals, such as going back to school.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.