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How to Rekindle Romance for a More Fulfilling Relationship

Rejuvenate your romance by doing these five simple things, says a relationship expert. 

If the romance in your relationship is fizzling, it doesn't mean the love affair is over. "Romances are like heads of hair. To be their most luxurious, full and shiny they need to be nourished and trimmed up regularly," explains Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., author of Fragile Power: Why Having It All Is Never Enough. As a relationship therapist, he works with couples of all ages to "bring luster and life back into relationships that have stagnated or atrophied," he explains. Over the years he has found that couples who develop and engage in a few simple habits have romantic lives "that not only feel great, but that look fantastic as well."

Intervene Early

man and woman discussing their relationship
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Don't wait until it's too late to work on your relationship. "Early intervention is key," says Dr. Hokemeyer. "Couples who start attending to their romance the moment they sense it cooling fair best over time. Push against your natural resistance to keep putting off addressing the fading of your romance. Most couples wait to come to therapy after years of relational decay. Some of my couples have been in sexless marriages for ten or so years. While any relationship can be rekindled, the longer the decay has occurred the harder and longer will be the repair." 

Demonstrate Random Acts of Kindness

Gift box

Sometimes, all it takes is random acts of kindness to rejuvenate a relationship. "Romance is a feeling of excitement and mystery. It's based on feeling valued. One of the most romantic things we can do for our partners is to do something kind and unexpected," says Dr. Hokemeyer. "One woman said the most romantic thing her husband does for her is her laundry at unexpected times over the course of a month." 

Focus on Smalle, Meaningful Gestures

relationship quotes - smiling couple in love with red roses
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Size doesn't matter when it comes to showing your love. "Relationships stagnate and couples get stuck in unhealthy patterns by thinking they need to wait for the perfect time to engage in some reality TV sized gesture of affection," explains Dr. Hokemeyer. "In doing so, they forgo abundant opportunities to engage in micro acts of affection. One 63 year old husband I worked with the most romantic thing his wife of 40 years did for him was kiss him on the top of his head when she walked by him as he sat in his lounge chair watching his favorite sport team." 

Really See Your Partner

Loving happy couple talking to each other at home

Even though you might have seen your wife in that blouse 100 times, letting her know you see her in it will make her feel appreciated and loved, says Dr. Hokemeyer. "The need to be seen is primal to human beings. We come into this world needing to be seen and loved by our parents and while that need morphs over the course of our lives, it never goes away." 

And, Listen to Them

A happy young couple sitting on the couch in jeans and talking.
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Also, make sure to really listen to each other. "Human beings need to be heard by the people they love and who love them. Over the years, however, couples get tone deaf to one another's voice. This is one of the main reasons why couples who have been together for decades are always saying, 'what?' in response to the other's comments," Dr. Hokemeyer points out. "Be mindful of this and find kinder more generous ways to ask your partner to repeat what they just said." He tells the story of a wife telling him that her husband of 45 years changed from barking out 'what?" when he didn't hear her to at least trying to make out what he thought she said through statements such as, "I think you said Tom is coming over tomorrow, but I'm not sure I got that right." 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more