Rekindling The Romance: 5 Proven Exercises for Couples
Updated: Aug 12
Are you and your partner feeling disconnected and yearning to reignite the flame of romance in your relationship? Rekindling the romance is a journey that requires effort, commitment, and understanding. Drawing from the research of renowned couples therapists, Esther Perel and John Gottman, here are five exercises designed to help you and your partner rediscover the love, intimacy, and passion that brought you together in the first place.
1. The Art of Vulnerability: Logic isn't logic
We are often convinced that logic is everyone's logic. But we do not think the same and we have different needs and experiences that create filters through which we experience things and see things.
Having a discussion on a) what makes you feel safe from the other person, b) what turns you on, and c) are there things that turn you each off; is a great way to start the flames. The "what makes you feel safe" is especially important for women. Men tend to feel closer when intimate, but women tend to need to feel safe before they want to be intimate.
2. The Gottman Love Map: Asking Open-Ended Questions
John Gottman's Love Map technique focuses on building a detailed knowledge of your partner's world. Take turns asking each other open-ended questions to explore each other's thoughts, feelings, and dreams. For example, "What are your biggest dreams for the future?" or "What is your favorite way to relax after a long day?" This exercise helps you stay updated on your partner's inner world, fostering a sense of emotional closeness and engagement. The longer we are together - the more we tend to take each other for granted. We change! Our likes, dislikes, and dreams change. It's important and helpful to stay curious about each other. They have a great app to take this part further, you can learn more here.
3. The Mystery Date: Rediscovering Each Other
Novelty is integral to rekindling desire. Plan a "mystery date" for each other where you take turns surprising your partner with something new and unexpected. It could be a picnic at a scenic spot, trying out a cooking class together, or even exploring a nearby town you've never visited. This exercise encourages spontaneity, adventure, and the thrill of exploring new experiences together. Don't think of date nights - those tend to focus solely on dinners. Pick a day per month and make turns planning something fun. When it's during the day - it's easier for babysitting. And you can do activities as a couple which can take the focus off of strained conversation, and hopefully bring some laughter back into the connection. But date nights are welcome too.
4. Appreciation Letters: Gratitude and Affirmation
Both Perel and Gottman highlight the power of appreciation in maintaining a strong bond. Set aside time to write each other heartfelt appreciation letters. Express your love, gratitude, and admiration for your partner's qualities, efforts, and actions. Share specific examples of moments when they made you feel loved and cherished. These letters serve as beautiful keepsakes and reminders of the love you share, especially during challenging times.
5. Intimacy Rituals: Reconnecting Physically and Emotionally
Physical touch and emotional connection are vital in rekindling romance. Create intimacy rituals that allow you to connect with each other on a regular basis. This could be anything from morning cuddles before starting the day to weekly or monthly "dates" where you engage in activities in the bedroom that you both enjoy. Making time to hug every day (even when you work from home), and trying to hug longer than usual. The goal is to prioritize these rituals, as they strengthen your emotional and physical connection.
Please note that if there has been a lot of fighting and betrayal, intimacy will require trust to be brought back into the relationship. For one, intimacy feels like it builds trust - but for the other, it can feel like it's forced and disingenuous. Please get therapy or support to help you two navigate this. If your partner doesn't feel like she can say no to sex - it's non-consensual. Even if you're married. You might not intend it so but talk to her about it if she feels she can. And what you do that maybe makes her feel she can't say no. Duty sex is no one's friend.
Rekindling the romance in your relationship is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and intentionality. By incorporating these five exercises
you can deepen your emotional bond, enhance intimacy, and rediscover the love and passion that brought you together. Remember, each relationship is unique, so adapt these exercises to fit your dynamic and enjoy the journey of reigniting your romance together.