Tips To Help You Reignite The Spark In Your Long-Term Relationship

Long-term relationships can take a toll on people. It's the day in and day out, every day, where everything is the same that can really make a couple wonder what the heck they got themselves into. But, while this may be the case, it's normal, and very few long-term relationships can escape the dwindling spark from those early years.


"The initial heat and passion people feel at the beginning of a relationship is called limerence, or 'the honeymoon phase,'" certified sex therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., LMFT, CST, tells Mind Body Green. "This phase is a powerful cocktail of novelty (the seat of human desire!), and hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. We'd literally burn ourselves out if we continually moved through the world that way."

Although there may be some out there who would be content to burn themselves out on that flame of love forever, for the rest of us, that sounds exhausting. But just because the flame is flickering or maybe gone out completely in your long-term relationship, that doesn't mean it can't be reignited again.


Try something new together

When people have been together for a long time, they fall into patterns where every day is the same. It's all so much the same, in fact, that it's literally like clockwork. One of the key ways to infuse that spark into your relationship is by doing something new, something you've never done before, together.


"When these new activities are enjoyable, that tends to increase your attachment to each other, and you have more in common to help further build the 'glue' of your relationship," licensed marriage and family therapist Gary Brown, Ph.D., tells Self. "Oxytocin, the 'love hormone,' and dopamine, the 'feel good' hormone, play a role here."

Brown suggests getting creative and doing something you wouldn't usually do. Skydiving perhaps? Research has found that adrenaline has a profound effect on attraction and arousal. So don't hold back when planning something new and exciting to do. If you can handle it, choose something that's going to give you a real thrill and get that adrenaline pumping. 

Talk about it

Oh, yes, the good ol' "let's sit down and hash it out" chat. But here's the thing with communication in a relationship: it's paramount. If you're realizing the spark has dulled, but you talk to your partner about it and they don't agree, then that's a serious conversation worth having.


While no relationship is perfect and we can't expect every partnership to be on the same page at the same time about everything, if one partner sees the relationship one way and the other sees it another way, then that's something that can't be ignored. Thoughts and opinions and feelings need to be laid out on the table and shared. In talking about this particular topic, you'll give each other not only a chance to let the other one know how you feel, but together you can come up with a game plan to reignite things in a way that will excite you both.

Step up your displays of gratitude

When we're with someone for a long time, we can sometimes take them for granted. We forget how lucky we are to love them and to be loved by them. As the years pass, what's taken for granted can increase, and, before you know it, you might even forget how or why you fell in love in the first place. Don't let that happen. Bring back small romantic gestures and practice gratitude — not occasionally, but on a daily basis.


"Oftentimes, when we are in a long-term relationship, we start to take each other for granted," licensed marriage and family therapist Amanda Baquero tells PsychCentral. "One great way to reignite the spark in your relationship is to make time to practice gratitude with each other."

According to Brown, this isn't just about saying "thank you" more often but going beyond that to say you're grateful and show your gratitude and appreciation for your partner.

Allow yourself to get sexually adventurous

Because newness and novelty are so important in keeping the spark alive, don't let it start and stop with just exciting dates. Bring those new experiences into the bedroom too. While some long-term partners continue to have sex simply because they know it's good for the relationship, it's taking a chance at exploring things outside the box that can really spice things up.


"On one end of the spectrum, you could talk about consensual nonmonogamy — going to a play party or having a guest star in one of your sexual experiences," certified sex therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., LMFT, CST, tells Mind Body Green. "On the other end, maybe it's simply incorporating a new toy or erotic materials (porn/audio erotica) into your sexual repertoire."

Talk to your partner about what they've been sexually interested in trying, share what's been meandering around in your head, and go for it. You'll never truly know what you're into if you don't give different things a try. 

Go back to the beginning

Once upon a time, before you were in a relationship, you and your partner met and then fell in love. You experienced the three stages of love: lust, infatuation, and attachment. During that time everything was new, places that weren't all that important before became special because you were there together. It's important to remember the beginnings and when it all started, so go back there.


"Going somewhere you have great memories together can remind you that you're still interesting people who like each other," co-author of "How To Keep Your Marriage From Sucking," Amiira Ruotola tells Oprah Daily. "Sometimes we need a sensory kick in the butt to reignite a dormant spark."

Let it all come back to you. Make out under the boardwalk like you did that one July night back in 2017. Play footsies under the table at the restaurant where you realized you were in love with each other. Igniting those memories is reigniting that spark.

Date each other again

With such busy lives, trying to carve out space for just the two of you to connect and have one-on-one quality time together can be tricky. That's where date night comes in and it's essential. You may have chuckled before at couples who had specific nights of the week or, in some cases months, for special dates, but now you're one of them. So, plan a whole date, mark it on the calendar, and make a night of it.


"There is a myth that sex should be spontaneous. Life can get busy and things can get in the way of being physically intimate with your partner," certified sex therapist Rachel Needle, PsyD, tells PsychCentral. "Planning ahead can build anticipation and excitement."

Sometimes in the chaos of life, we need to make time for each other and if that needs to be a scheduled date, so be it.

Show your partner affection

In taking your partner for granted, there's a good chance you tend to walk by them and not give them a kiss, a cuddle, or even a little nudge to let them know that just touching them still gives you a flutter. If you haven't been showing your partner affection on a regular basis, it's time to start doing that again.


"It increases chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and oxytocin, which send signals of care, love, and safety," licensed clinical psychologist Shelley Sommerfeldt, PsyD, tells Women's Health. You'd be surprised what something as simple as a hug can do to the brain and the hormones that are released because of it. 

Relationships take not just work, but maintenance. Like anything in life, partnerships are just as susceptible to basic wear and tear, and when that happens, the issues need to be mended and remedied before it all falls apart. Although not all relationships that have lost the passion can be saved, with enough effort and commitment to the partnership, you can get back to where you once were. You just might need to get a parachute and plane to do it.