Do you feel you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling in your relationship?
Does it seem like there’s not much romance if any at all?
Do you find yourself ignoring your spouse at night as to not get romantic?
Do you attempt to be romantic only to be ignored or brushed off by your spouse?
Do you do certain things to avoid conflict with your partner?
Has your spark flickered out in your relationship with your spouse?
Does it seem that you are not feeling the same way toward your partner as you did when you first confirmed your love for each other?
Have you lost interest in romance?
Has your partner lost interest in meeting your romantic needs?
Are you frustrated with your spouse for not showing much interest in being a romantic couple?
Have you answered “yes” to a few or many of these questions? You have a lot in common with most couples who have misplaced the romance in their lives. We have found that many couples are hurting emotionally and mentally in their relational pain making ineffective and futile attempts to get their needs and wants met that as they stumble into roadblocks. They even have somehow set aside those things that improve their relationship. So many times we see the problem long before we realize the solutions that will improve the relationship. We know how to “poke the bear” in order to try and get what we want but provocation seems to lead to more defensiveness, conflict, and resistance to change.
For the sake of definition, let’s view romance as a conjoint and reciprocal infusion of love, concern, respect, and favor with visceral, sensual responses which may and generally lead to sexual feelings toward another for the relational, social, and familial fulfillment and satisfaction in one’s being.
In proposing solutions to being stuck or regaining the lost romance, we here with Pathways Counseling Services are here to help. It is our honor and privilege to counsel couples who wish to work through and improve their romantic selves for a more loving and fulfilling relationship. We have counselors with various backgrounds, life experiences, education and training ready to be of help for you. Let’s look to hope for overcoming roadblocks and igniting romance with ways to improve your relationship.
3 Roadblocks that get in the way of healthy romance
Past or current conflict in the relationship. This may not come as a surprise, but conflict usually impedes a couples’ mood of being romantic in a positive and healthy way. Yes, one can “fake it ‘til you make it” but this lasts only so long until most if not all meaning is lost and one becomes exhausted at trying. If there are unresolved issues…such as with trust, finances, raising a child, in-law issues, alcohol use, drug use, computer use, and other issues, these things may add up interfering with the romance in your relationship. Conflict may also arise when each of your relational needs are not being met. For example, when there is lack of quality time together, lack of kindness or encouragement from the other, lack of attention, lack of affection, or misunderstandings, then conflict tends to happen. When each of you has differing expectations in the relationship as to who does what and when or how certain things or routines are done, then chances are high that an argument occurs. But how do you know there is conflict? Consider when you are angry at your partner. Notice how you are thinking, feeling or acting or reacting toward him/her. Identify the cause or causes of the conflict. Was it something your partner said? Was it some he/she did that ruffled your feathers? Recognize your own thoughts and feelings first and get those settled before you attempt to address the misdoings of your spouse or partner. When you “get the log out” of your own eye, then you can see more clearly to “get the speck out” of your spouse’s eye.
Changes in life…health, job, or schedules. As we know, change is a part of life and with change comes adjustments. It is in these changes and adjustments that a couple makes which may impact their relationship. Has there been a recent change in schedules? A change in job duties? Changes in daycares? Has there been an increase in caregiving responsibilities? A job promotion, demotion or loss? There are many changes whether expected or not that can add to the stress of a relationship affecting the romance. These changes can pose as roadblocks to how you give and receive in your relationship. If you find it a continual struggle in adjusting or an increase in conflict, it may be good to seek counseling in order to sort out these struggles and conflicts for a better relationship.
Difficulty communicating needs in a positive, receptive way. Difficulty communicating is one of the major reasons we have found that couples come to us for counseling. This is a significant roadblock in having a strong romantic connection with your spouse. Do you find it hard to share how you really feel about what your partner is doing or saying to you? Sometimes anger, frustration as well as isolation or flat out ignoring a partner adds more to the conflict diminishing the romance in your relationship.
5 things to infuse into your relationship
Whether it has been just a few short weeks or 30 years, no matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, most couples long for in one form or another (and all healthy relationships need), romance. The thing is, when it comes to infusing romance into your daily lives, sometimes due to your financial constraints, awkward schedules, changes in health (as previously mentioned) or other responsibilities, it feels like opportunities are in short supply. So regrettably, we’ll wait until big occasions like holidays, birthdays or anniversaries before making any kind of effort to be romantic with our partner. Yes, romancing each other is hard work and takes a concerted effort.
When we lack being intentional in expressing our affections, care, concern or favor towards our spouse/partner, it can cause them to interpret our actions (or lack thereof) as us taking them for granted. If this goes on for a while, it can lead to a breakdown in communication, skepticism, fear, suspiciousness, which can lead to more and more conflict, isolation and neglect causing plans that may lead to the significant decisions in your relationship. So, if you’re wanting to improve in your romance with your spouse/partner, let’s take a look at some ways to rekindle your relationship.
Listen. As stated in the roadblocks, the positive angle is putting to practice the simple but yet difficult action of listening to your partner. Listening entails the willingness to be attentive to what is important to your partner, his/her needs, and responding in kind to your spouse. Paying attention to what she is saying, recognizing the content of what is said and asking a question or two if you don’t understand what he is expressing. This shows that you care enough about what your partner has to say so that you learn to recognize his or her needs and be open to meeting those needs. Be careful to clarify what she actually is requesting and clarifying the facts without assuming you know what he wants.
Pay attention to the “little things”. What may be no big deal to you may be huge to your spouse. This is where you take the time to invest in his life to learn more about her and what brings a sparkle or smile in his/her life. A note (or text) of encouragement, a small gift of “I was just thinking about you”, an act of cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes, or washing his car can be showing you care in the simple or in the “little things” that matter. Some of these things may be mundane or ordinary but the thoughtfulness without expectation of reciprocity may just bring about an unexpected spark of romance in your relationship.
Be spontaneous. This will take some thought as well as risk in how you go about it. Taking your partner out to dinner on a weekday or an “off” night, going to karaoke night, pack a note in a lunch, put five activities you guys have wanted to do in a hat and have your partner pick one out of the hat. There are many ways you can express spontaneity in your relationship. It shows that you’re thinking about ways to express how you feel about your spouse even when it’s not a “special occasion”.
Plan a “blind” date. This is where you set a day and time to “go out” but it is a surprise for the other. This may go along as being spontaneous but in a more specific way. You plan the date—location, activities keeping in mind what your partner would enjoy as well as what you enjoy together.
Take a walk down memory’s lane. Showing that special someone how you care about her and that he means the world to you. For example, queue up the movie you watched on one of your first dates, look through some old photos from when you first met, if you kept the old love letters or cards, sit down and read them together. A walk down memory lane has a very romantic flair to it inviting each of you to share in the moment.
Romance is not so much about extravagance as it is about the everyday ebb and flow of life with being intentional on the love that you share with your spouse, your partner, your friend. Celebrate it together.
You may feel intimidated by some of these things or you may have done any number of these things and there still is a rift in your relationship. This is where counseling may be beneficial for you. These things may be pretty far off or out of the question as there is a lot of tension, anger and frustration in your relationship that romance may be some sort of pipedream. Yet, you, your spouse, your partner, your relationship is worth it. You have value and purpose and so does your relationship.
We here as counselors are open to meeting with you and walking through the tough times as well as fine tuning in some of the rough spots for a better more vibrant relationship. Give us a call at 520-292-9750 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.