how to rekindle love

Dr. Susan Heitler has years of experience teaching couples how to rekindle love in their marriages. Many of the couples she sees suffer from the same issues:  increasing distance, negativity and bitterness, infrequent sex and sometimes infidelity. Here is a game plan for how to rekindle love and save your marriage.

1. Break the silence

Before you move forward, it’s important to thoroughly understand both of your needs, desires and fears around intimacy and love in your marriage. Nothing will change if you don’t talk about it! Set aside a few hours in a quiet and peaceful location where you can focus on sharing your feelings. It may be helpful to take notes.

Communication tips: Sex and love are sensitive topics, and it is easy to take feedback about these things personally. Keep in mind that you are listening to learn about what your spouse needs and feels. Refrain from using “but…” or otherwise diminishing your spouse’s feelings. Thinking of this session as a “workshop” and taking notes can help you maintain objectivity and avoid becoming defensive. Check out Power of Two’s chapters on communication for more tips and tricks for having productive, positive conversations!

2. Practice LOVE every day

Love seems utterly mysterious—this intangible “thing” that is either there or it isn’t. In fact, love isn’t a feeling; it is doing. Rather, it is hundreds of little actions every day that contribute to feelings of intimacy and connection with your spouse and make you excited to be around each other.

While many couples wondering how to rekindle love still care deeply about each other, negativity, dismissal and coldness have hijacked their interactions. Most of the time, this negativity has become a habit—just as you used to automatically smile when your partner came in the room, now you are automatically on edge.

Luckily, you can unlearn these reactions and again replace them with positive ones.  Positivity means being curious about each other, respectful, helpful, willing and playful. It means paying attention to your spouse and showing support for what she has to say. It also means increasing intimacy with small acts such as touch, hugs and kisses, and warm, positive sexual sharing. This is the foundation of healthy relationships.

Positivity tips: Rebuilding love can seem daunting. Just like any other exercise program, you have to start with small, tangible goals. Try setting the goal of giving your spouse five compliments a day. Doing with will help you focus in on and appreciate his or her strengths instead of shortcomings. Loving actions reinforce love, and love leads to more loving behavior. Spouses tend to react strongly to even small signs of positivity—soon you will see your spouse start to give positivity back to you.

3. Show a commitment to LEARN.

Problems with sex and intimacy in marriage are best addressed early on. At the same time, even a marriage that seems lifeless or has suffered from an infidelity can be taught how to rekindle love and trust. Recovering from a trust betrayal such as dealing with infidelity requires a strong commitment to change in the erring spouse and the full support of the other. Power of Two can help you work through the challenges of rebuilding trust and provide a guide for making sure the behavior never, ever happens again.

No matter what state your marriage is in, maintaining an open and honest willingness to learn and work on your part of the relationship is cruicial for how to rekindle love. Check out marriage help books, see a couples counselor, or try Power of Two. We are an online program that combines the privacy and go-at-your-own pace of a book with the professionalism and personal attention of a certified therapist. Learning how to rekindle love can be simple, accessible, and—dare we say—fun!

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.