Falling back in love with your spouse is a highly sought after dream of many couples who come to me for marriage counseling or Denver relationship coaching. As the years go by, many long-term couples find that they’ve comfortably settled (or sometimes not) into a relationship routine that’s, although nice, a little stagnant. Feeling as though, as a couple, the spark has somewhat dimmed.
If you’re reading this and asking, “How do I fall back in love with my spouse?” I have some comforting advice and easy to implement strategies that you and your partner can begin practicing today.
Falling in Love
When you think back to the beginning of your relationship, to the moments of when you were just beginning to fall in love with your partner – what was it that sparked those feelings in you?
Was it the way they dressed, the music they played, how they cared for others, cared for you, was it the way they made you feel?
My guess is that it was a mixture of it all. In those early days – falling in love probably felt a lot like breathing – it came fairly naturally and with simplicity.
If I were to ask you to recall the moments in your relationship where you learned something new about your partner or even yourself that caused you to love them a little more – would you be able to pinpoint those moments?
Even thinking about these memories now may have you love-gushing over your partner in a reminiscent way – and that’s okay. It’s okay to reminisce and to remind yourselves what drew you together in the first place. But something even more powerful for a relationship than reminiscing is continuing to grow together.
Falling Back in Love
I had known Mary for several years. I had gone to 7 years of schooling with her. We had spent countless days and nights together. We were best friends. Then we started dating, and I thought that I knew her very well (and why wouldn’t I? I had known her for years!) but within those first few official dates I found both of us having to take a step back to ask some “get to know you questions.” And this wasn’t because we didn’t know each other, we did – but we didn’t know each other on this level because we had yet to explore this level of connection.
While this feels fairly common for a new relationship, we can forget how important these get-to-know-you conversations are to our long-term relationships as well. The truth is, as the years go by we all continue to grow, to change, little by little.
Through these conversations and growth moments, Mary and I talked about our family histories, what we wanted for our future, what were our fears, our pet peeves – we even talked about our favorite colors and foods.
And although Mary and I had been friends for years, these conversations sparked something “new” between us that has since grown with our challenges and our wins. These conversations changed our pathway and rather than two separate people walking next to each other, we were unified.
Now having been married for several years, Mary and I continue to fall in love and grow together, and I want to share with you the same advice I’ve experienced and share with my long-term couples clients for falling back in love with your spouse.
Can You Fall Back in Love with Your Spouse?
With large events, new beginnings come naturally. Things like moving, new jobs, having a baby. These are obvious times to re-adjust and re-align as a couple.
But what about those times when everything stays as it is? For weeks, months, or even years? That is when it becomes vital to your relationship to create moments of new beginnings.
Falling back in love with your spouse takes effort – just as the beginning stages and initial getting-to-know-you time had. But it’s completely possible and often awakens a new chapter in your life together – a closer, happier, and healthier relationship.
Create Time to Grow Together
We as individuals are evolving and changing, and to assume that your partner is the exact same person as when you met them is a bit naive. As we experience life, grow, have good and bad moments together – we shift little by little each day. Sometimes the change is drastic (like going from a family of two to a family of three) and sometimes the change is less noticeable (switching from black tea to green tea in the morning).
Just as you continue to grow and change, so does your partner. It’s important to create time together (even amongst busy work/career/social schedules) to consciously spend quality time talking, listening, and encouraging one another through these personal changes and relational growth moments.
By creating time together, you’re giving your partner the opportunity to continue to learn about you – your likes and dislikes, and you them. This may look like a weekly date night, lunch break, coffee together, or the coveted hours of the evening once the kids are put to bed.
Whatever this time looks like for your relationship, make it a priority (especially if you find yourself asking how to fall back in love with your spouse!).
Ask Questions That Inspire Intimacy
In my sessions with couples I like to encourage my clients to begin asking each other questions that are both new to the relationship and reruns from years past.
You don’t have to have a Quizlet setup in order for this to be effective. You can begin by covering some of the more natural areas of conversation (e.g. what’s your favorite part of your day?), and you may be surprised by the level of intimacy that can grow from these simple conversations.
From my experience working with couples, it’s common for couples to stop talking. They may talk about the kids, the home, the pets…but they lose the conversation around each other and around their relationship.
Have you ever had a best friend that you were incredibly close to and then they moved away? You might have talked everyday for the first few months but as time continued to go by, little by little you started to talk less and little by little you each continued to grow and change. Five years go by and you’ve decided to visit your friend only to discover that what you had in common five years ago isn’t so much who either of you are anymore. And it’s not a bad thing – it’s just the way of life, but the opportunity you have here is to get to know one another – again. You still have your connection, your memories together, but now you get to have new connections and create new memories.
Similarly, in long-term relationships, if you don’t continue the conversation around one another and your relationship, the closeness will start to fade and you’ll eventually find yourselves wondering who you’re married to. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care for and love one another – but you don’t know one another as you once did.
Guess what? Just as you can re-learn your best friend after 5 absent years of friendship – you can re-learn and fall back in love with your spouse by reinitiating that conversation.
Some conversation starters for you and your partner might include:
- Do you want children? When? How many?
- What type of parent do you want to be?
- How do you view the role of each partner in the relationship?
- How do you want to handle finances together?
- What is your biggest physical fear (i.e. sharks, heights, snakes, etc.)? What is your biggest emotional fear (i.e. being unloved, failing, etc.)?
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you sad?
- Where do you see your life 10 years from now?
- What are your ambitions? How can I help you accomplish your goals?
- What do you feel the role of extended family is in our relationship?
- What are your top priorities for how you spend your time?
- What are your spiritual/religious beliefs and what role do they play in your life?
- What do you consider your core values?
- What are some of your biggest stressors?
- If you could change something about yourself what would it be?
- What are some things you do well?
- How do you show love? How do you want me to show love?
- What are your goals for this week, month, or year?
- Where do you want to live or raise our family?
- What is the role of sex in our relationship?
Approach each of these questions with a curious mindset. Ask follow-up questions, ask about experiences your partner has had that has helped develop their answer, ask anything that comes to mind after your partner answers the initial question.
Guide the Conversation with Curiosity and Sincerity
Too many times I have worked with couples that have been in a committed relationship with each other for years and are not able to answer these types of questions. Many couples have never asked these questions or any other similar questions.
In those situations, we must start from the beginning and ask deeper “get to know you” questions. It may feel like we are going backwards but we are truly building a stronger foundation for that couple to move forward together (and not to mention, respark that flame!).
It might feel a little odd at first, but be sincere in your interest and show you’re listening by engaging in the conversation as it moves forward. This isn’t a game of 20-Questions, so feel free to take your time (seriously, you didn’t get to know each other the first time in just one date – this type of commitment takes time). You already know your partner, now you’re meeting them at a deeper level.
Be Honest and True to the Relationship and Your Partner
Sometimes you may find as a couple that answering these questions confirms that your relationship can succeed and flourish, that you align in many key aspects of life.
Sometimes you may find that your answers are drastically different and you are looking for different things from life. If this is the case, you may decide that you can make it work despite the differences or you may find that there are too many differences to reconcile.
Either way, it is important to understand your partner on this level, and can sometimes offer the clarity you are looking for.
[If you find that these conversations are difficult or that your partner shuts down altogether when you try to connect, here’s a resource for How To Communicate With Someone Who Shuts Down]
You Can Fall Back in Love with Your Spouse
Take this as a time to find new beginnings in your relationship. Whether you have been dating for a week or married for decades, there are new things to discover! Doing this will only strengthen what you already have and encourage your love to grow. I challenge you and your partner to take time within the next week to do 2 things:
- Make a list of any questions you would add to the 20 I listed above, and
- Schedule quality time together to ask each of these questions and understand one another on a deeper level all over again.
Taking the time to get to know your partner in a deeper way can be a powerful way to build a more meaningful connection and strengthen the love you feel for each other.
You may find that enlisting the support of a marriage counselor or relationship coach would be helpful during this process of falling back in love with your spouse – here is a guide on how to find a (good) marriage counselor.
Wishing you new beginnings and a fanned flame,
Hunter T., MS, LMFT
P.S. Another helpful resource to tap into when re-learning your love, is to better understand your attachment styles. Take our Attachment Style Quiz to learn more about yourself and how you can strengthen your relationship.
Meet Hunter: an experienced licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in helping people just like you reach their highest potential both individually and in their most important relationships. He provides couples counseling, family therapy, individual therapy, and life coaching that focuses on creating understanding and fostering strong connections that support healing, compassion, and personal growth.
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