No matter how wildly in love you are now, says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For a Lasting Marriage, you can always fall deeper. Ready to take an even bigger plunge? Here's how.
1. Try something new together.
Doing the same old thing day after day can dull your affections. But doing something new together releases endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones essential for deep love, Doares explains. "When the two of you do 'new' together, you create new bonds between the two of you that no one else is a part of," she says. "This is a way to continue to grow and challenge your relationship by creating shared experiences and memories."
2. Learn your partner's love language.
Relationship expert Gary Chapman, Ph.D., first exposed us to the five love languages, the distinct ways we each intuitively give and receive love. But Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach, is here to drive their importance home. To fall more deeply in love, she says, we must learn our partner's love language and then speak it at least once a day. "It may be that offering a small gift tells them you love them," she says. "Or using affirmations to let them know why they are so important to you. Maybe doing something for them that makes their day just a little easier or carving out special time just for them will say I love you in a way they can truly hear it."
3. Schedule alone time, together.
Even when you're side-by-side with your spouse, it's easy to become distracted from a bustling restaurant or a blaring TV. And distraction is a love killer, readers. So Doares recommends slating time on your schedule for alone time that allows you to focus solely on one another. "This is how you fell in love in the first place," she says, "and it provides the opportunity to grow that love consistently over time."
4. Set aside time for intimacy chats.
What, exactly, is an intimacy chat? "It's a long conversation where you are completely focused on one another and talk deeply about anything or nothing," describes Coleman, who adds these talks should be during uninterrupted, unhurried down time, in a place where you won't easily be disturbed. And with intimacy chats, you'll recreate the spark of dating on the regular. "Maybe you remember doing this the first or second time you went out together, where dinner led to coffee and conversation, which led to a nightcap and more conversation, perhaps long into the night," Coleman says. "You had so much to say and couldn't get enough of listening to everything he had to share."
5. Share in your spouse's interests.
So Phish isn't your idea of good music, and you'd never be caught dead at one of this jam band's concerts. But if your spouse could listen to them riff for hours, it's high time to buy a pair of tickets. "Left to your own devices, you might not be interested in that particular activity," Doares says, "but participating in it allows you to see your partner with a different lens. You get to see what lights them up and in a different environment than usual."
Like other parts of a relationship, sex can also take a backseat to hectic work schedules, a bustling social life, or simply exhaustion. But taking the time to get creative between the sheets can help you feel even more in love, says Coleman. "This can involve the use of candles, body oils, sex toys, or trying a new position or two," she says. "You might want to consider using a Kama Sutra deck to get some new ideas. Be creative, take your time, and let yourself go. Your partner will fall in love and lust all over again."
7. Surprise and delight each other for no apparent reason.
When you first began dating, we bet it was no bog thing for you to leave your partner a love note or surprise him or her with a petite present. But with time, it's also a safe bet that love-growing habit went by the wayside. "Try to outdo each other with unplanned surprises, big or small," says Doares. "Bring home dinner from their favorite restaurant, leave a love note in their gym bag, recreate your first date, and more. It only has to be personal and meaningful."
8. Laugh together often.
How important is it to share a giggle with your spouse? According to Doares, "It's been found that laughter is more important in a relationship than sex." Whoa. Here's why this simple activity can deepen your love: "It is a shared state of joy which every relationship can benefit from," Doares explains. "It also provides protection against anger and resentment, the relationship killers."