If it feels like the spark is fizzling, it’s time to break out of your routine.
Stop being friends on Facebook
On Facebook, that is. “It’s a terrible idea for spouses to be Facebook friends with each other,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., co-author, with Heidi Raykeil, of (best self-help title EVER!) Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting It On Again. “Relationships are already filled with enough banality. I want to preserve what little mystery there is, which means I don’t need to see my wife’s latest check-in with her third-grade pals on her Superwall.”
But wait! You don’t have to, like, swear off the technology entirely. Perel suggests getting a secret your-eyes-only email address just for each other — not for “pls pick up Muenster” and “remember B’s ballet stuff” — but for loving and flirtatious messages only.
Buzz-killing as it sounds, you might need to start scheduling time for intimacy — or at least committing to once a week, by hook or by crook (which, bonus, could force you to get creative). “Ruts beget ruts,” says Kerner, noting that when you go without, your body actually becomes accustomed to lower and lower levels of testosterone. On the flipside, he says, couples (not just parents) who are intimate at least once a week report better relationships and quality of life overall.
Postpone that argument
You know that fight you always have? Stop having it. Make a three-month plan for not solving problems, suggests couples therapist Sharyn Wolf, author of This Old Spouse: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Restoring, Renovating, and Rebuilding Your Relationship. The money fight, the recycling fight, whatever: you’ll have it on May 15, time TBA. Until then, not a word. “See what you’d be doing if you weren’t having that fight,” says Wolf. “Sometimes it uncovers something else that was really bothering you; sometimes it gives you so much energy you take on something new. And sometimes you realize maybe it wasn’t such a huge deal after all.”
Use “we” when you fight — and in general
You’ve probably heard this one, but they just checked again and found that spouses who use pronouns like “we,” “our,” and “us” when describing points of disagreement are better able to resolve conflicts than those who use “I,” “me,” and “you.”