One of the biggest challenges to marriage and long-term relationships is how to maintain the proverbial spark.
Humans have struggled to maintain excitement in long-term relationships for centuries and millennia. So how do you ignite the spark in long-term relationships?
Literature is full of detailed descriptions of love, passion, and romance that seem reserved for young and new relationships. Authors and poets have always bemoaned the struggle to find and capture this experience throughout their lives.
Long-term relationships, including marriages, have been a hallmark of family and social structure for centuries. While Western cultures around the world have become open to other partner arrangements, millions of people still seek long-term connection and stability.
Even in the most stable and bonding relationships, the sexual spark is often elusive and difficult to maintain, resulting in relationship distress, conflict, resentment, and boredom. This begs the question of why people pursue long-term relationships.
Related Reading: What to Do When It Feels Like the Spark Is Gone
To understand the desire for long-term relationships, watch this video.
Why do people choose long-term relationships?
There are many ways to understand the drive towards long-term relationships and bonds. Among them are evolution, survival, existentialism and meaning.
Humans are associated with social contacts with others. Most people find connection in personal relationships, family, and society, and many aspects of our lives are arranged to accommodate this.
There are many studies that show catastrophic and The harmful effects of human isolation and the effects of denial of contact. Long-term relationships can provide a depth of commitment that ensures a stable connection over a lifetime.
Historically, people established long-term relationships for survival purposes. Relationships were established between families for business, land, and tribal purposes and as a means of ensuring paternity. People had children working the land, supporting each other, ensuring survival.
A woman cannot live largely without a husband or father, so any arrangement other than marriage would mean some hardship or death.
This fact helped shape The societal idea of marriage. However, the necessity of survival was not the only beneficial component of long-term relationships. Humans have emotional needs to connect, to be heard and seen, and to feel a sense of belonging. It can be said that these needs evolved to create a deeper connection and ensure survival.
Regardless of the evolutionary etiology, the emotional needs listed above are present within humans. Today many individuals can survive without a partner or a long-term relationship, yet people continue to search for and engage in long-term relationships.
The emotional need for secure communication largely drives this. In their ideal form, long-term relationships provide this emotional connection. Many people have been working for years to achieve this type of connection.
Related Reading: 20 Keys to a Successful Long Term Relationship?
Why does the spark fade in long-term relationships?
To understand why the spark fades, we need to understand why the spark fades in the first place. The spark people feel at the beginning of relationships is primarily driven by a mixture of modernity and simplicity, both factors that don’t last long.
Novelty is anything new and somewhat unfamiliar, be it a person, an object, or an experience. The novelty provides high levels of dopamine to the brain, which makes people feel euphoric.
In intimate relationships, new partners and differences in sexual encounters increase dopamine levels, leading to intense feelings, and sometimes limiting intoxication and euphoria. Familiarity and routine are the antithesis of the novel, which leads to a decrease in dopamine over time.
In addition to the novelty, the beginning of the relationship is relatively simple compared to the practical and emotional complexity that develops over time. At the beginning of relationships, many couples don’t live with each other or share great responsibilities. They often spend enough time to feel comfortable with separate living spaces to retreat to when needed. Also, dopamine-driven emotions allow the mind to glorify the partner and overlook challenges. All this contributes to the “spark”. Some of the reasons why the spark in long-term relationships is fading are:
1. The spark is only temporary
As novelty fades and the relationship shifts the focus toward connection and attachment, the relationship matures and the initial spark fades. Familiarity leads to a drop in dopamine, and other brain chemicals take over the bonding process.
This shift can lead to a decrease in the feeling of sexual spark. It is important to realize that this process is natural and predictable. The question becomes whether a secure connection can be re-sparked or if something new and new is needed.
2. Safe communication and excitement
There is some debate among sex and relationship therapists about what creates and maintains the sexual spark in a relationship. Relationship experts assert that close contact leads to more meaningful sexual encounters and can help facilitate a more mature sexual spark.
Sex therapy experts argue that closeness and intimacy suppress sexual arousal, and introducing freshness and some healthy distance can help create or maintain sexual arousal.
3. Spontaneity vs. Responsive Desire
Another feature of long-term relationships is the predominance of responsive desire. The spark of a new relationship is often experienced as intense spontaneous desire or sexual desire that appears to be feeding itself.
Spontaneous desire tends to turn over time into a responsive desire.
This means that people not only feel like they are in the mood but can respond to a partner’s progress and other stimuli.
This shift is often overlooked or mismanaged, with many individuals and couples wondering where the spark has faded and how to restore it. Proper awareness and management of responsive desire can make all the difference in creating and maintaining sexual arousal in a committed, long-term relationship.
4. The sexual spark requires action
Whether it is due to closeness or distance that leads to the loss of the sexual spark, it takes work to restore and maintain it in a long-term relationship. Working for a spark is not a sign of an individual’s or relationship sickness. It should be seen as part of the relationship process and an opportunity to work with a partner and grow.
Many people assume that sexual spark is a measure of relationship health and giving up or choosing to leave. Ironically, losing the spark may be a sign of a mature, healthy connection that needs to be worked on to maintain excitement.
As elevated levels of arousal subside, sexual dysfunction can occur for one or both partners. issues like Erectile DysfunctionDelayed ejaculation and sexual pain and desire are increasingly common in long-term relationships.
Sexual arousal is a critical component of healthy and strong sexual function. The brain plays an important role in blood flow to the genitals and the process of orgasm. In many cases, excitement is what starts this process.
If you don’t feel the spark with your partner, your sexual arousal and sexual function are likely to be inhibited.
Related Reading: How Does Erectile Dysfunction Affect Couples?
6 practical tips to ignite the spark of long-term relationships
How do you keep the spark alive?
Here are some simple and practical ways to rekindle the spark of long-term relationships.
1. The quality of the relationship is important
To create a lasting spark in a long-term relationship, both people need to feel that the connection is safe, comfortable, and supportive. Many long-term relationships face challenges, and people often feel disconnected, lonely, and resentful when they are with a partner.
It is unlikely that any spark is present in this atmosphere. If your relationship is struggling or you have obvious negative feelings towards your partner, you should address this before anything else.
2. Reset Outlook
Instead of chasing after what was once, it is helpful and productive to focus on what the sexual spark could be in a long-term relationship. There are elements of that early spark that cannot be obtained. Fortunately, the sexual spark in a long-term relationship can be good and even better – but it will be different.
3. Plan to be proactive
Unlike the spark that just appeared, the spark in a long-term relationship requires intentional effort. Couples who work to elicit this through novelty and excitement can reproduce similar sensations. Lots of couples wait for the spark to appear, and it just doesn’t happen.
A proactive attitude towards sexual activity often feels weak, and it is understandable why people avoid it and prefer to wait for their partner or the spark. This is one of the secrets to keeping the relationship fresh.
4. Communicate with your partner
Communication is important in any relationship. In a long-term intimate relationship, needs and desires must be communicated with respect and cooperation. If a person harbors sexual desires and desires and does not share them with his partner, the relationship can become stale and unattractive.
People often have more excitement at their disposal but are reluctant to share. Understandably, with so much dependence on each other, no one wants to be judged or feel they are jeopardizing the relationship by sharing.
It is important to share specific desires, but couples should also communicate about and normalize this challenge and collaborate on a plan to meet this challenge.
Related Reading: 10 Reasons Why Communication in Marriage Is Important
5. Plan for fluctuations
People’s desire will fluctuate over a lifetime and through life cycle events. This is normal and expected. Couples who are aware of this pattern are in a better position not to abuse or internalize it.
Being supportive and compassionate with yourself and a partner helps to shift from low to high desire more smoothly without shame and self-deprecation – both of which dampen sexual desire.
6. Just do it
Oftentimes, couples remain in a stalemate and get stuck in a perpetual cycle of self-inactivity. The less activity, the more difficult it is to initiate intimacy, which makes the entire activity unattractive.
Behavioral activation is a well-known approach to overcome avoidance and help reduce interpersonal anxiety and anxiety. Additionally, for many people in long-term relationships with responsive desire, engaging in intimate activity is necessary before a stronger desire is felt.
Reviving the spark of long-term relationships is not difficult. It just takes a deliberate effort on the part of both partners. If the foundation of the relationship is based on love, trust, commitment, and communication, keeping the spark alive may not be much of a challenge for the couple.