Bring the Spark Back Challenge

Bring the Spark Back Challenge

 

Relationships are like breathing – inhaling and exhaling, closeness and disconnected, receiving and giving, connection and autonomy.

“We must be open enough to receive each other” Terry Real

Often in couple counselling I witness couples who have simply lost touch with how to receive the other, how to connect and share themselves on these levels:

  • physically – we don’t even say good morning any more or hug. We used to exercise together everyday.
  • emotionally – we just don’t talk about the intimate stuff, our needs or feelings anymore, its all about the kids
  • sexually – the erotic pleasure has died and no one initiates sex anymore. If I do I feel like I am going to get rejected
  • intellectually – we don’t share our thoughts or our ambitions, concerns, questions, experiences or insights we literally do our own thing nowadays
  • spiritually – we used to connect in a way that it felt like a spiritual experience, now we can’t even look at each other.

Sound familiar? Our brains are geared up to automate our life so that it is easier to survive, that means we automate each other too! Tricky if you want to ensure the spark remains. It means being mindful of your relationship, taking responsibility for what you bring into the relationship daily, how you receive the other and what opportunities you take to initiate closeness.

 

Getting Started

A couple of things you might want to look at first.

  1. How do I receive my partner? How do I listen to him/her? Do I really hear what they are saying, their feelings and needs?
  2. How do they know I am listening and receive them?
  3. How do I listen to my feelings and needs so I can communicate them clearly?
  4. How do I offer myself, am I under sharing (withholding maybe because I assume they won’t hear or be rejected) or oversharing (because I feel they will reject me?)
  5. What is one thing I can commit to doing differently?
  6. How can I approach my partner to invite this as a new possibility in relationship?

So heres the deal: We automate each other, so we assume a lot of stuff about the other, which means we alter the way we approach our partner stopping ourselves from asking and negotiating. Then the passion dies! But it is still there, it just needs work.

 

Giving Up the Defenses

Interested in bringing the spark back into your relationship?

In the age of cultivating mutually agreed upon Couple Bubbles where our relationships are safe havens we have to both take care of each other and the relationship. The connection, intimacy, discussions, and emotional wellbeing of a relationship is a two person job. That means you!

So to help make it work we have to give up a few things:

  1. Wanting to win or be right all the time – both lose!
  2. Controlling your partner to get what you want – they will just disappear into themselves and the passion dies, there will be a pay back!
  3. Revenge if it doesn’t go the way that you want – do you really get your needs met or is this just a tantrum because you don’t want to fess up to them?
  4. Oversharing self expression – what is it that you are covering? Whilst ranting are you really connected or is it a way of avoiding true intimacy?
  5. Withholding or withdrawing (under sharing) – when you withdraw you are not trusted and come across as hiding something. What would it take to put your best foot forward and say it how it is?

So now that you are aware of some of the strategies you “may” have employed to get your needs met without really discussing them we can take the next step.

 

Get Clear

What do you really want in your relationship? What are you prepared to offer to improve it today? Often we wait for the other to get us, hear us, respect us but in the waiting we are simply avoiding and the gap grows bigger, and the resentment more apparent.

Renew your vision together. Often over time the reason we came together changes. We do those projects, raise the kids and then we need to revision the next phase of our relationship….What fun! Remember this is two person system – Together we revision.

 

Lets Play!

Remember you are in a relationship, so this is a joint project. Lets start small.

Coming back to each component in your relationship. If one area is fully satisfied then the relationship can withstand, for a time, other areas where it maybe lacking.

  1. Physically – connection rituals help us feel secure, intimate, that we matter and are loved!
    • Start with a ritual to connect you both as you launch the day. It doesn’t have to be big (a cuddle before you hop out of bed, coffee together in the morning, breakfast together, a morning walk) but do it daily. Both ensure it happens.
    • Then add a landing ritual – how do you land the day together? Do you go to bed together or does someone full asleep on the couch? Do you read to each other? Do you tell each other about your day? Connect over dinner? Create that landing ritual together.
    • Welcome home hug – Ok this is not one of those “Hi darling and a peck on the cheer gigs” it is an real tender embrace whereby holding each other until you are both totally relaxed (yep more than 5 secs) – Why? Then you don’t bring all that stress from the day home and you feel instantly connected with each other – Win/Win right?!
  2. Emotionally – Make a time each week to share your needs, feelings, withholds (remember does that thing that happened 5 years ago really have to be brought up weekly? Drop it) so as a couple we can take care of them together. We really don’t know how it is for the other unless we share. Be Bold, its worth it.
  3. Sexually – Take the quiz! Do you know your partners turn ons and offs? You will be pleasantly surprised to discover and recover them by simply asking. Maybe they don’t know – so take Emily Nagoski’s quiz and share.
    • Start with eye gazing!
    • Do the 3 minute game by Betty Martin
    • Organise date nights – yep you would be surprised how many couples never take each other out on dates! Do you think it is time?
  4. Intellectually – Share your day, your thoughts, your ideas, dilemmas, feelings and needs – so you get to know each other again. Saves assuming!
    • Mutually amplified positives – that sunset, that ice cream, and Oh My that standing in the rain naked – rope the other in too.
    • Share novel experiences – what are those adventures that you have put on the back burner and the too hard basket – share them
    • Create new memories by doing one thing different every week
    • Remember you are each others best friend. You chose the other to share your life with so lets do it.
  5. Spiritually – bring your partner close,
    • tell them what you love about them,
    • describe what you see in their face
    • eye gaze
    • meditate together

And above all play! Adults forget to have those pillow fights, feed each other, hop into the shower together, surprise each other with a spontaneous adventure. Remember it is Christmas – be your partners gift!

by Brenda Sutherland B. Soc. Sc. (Psych) Founder and Direct and Couples Counsellor at The Awakening Group Pty Ltd

Comments ( 7 )

  • Jan

    So beautifuly written. I love it!

  • Brenda

    Thank you Jan. Love to hear how you go if implementing any of these 😊

  • Eve

    Thank you for writing this, Brenda. Its timing is perfect. It came at a time when my partner and I were both full of unmet needs and not speaking much. We read it together and it has already restored the love.
    Thank you. 🙂

  • Eve

    This amazing article was timed perfectly to heal a rift between myself and my partner. Neither of us felt like speaking to the other, and the rift was deepening without communication. Sharing as the article suggested restored the love. Thank you, Brenda.

    • Thank you Eve, I hope you get to enjoy the benefits of the rituals for many many years to come! You might like to also check out Wired for Love and We Do by Stan Tatkin in our shop – get workbooks to really take care of your relationship together. https://awakening.com.au/shop/

  • Emma

    I absolutely love this Brenda, so well written, thankyou.

  • Mary splesson

    Hi, are you looking to get your Partner and relationship back?, if yes then you are reading the right post. I was in a similar situation in June 2018 when my marriage to my husband was heading for the rocks and we were always at loggerheads with one another. This unhealthy association went on for weeks and months giving our kids uneasy moments and they would never forget it in a hurry. Finally my husband left to be with his lover in Miami, i was devastated and heart broken because i loved him a lot. I thought nothing could be done to resolve our issues until i met a friend who introduced me to therapist. At first, i never believed he would bring my husband back since the issue had escalated beyond our control, but i decided to reach out to him anyways. After contacting him, he assured me i would get my husband back within 2 days (48 hrs). After several hours of therapy and love casting, his words came to pass and today i am living happily with my husband with all love to show for it and a beautifully baby girl has been added to our home to seal our bond. This is a Testimony of what this great man man did for me and i would keep on testifying about it.

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