You knew just what your partner was thinking and you hung on every breath thinking he or she was the smartest, bestest thing out there?
Now though, after years together, all that feels familiar and just plain boring. One of the reasons passion lags in long term relationships is because we lose interest in each other. We stop paying attention. We think we’ve heard it all before, believe there’s nothing left to learn, and so we stop listening to each other.
Honing a practice of curiosity in the relationship – and really throughout every aspect of your life – can reignite the passion and reconnect you with your partner in a deep, interesting and fun way.
Here are six tips to bring an air of curiosity and a feeling of fun and connection back into your relationships.
1. Stop interrupting and start listening. Now, I am an expert interrupter, but it’s something I’m working on because the practice is just plain jarring for the person you’re talking with. Plus, stopping the flow of conversation keeps you from hearing new thoughts or insights or unique details that could can lead to more interesting discussions and information about your partner. So, listen up.
2. Leave room for personal interests. Mr. J and I have several common interests, but there are big things we don’t share: He loves to fish. I love NOT to fish. But, I do enjoy the days he’s out on the river because he always comes back with good stories or interesting thoughts. When you make room for both of you to do the things you love, individually and together, there is plenty of new material to bring home and share.
3. Be open to surprises. Mr. J is always coming up with a completely different perspective or response than the one I expected. This makes me crazy and, at the same time, I appreciate it. It keeps me thinking and engaged. His different (sometimes odd) perspective is both intriguing and sometimes completely annoying – like “what are you thinking,” but it always adds something to our relationship and often I learn something new.
4. Be mindful. Every moment is a new moment between you and your partner. Instead of filling in the gap with predetermined behaviors and attitudes, be present and open to what does appear. Even the familiar provides plenty of opportunity to ask new questions or offer new responses.
5. Appreciate each other. At the end of each day, share with your partner five things you appreciate about him or her. Make it a different five things every evening and you’ll find yourself looking all day long for the unique things he brings into your life everyday. All of sudden the things you take for granted feel special again, just by noticing. And it feels good to hear just how your partner appreciates you.
6. Do something different together every week. Drive through a new neighborhood. Eat at a different restaurant, have sex in a new place, trade off household chores. Add in something new and novel. Not only is that a good thing for brain growth (plasticity) , but it gets you talking. Old memories will flood back prompting new stories and plans. And it’s fun.
There is a richness and a depth that comes from established relationships. That kind of familiarity can be comforting, but it certainly doesn’t have to be boring.
Use the tips above to make room for curiosity and your relationship takes on a new intrigue and passion.
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