Reprinted from Bustle Magazine. Thanking them for interviewing me as an expert. Original article here.
By Kristine Fellizar
Known as one of the most blissful parts of a relationship, the honeymoon phase typically happens at the beginning of a relationship but fades after some time. During the honeymoon phase, everything is still new and you and your partner are still crazy about each other. But as the months go on and you become more comfortable with each other, your relationship will change. Although relationships can never really be the same as they once were in the beginning, you might still be wondering how to stay in the honeymoon phase in your relationship. Fortunately, there are clever hacks you can do to prevent the honeymoon stage from fully ending.
“Science says the honeymoon phase lasts about 2.5 years, so the key to keeping the honeymoon phase ever-alive in your relationship is creating adventure,” couples coach, Brooke Genn, tells Bustle. “Finding extraordinary fun in the seemingly ordinary moments of your life can help you enjoy your partner.”
When you’ve been with someone forever, things can start to feel stagnant. Although you love each other, arguments will happen, and life can get in the way. So according to Genn, it’s all about finding the silver linings in any bumps that come your way.
“Your ability to keep your sense of youthful play and curiosity will continue to bring you back to those honeymoon feelings, year after year,” she says. “Delight in the little things whether you’re on a walk in your neighborhood or breathing in the fresh air of a foreign town. Create adventure. The honeymoon phase is a state of mind, rather than a period of time.”
So here are some clever hacks to keep that honeymoon phase going, according to experts.
1 Come Up With A Gratitude Ritual
“The honeymoon phase of relationships is all about excitement, attraction, intimacy, and appreciation,” Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, founder of relationship building app Relationship, tells Bustle. So if you want to prolong that phase, keep trying to make those aspects a priority.
One way to do that is to come up with a gratitude ritual. Do something that will consciously remind you of how much you appreciate each other. “It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you are consistent,” Clark says. For instance, you can try listing out five things you appreciate about each other every day, and either write them down where your partner will see or verbally express them as part of your bedtime routine.
2 Give Each Other Space From Time To Time
When you’re with your partner for a long time, it becomes all about the “we” rather than the “me.” But as Clark says, having that space to just do you is important in maintaining attraction. “Many people don’t pay attention to their own physical or emotional needs as much once they are in a committed relationship and this can cause attraction to fade,” she says. You need to have a level of separation, independent identity, and self-care for the desire to thrive. So make sure that you both are taking time for yourselves and prioritize maintaining those qualities.
3 Plan For A Staycation Once Or Twice A Year
Life can get super busy and making time for each other can become less of a priority. So make it a point to recreate your honeymoon once or twice a year. Book everything in advance so it’s on the calendar and stick to those dates.
You can head to a local hotel and plan to stay locked in for the night or the entire weekend. As Gail Crowder, certified marriage coach and author, tells Bustle, bring things that will remind you of the honeymoon period with you on your staycation. This could be pictures from a previous vacation or something sexier like lingerie or your favorite toy. Whatever it is, these things or activities should help you fall in love all over again.
4 Send Your Partner On A “Pleasure Hunt”
This is something that can be done around your home. It’s simple enough. Just start by leaving a note on your bathroom mirror, giving them instructions like go to the bedroom closet and grab the red box, and the red box will contain a sexy surprise for them to find. “Make sure at each step that you remind [them] to bring all of the items with [them] to their final destination, you,” Crowder says. It’s a fun way to get your partner in the mood every now and then. Besides, surprises are always fun.
5 Play A Sexy Version Of 20 Questions
These are great when you’re on a long car trip together or just killing time. “Instead of guessing a person, place, or thing, it’s all about teasing out each other’s fantasies,” Crowder says. Your partner can ask you up to 20 yes-or-no questions to figure out what sexy scenario you most crave (“Does it take place outside of the house?” “Is there role play involved?”). She also says it’s an easy, low-pressure way to reveal desires you haven’t told each other. The honeymoon phase is all about newness. This is a great way to learn something new about your partner. Who knows? You might end up enjoying it as well.
6 Keep Having New, Shared Experiences
Clinical psychologist, Dr. Danielle Forshee, tells Bustle, to maintain the honeymoon phase, keep injecting novelty into the relationship. This does not mean scheduling a weekly date night or an evening out with friends. Novel experiences include tailoring date nights around new and different activities and getting away from simply spending quality time together in ways that are predictable and consistent.
“Research suggests that doing these kinds of things together as a couple may help bring the butterflies back, recreating the chemical surge of early courtship,” Forshee says. “New experiences activate the brains reward system. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love.”
7 Snuggle, Kiss, And Connect Before Bed
If you want to keep that honeymoon phase alive, make sure you have a good bedtime routine, Lauren Zander, Co-Founder of the Handel Group and author of Maybe It’s You tells Bustle. That can include making out or just kissing right before bed. You can even take turns reading to each other or just watch an episode of your favorite show. “No matter what, just a few minutes each day to make yourselves laugh, connect, and play in bed, can make such a huge difference,” Zander says. “Also, don’t knock snuggling. A good spooning is better than almost anything.”
8 Keep Encouraging Your Partner To Go After Their Goals
Did you know being a supportive partner can actually help keep the honeymoon phase alive? Kim Leatherdale, LPC, couples coach, and counselor tell Bustle that when your partner goes after their goals and achieves them, you’re likely to see them in a new and exciting light.
As Leatherdale says, seeing your partner in new ways and in new situations can be a turn on. For example, if you watch your partner speak publicly, their confidence and the way they are received after can reignite attraction and appreciation.
So keep supporting your partner to reach whatever goal they have and you just might seem them in a brand new light.
9 Know Your Partner’s Love Language And Use It
If there’s one ultimate hack you should know, it’s this: know your partner’s love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages — words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and receiving gifts — and they are the ways that people express their love and interpret the feelings of others.
“It’s important to know what your [partner] likes and wants, not just do what you would want,” Leatherdale says. “If you are missing the boat, they’ll feel unhappy.” Everyone likes to give and receive love in different ways. Knowing how your partner likes to receive love can help you keep those honeymoon phase-type of feeling alive and well for a really long time.
Although the honeymoon phase likely won’t last forever, by keeping some of these tips and tricks in mind, you can recreate the spark for a healthy, more dynamic relationship.