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Rediscover Love's Spark

Gestures and habits to make your partner fall in love—all over again

It likely comes as no surprise that keeping the romance alive in a relationship requires effort. But when women feel their romantic relationships becoming stagnant, they often blame the man in their life for not being romantic enough. Yet 44 percent of men say it bothers them "a lot" that their wife or girlfriend isn't more romantic, according to a study of 80,000 participants by Chrisanna Northrup.

It turns out that both men and women crave romance. So, try the following to reap the rewards of your partner falling in love with you all over again.

Be spontaneous. Routine and spontaneity are opposites. Routine, which typically sets in once a relationship is established, often leads to monotony. But what keeps relationships alive early on is the excitement of spontaneity, which lends itself to discovery about each other and new things. When couples lose their spontaneity, life becomes routine and dull. So, practice spontaneity. Do things on a whim with your partner to awaken the feelings you both felt when your relationship first blossomed.

Write a love note. It doesn't have to be lengthy, although it could be. Just a simple "I love you" or "I can't wait to spend time with you this weekend" placed in your partner's lunch box is sure to make their day. If you're good with words, write a poem. If not, borrow one, and leave it on your lover's pillow.

Laugh at your mate's jokes and with your partner. No matter how corny your partner's jokes, genuinely laugh when they're trying to be funny, even if you have to laugh because the joke is so corny. Not only will your laughter boost your spouse's ego, but also it's good for your relationship, too.

But there's more. Numerous studies, including a study ( by Laura E. Kurtz appearing in the Personal Relationships journal, have found that shared laughter brings couples closer together. Look for opportunities to share laughter with your partner. Watch sitcoms, go to the comedy club, hang out with other fun couples, or be silly together.

Physical affection. This is so simple and can be done anytime and anyplace. Hold hands when you're watching TV or out and about. Give a kiss on the cheek or walk over and give a shoulder massage. Pat your partner on the behind or walk up and wrap your arms around him or her. There are so many ways and opportunities to show your affection.

Make your partner's favorite dinner. The adage goes that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The same can be true for women. Go all out and prepare their favorite dinner and dessert. Don't forget the candles, wine, and soft music for a romantic ambiance.

Take your mate on a date. Make a plan for something the two of you both enjoy but haven't done in a while. Better yet, plan something special your spouse particularly enjoys that you haven't been keen to do in the past. Then, make the most of it - even if it isn't your favorite activity - and let your partner know how much you enjoy seeing him or her happy and spending time together. Need some ideas? Go to a sporting event, concert, or play; visit a museum; or go golfing or bowling.

Pay a compliment. Everyone loves a compliment, especially from a significant other. Tell him how his blue shirt brings out his dreamy, blue eyes. Compliment her new haircut. Or let him know how much you appreciate his handyman skills. Look for genuine reasons to compliment your partner, often.

Give a gift. Men don't place as much importance on receiving gifts as women. Still, it can be a very romantic and meaningful gesture when done out of the blue regardless of gender. Look for something the other will love such as tickets to a game, reserved tickets for the next movie in a beloved series, or something useful for their favorite hobby or sporting activity.

Show your unconditional love. Women, in particular, often fall for and marry men with the idea they can “fix him.” Over time, this results in constant badgering to change, wreaking havoc on romantic feelings. Learn to accept your partner's shortcomings, and love them unconditionally. You'll likely see your partner's romantic side shine through again.

Spoon. Cuddle before falling asleep and when you wake up. It'll make you both happier and improve your relationship because of the endorphins it releases, particularly oxytocin, the love hormone.

Say 'I love you' in a deep and meaningful way. During a romantic moment, say something you really mean, such as, "You're my soul mate," "I want to be with you forever," "You make my life whole," or whatever you honestly feel for your mate.

Give a massage. Both men and women enjoy getting pampered. Give a foot or back massage, or give your partner a full body treatment. Massage also increases oxytocin. So, it can improve the romance in your relationship.

Books on keeping the romance alive

The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall? Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, James Witte

Rekindling the Romance: Loving the Love of Your Life Dennis Rainey, Barbara Rainey

Mars and Venus in the Bedroom: A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion John Gray

Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last a Lifetime Zig Ziglar

Rekindling Romance for Dummies Sabine Walter, Pierre A. Lehu

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Sue Johnson

The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives Lewis Howes

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples Harville Hendrix