When you’ve been with your partner for a while, be it years or decades, you can start to fall into a routine where it feels like you’re more like roommates and less like lovers. Busy days, jam-packed schedules and work and social commitments might leave you little room to focus on your intimacy, which is why relationship experts stress the importance of prioritizing date night and even scheduling sex so that it actually happens. Another important way to keep your love alive is to engage in frequent meaningful conversations. After all, non-verbal communication will only get you so far and can easily be misinterpreted.
“Verbal communication is much more effective, especially if you practice direct communication,” Claudia Six, Ph.D., sexologist, relationship coach and author of Erotic Integrity, says. “When you communicate indirectly a big part of your message is implied, not stated and you expect others to be responsible for interpreting your message correctly…which they don’t always do.”
If you’re looking to reignite the spark in your relationship that might have grown dim over time, these conversation starters can help get things going.
“I appreciate the way you…”
When you’re so used to the way your significant other does things, be it how they take out the trash every few days like clockwork or rub your feet after a long and hard-earned day, it can be easy to neglect expressing your thanks. But even more than the words “thank you,” “I appreciate you” conveys a more pervasive sense of gratitude. “Appreciation pertains to overall traits your partner brings to the relationship, that help you in your life, and make you happy,” says Dr. Six. “Expressing that has your partner feeling heard and valued.”
“You look so great in that outfit.”
Even a simple, “That shirt looks so nice on you!” can go a long way. “We all want our partner to think we look good. It makes us feel seen and desired,” adds Dr. Six.
“Let’s get into bed early tonight so we have time to be together.”
Dr. Six explains that expressing sexual desire with no pressure can be an effective way to initiate sex.
“Too often couples throw out the baby with the bathwater: they avoid affectionate touch because they don’t want to seem like the only time they touch their mate it’s for sex, or because they are afraid that if they express affection their beloved will automatically assume they want sex and then they’ll feel obligated to follow through on something they may not be into,” she says. “Inviting your lover to be sensual together with no strings, and it really has to be no strings (otherwise they’ll know and it’ll backfire), is a way to get closer…and possibly get it on.