7 Wildly Underrated Ways To Recharge A Sluggish Relationship

Photo: MDV edwards / shutterstock 
Young couple looking bored and annoyed with one another

If you've been feeling frustrated that your relationship is in trouble, don't panic! Getting professional help from a counseling program or therapist may be important eventually, and it's an option you should keep in mind.

First, though, it's important to try to recharge your battery together.

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Here are seven surprisingly effective ideas to revive your sluggish relationship 

1. Switch your focus 

Because eyes look outward it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what your partner does that bugs you. Better, though, to stop trying to change your partner, period. Re-focus your eyes on insight. Figure out what you can do differently. How would the changes you can make — the ones that you have control over — lighten up both of your lives?

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2. Do the math

Focus on how to add more affection and appreciation to your relationship. Subtract the negatives like criticism, disagreement, blame and complaints.

3. Look ahead

Focusing on the past risks feeding old resentments and disappointments. Instead, figure out what a great relationship would look like and start acting that way today. Placing your energy on future goals as a couple will help you create a game plan for getting there.

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4. Mind your three-letter words

Eliminate the word "but" when speaking to your partner. Each time you respond with "but ..." you are erasing what you just heard, making your partner feel erased, too. Eliminate "not" too: I'm not pleased, I don't want to, etc …  Instead, use lots of "Yes!"

5. Stay in the calm zone

Anger is very off-putting. Sadness is healthy to share, and anxiety too. Anger, by contrast, drives your partner away. If your partner initiates an angry interaction, you're at risk for catching fire, so exit ASAP. Stand up, say something like, "Excuse me, I need to get a drink of water," and use your legs to get out of range. When you return, initiate affection and change the topic. 

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6. Soup up the intimacy

There's always room for improvement in your sex lives! You can start by setting aside more intimate time. Then, figure out how to make the sex you have even better. For example, add music. Spend more time being affectionate before you hit the bed. Move more and use those pelvic muscles. Even take a look at some how-to sex books. The reality is that sexual connection is the key reset button for elevating the tone of a relationship in both men and women.

7. Have more fun

Fun doesn't have to cost money. Turn on music while you do dishes together. Go outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Or do just about anything that's different. New, with a positive attitude, is invigorating.

At some point, you also will want to dig deeper to fix the broken pieces in your relationship, especially if they are tough ones like addictions, excessive anger, infidelity, financial problems, or communication problems. But it's helpful to first use the tips above to fix your relationship connection.

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Harvard-educated psychologist and marriage counselor Susan Heitler, Ph.D. teaches couples skills for relationship success. Her book "The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong and Loving Marriage" teaches the how-to's of having healthy partnerships in full detail

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