When we get into a long-term relationship, it’s very easy for us to get caught into a routine. We have a primal need for love, belonging, security and intimacy. We also have a need for desire, which is more about mystery, adventure, thrill, and aliveness.

How we juggle these two opposing needs will dictate how fulfilled we can be in our relationship over time.

Love is all about certainty, security and predictability… especially if you have kids as well. This is a foundation. Unfortunately what comes with all of that is blandness, routine and the mundane. Passion, aliveness and fire have been replaced by exhaustion, duty and obligation.

So how can we lift the obligation, cut ourselves loose and experience more fire and freedom.

#1 Priority

Our lives can be like managing the triage units… taking care of the most pressing things first. Making time for intimate connection with our partner is usually shunted to the very bottom of the list, if it makes the list at all, before we fall into bed exhausted and start the whole thing tomorrow.

If we don’t make it a priority, believe me, a huge open block of time and space is not going to miraculously appear. If we want to have more passion, more connection, more aliveness with our partner, we have to be willing to invest in it. It can’t actually be one more thing you try and squish in to an already bursting schedule. Rather really assessing what would you be willing give up off of the list in order to make time for it?

#2 Curiosity

What makes us feel safe and in control is predictability, so we convince ourselves we know all there is to know about our partner. We put them in a box… but they are not static, and neither are we. When we take ourselves out of the comfort of the known… we can discover loads of new things about our partner. Make the time to get out of your regular routine and have conversations about topics other that logistics, or what’s most pressing right now. Highlighting our differences, and creating a little distance between us actually creates a magnetic pull toward each other.

# 3 Connection

In the age of multi-tasking and being pulled in many directions, it’s very easy to go through many of our interactions without being genuinely present or connected. While it sounds ridiculously simple; making the time and intention to focus on what your partner is saying, stopping all other tasks, letting go of all the other things you may be holding in your head, and genuinely listening, can have a profound impact on your feelings of connection.

# 4 Communication

While we have so many interactions with our partner in a day, we don’t always make the time to genuinely communicate our deepest desires and fears. In general, we exist day-to-day skating on the surface, and rarely diving in past logistics and practical conversations. It feels scary to be vulnerable, and to share things that could potentially upset our partner or have them reject or diminish the things we hold close to our heart. AND… rather than thinking you might upset the apple cart, think of it as creating the glue that can hold you together.

Set the time, create the space, and take turns to openly share your fears, hopes and desires with one another.

#5 Sexual Intimacy

While our sexuality is not always a metaphor for our whole relationship, often, it is. It’s something that probably came easily at the beginning of the relationship, and chances are as the warmth of familiarity and comfort have grown over the years of shared experience, the fire of lusty passion has dwindled, if not fizzled out completely.

Sex is where we are most physically vulnerable and connected. These interactions send us straight to our bodies and primal brain, and we cannot underestimate the power of physical connection. When we can be genuinely present with each other, feeling safe and held to fully surrender to expansive sensations of pleasure with each other, letting go of all self-consciousness and need to perform, this will certainly ripple into and enrich our whole relationship tremendously.