There is no more spark in my 7-year relationship and I would like advice on how to reignite it with her.
I am really encouraged that you have a desire to get the spark back! It is common for people to reach a point in their relationship where they believe that a spark should self-maintain and then conclude that if (well, more accurately when) it doesn't, then the love must have run dry. It seems you get that this is not true.
When it comes to anything about your relationship - if you want it to exist, the only way you can ensure that it will is if you contribute it! A relationship is a vehicle, a container of sorts, that provides you the forum and the space to experience whatever it is the two of you wish to experience. If you are the only one who wishes to reignite the spark, you alone can take steps toward this and take 100% responsibility for making it happen.
The spark you experienced with her was always created and experienced within you. When you were first with her, you inevitably had thoughts of her that allowed you to feel good inside. I would imagine that she was always on your mind. You sent her cards, called, emailed and texted her often, you were probably very hands-on with her when she was around, eager to make contact, eager to know her and discover what it is she was thinking, curious about her feelings, curious about her dreams, interested in her fears. When you felt most connected to her, most alive and engaged with her there was one very enormous difference between then and now: all thoughts led to her, and pleasing her, not to you, and how you are not getting what you want.
We are most alive and most connected in love when we step outside of ourselves and the smallness of our narrow focus on what we need. When we get that we will always have the capacity to meet our own needs, we are fully free to give love to another. Until then, we spend a whole lot of time and energy trying to get her to meet our needs. Unfortunately, she's doing the same thing at the same time!
When we have sold ourselves the story that we must get x, y and z from our partner in order to be happy we have created a situation where we have surrendered our happiness to her, our "spark" to her, our dreams to her, and it's natural then to feel very anxious about the choices she is making, and to fear that our needs will never be met. Your needs can be met immediately by you. Know this and you will begin to feel much happier.
The very best way I know how to reignite a spark is this:
- Treat your partner as if you just fell in love with her. How did you behave the last time you felt "the spark?" Be that person again, even if your partner is not.
- Recall fondly and reminisce with her about all of the memories you have about when you first fell in love. Detail in a letter to her how you remember what she was wearing when you met, the places you went, the things you did, how it felt to touch her, and fill the letter up with all of the love you long to re-experience with her today. Do not include anything that isn't about this love - do not focus on the lack of this today, rather envelop yourself with all of the good, and only the good, that you wish to reignite.
- Share your appreciations with her throughout the course of the day (without her knowing what you're up to). On three different occasions each day, share random things for which you are grateful, or appreciate about her and your relationship. This could be a simple as, "Thank you for making time to have breakfast with me," or "You look beautiful today," or "It felt good to be greeted with a hug from you today." Make sure she doesn't know that it is your goal to do this consciously three times a day. While it may require your conscious effort to do this at three different times and when you say what you say, you must also mean it.
- Talk at least 15 minutes a day, face to face, uninterrupted. Ask her questions that she isn't expecting, that communicate more directly the message that "I want to know you." Share with her more deeply than you have been, without the expectation that she respond a certain way. Let there be no rules in your mind about how she should respond if she loves you.
- Initiate contact. If you have been sexless for a while and neither of you has initiated contact, begin flirting with her. Touch her more often. Offer to rub her back or feet. Slowly send her the message that you are interested in her. Behave as if you already feel what it is you wish to feel with her - even if you aren't there yet. "But that's dishonest," you might be thinking. And to that I say - is it dishonest to work out even if you don't want to? Is it dishonest to clean your house when you'd rather not? Your intention is true: to reconnect.
- Plan a getaway. Many couples do better away from work and daily responsibilities. If you don't have the funds for a full vacation, plan a daytrip to a more local destination. Have fun. The spark lights faster when both of you feel relaxed and playful with one another.
- Look for evidence that she does love you. You can look for evidence that she loves you, or you can look for evidence that she doesn't. You are certain to find both, so decide today, now, that you will look only for evidence that she does love you. What do you stand to gain by searching for proof she doesn't?
There's so much more to share - this is such a great question. Another great kick-start to reconnecting is my Couple's Weekend . Whatever you do, take charge of the spark and make it your sole responsibility to reignite without any pressure, or expectation that she participate and I think you'll be amazed by the results.