Thanks to Hollywood, many couples have been led to believe the secret to reconnecting and rekindling the passion is through a Caribbean cruise, sports cars, or jewelry. But the reality is, once there’s a disconnect between partners, gifts and vacations simply won’t cut it.

It may seem counterintuitive, but love is mended not through grandiose deeds, but through small acts of kindness; through the seemingly micro-moments. It is in these moments when we have a choice to listen to our partner and love them.

If you and your partner are feeling disconnected, here are a few ways you can reconnect:

Pay Better Attention

It is not maliciousness but rather mindlessness that often causes a disconnect. When our partner turns to us with an emotional need, or to simply be heard, do we stop what we are doing and give them our full attention? Or do we mumble something and nod a little, all-the-while checking our Facebook page?

One of the most important steps to reconnecting is to become more self-aware and understand that you are, most likely, not paying your partner the kind of attention they seek and deserve. When they reach for you, reach back. Showing kindness and respect, especially in those moments when it feels hard (like when the game is on or your coworker is texting you juicy office gossip), will go a long way toward reconnecting you.

Try to Understand Your Partner Better

Often times disconnection comes not from what is said between you both but what is not said. Many couples complain they feel their partner wants them to be a mind reader!

But what partners really want is for the other person to take the time to get to know them. Think of it, if you’ve been with your spouse or partner for three years, five years, fifteen years and you STILL don’t know what scares them, frustrates them or pleases them, what does that say? They are not worth you taking the time to try and understand them as a person?

If you truly want to reconnect, know it will take work, and much of that work will simply be learning how your partner operates. The good news is, understanding each other better means you won’t take things so personally anymore. Instead of seeing your partner as angry or defensive all the time, you’ll recognize his sensitivities and her fears.

Play

Reconnecting doesn’t have to feel like work. The best way to rekindle the joy and passion is to play together. Go to a movie, play air hockey, try rollerblading… whatever it is, just try and have genuine fun together.

Relationships are work, and most couples will experience a sense of disconnect from time to time. If you make a conscious effort to reconnect you can feel closer than ever. And, if you feel you need more help reconnecting with one another, a trained therapist can help you get back on track.

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