Most relationships can get 'stuck in a rut' at some stage. If you've lost some of the intimacy or fun you had in the early days of your relationship, here are six ways to get it back...
1. Sleep in the same bed
Studies have found that intimacy is mirrored by the distance that separates partners during sleep. While there are lots of good reasons for wanting your own space (perhaps your partner snores or you need to be close to the baby), don't get into the habit of sleeping in separate beds. Speak to the doctor about snoring remedies, buy a bigger bed, or work out some other arrangement so that you can be together.
2. Play footsie
Relationship counsellors are always reminding us of the importance of communication, but never underestimate the power of touch. A cuddle after a stressful day or a reassuring squeeze of the hand can say so much. If you rarely touch your partner, make the effort to get back into the habit. Hold hands in the street or surprise them with a game of footsie the next time you're in a restaurant. If sex has been off the agenda for some time, small touches can help re-open the door to physical intimacy.
Research shows that a fair division of household responsibilities leads to a better sex life. If you feel anger and resentment towards your partner (because they haven't done the washing up or some other reason), you're less likely to want to enjoy intimacy with them, whether emotional or physical.
If there's a problem, speak up. Ignoring how you really feel to keep the status quo will only make things worse. Choose a quiet moment, speak honestly and lovingly (not when you're already cross) and explain that you want there to be a fair division of labour around the house. Be ready to compromise – and agree to take on new roles if necessary so that things are fair for both of you.
4. Play games together
The adrenaline-fuelled rush you felt at the start of your relationship might be long gone, but that doesn't mean you can't get some of the excitement back. Shake up your daily routine and do something new: take up tennis, learn to salsa - anything that gets you out of your comfort zone. A shared new experience will bring you together and give you something new to talk about.
If money or family commitments make it hard to leave the house, challenge each other to a game of something. Research shows that couples who play video games together report higher levels of marital satisfaction.
5. Have a dance party
We all know that 'laughter is the best medicine,' and it's true for our relationships as well as our health. When we laugh the body releases endorphins into the bloodstream including serotonin, nature's anti-depressant, which makes us feel good. Laughter also has the power to strengthen the emotional bonds between people. See a stand-up comedian together, tickle one another or have a dance party in the kitchen - anything that makes you giggle will bring you closer together.
6. Watch a scary movie
Research shows that couples who watch and discuss movies together are less likely to divorce. If you're looking for a film to watch, try something scary. When we do something frightening the body releases a surge of adrenaline, which mimics the hormones we experience when we fall in love. A rollercoaster ride, car racing, or watching a scary movie will all leave you breathless and ready for more excitement. Hide together behind the sofa, and who knows what it might lead to...
Three products that could help improve your relationship:
Nintendo Wii Mini Red Console, £89.99
Ashby Kingsize Bed Frame, £189.99
Snoreeze Snoring Relief Oral Device, £35.99