“How can I spice up my marriage?”
It’s a question we get asked by couples who have been married for three years and thirty years.
And what does “spice things up” really mean? For one thing, it doesn’t mean you need to get kinky (unless you both want to). Think of spicing things up in your relationship as more than just sexually (although, you’ll want to do that too).
According to Pew Research Center, 84% of women say they have sex to get their husband to help with housework. Well, that’s one way to go about it. But this isn’t exactly the optimal way to strengthen your relationship or spice up your sex life.
The interesting thing, there is a subtle connection between sex and household chores — it is part of a healthy relationship.
If your marriage isn’t sexy, it’s not because you don’t own the right lingerie or you’re doing the right positions in the sack. It’s could be because you don’t do the dishes enough.
how to spice up your marriage
So, let’s dive into healthy and effective ways to spice up your relationship and sex life.
Especially now that many are working from home, you’re probably wondering how to spice things up when you’re with them all day, every day.
Fortunately, it’s also an opportunity to deepen your connection in other areas of your relationship to make you feel like honeymooners again. This is an important distinction because you can only do so many new things inside the bedroom (or out, if you prefer).
We could give you a list of million things to do right now, and truthfully, it wouldn’t be enough. That’s because you only get that dopamine spike the first one or two times you do something new.
The real secret to keeping things spicy is to grow your emotional connection and intensity.
Real intensity comes from deep connection, so you both need to communicate what you really want and need. Luckily for you, we have more advice than just this.
And of course, let’s not forget all of the feel-good hormones released during sex: oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and prolactin. We’ll share tips on how to spice up your sex life below too.
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Ways to spice up your marriage
‘I like hugs. I like kisses. But what I’d really love is help with the dishes.’
The foundation of a healthy marriage needs to be strong on all fronts — not just with sex. Here are some tips on how to spice up your marriage emotionally and foundationally.
1. Speak the right language
We can’t say this enough: read The 5 Love Languages. Read The 5 Love Languages. At the minimum, take the dang quiz. This can seriously revolutionize your relationship.
One surefire way to spice up your marriage is by showing love in the way your partner wants it. Have you been giving your partner gifts but they’re still cold to you? Well, maybe instead of a bracelet, you should have just painted the bathroom wall.
The 5 Love Languages helps you decipher the optimal way that both you and your partner want to feel love. Either through quality time, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, or acts of service, learn how best to speak their language.
That way, you can stop “wasting” time on doing the dishes but instead give your partner the massage they want.
2. Re-invent date night
Who says date night needs to be dinner and a movie? In addition to being blasé, it can also be hard on your waistline and wallet.
On that note, who said it needs to even happen at night?
Mix things up to keep your partner guessing. Hire a babysitter to come in the morning to enjoy a date brunch with a long hike.
Sign up for a couples massage class, leave for a weekend without anything booked, or create a theme for your dates like “coffee” or “birds.” Get creative with it!
The data backs us up on this. Stony Brook University, New York, ran a study where one group of couples went on weekly date nights to familiar local restaurants. A second group instead tried new activities like an art class and an amusement park.
After the study ten weeks later, the second group reported higher levels of marital satisfaction. Have fun and be creative.
When you do have dinner and a movie, pick a flick from our list of movies scientifically proven to cut your chances of divorce in half.
Or, if you want to have high-quality, spontaneous (and affordable or free) dates already planned for the next year, check out The Adventure Challenge Book. We tested it and it’s the best date night product out there for couples.
3. Make a DIY marriage retreat at home
We got you fully covered here… as we’ve already done this and share our schedule!
In our at-home marriage retreat, we get you working out together, relaxing, cooking, and talking about important topics. This structured, hour-by-hour schedule is based on the couple’s retreats people shell out hundreds and thousands of dollars for.
And you can do it all from home. What better way to intensify your marriage than to do a check-in like this?
At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda
Download and print our DIY couple's retreat itinerary and preparation checklist.
Our couple's therapy ideas bring in practical science along with mental health, nutrition, fitness, and reconnecting relationship activities. Plus, we're just an email away for questions or support.
4. Write love notes
We all want to feel precious and thought of, so why not surprise your partner with love notes?
While a full-on love letter is also wonderful (and for these, we think you should mail them!), for those of us who aren’t great writers, stick to little notes. An “I love you” or “You’re sexy” or an inside joke conveys a lot too.
Even if you have kids who search every nook and cranny, leave notes on the car windshield, in their shoe, and even in their retainer case. And yes, Ryan has done all of these. It’s pretty hilarious and definitely keeps the romance firing.
5. Ask “How can I make your day better?”
Every day this week, why not ask your partner what you can do for them?
I know, I know. Perhaps you came to this article looking to spice up your marriage because you want your partner more involved. So why are we asking more of you?
Whether or not it feels unfair, the truth is only you can control your actions and your feelings. You can’t control your partner. But, if you start asking what you can do for them — and then do it — the odds are that your partner will begin to reciprocate.
It may not happen this week or this month, but with time, this is a solid way to work on spicing up your marriage.
6. Work out together
As two fitness coaches, how could we not put this one in there?
We have read hundreds of studies that all say one thing: working out with your partner increases sexual intimacy, confidence, attraction, and quality time together.
To get started, we’ve created some free, fun, and touchy feely activities for you to try.
If you want a challenge your balance, flexibility and strength, start with our Couples Yoga Flow Routine.
Or, to really sweat together and challenge your coordination and cardio, try our HIIT Couples Workout Routine.
Lastly, to really get hands-on, use our guide to learn how to give your partner a good massage at home.
Our best program to spice up your marriage is our Couples Yoga Program. We partnered with a professional yogi and gymnastics choreographer to create these innovative and challenging partner yoga routines.
They are hands-down the most effective way to strengthen your mind, body and relationship, together.
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You'll get lifetime access to our five unique and creatively challenging classes. Plus, access to future classes and support.
Included are two 6-week calendars for both beginners and intermediates.
Invest in partner yoga as a lifelong hobby that amplifies your body, soul, and relationship.
Get started today, no matter what level.
7. Redo sex-ed class, together
Chances are, the first time you took sex education, it was at school. And you were thirteen years old. Since you’re wondering how to spice up your marriage, taking this class together is step one.
Outside of the obvious problems with sexual education in the United States — mainly that it is taught differently state-to-state and doesn’t have to be medically accurate — very little is said about pleasure and exploring the body.
Emily Morse, the sex therapist and author behind the popular podcast Sex with Emily, thinks you should re-take sex ed as a couple. We can hands-down say her MasterClass on sex and communication is nothing like what’s taught at school.
We 100% recommend her course and have a full review of MasterClass (of all 20 courses that we took) in our article, “Is MasterClass Worth It?”
8. Try marriage therapy
Relationship building is something that Ryan and I research and experiment with as our careers. After analyzing the best apps for married couples,’ one really stuck out: Relish.
We ranked Relish #1 for the best marriage therapy app. Now, months later after using the app, it rings more true than ever. This app is freaking awesome.
Hold up… we just want to spice up our marriage. You’re saying we needed therapy? For most, these might seem like the worst two words in the world. How unhappy does a couple have to be to go to marriage therapy?
Not unhappy. Not unhappy at all.
Truth be told, therapists recommend starting therapy when things are good, not bad. Additionally, experts estimate that most couples start therapy six years too late.
Instead of therapy, we like to think of it as coaching or training.
And with our Relish subscription, we each have access to a Relationship Coach for 1-on-1 questions and 300+ video lessons to improve our “Relationship Health Score.” Yes, the app very structured and based on science which is why we love it.
Check out our full review of the Relish Relationship App, or sign up for a free trial below.
9. Learn couples massage
We’ve always loved going to the spa for a couples massage. They’re always a treat.
However, we took a couples massage class recently and realized that you miss out on a lot when getting a massage done at a spa, mainly the intimacy, conversation, and connection. Plus, it gets expensive, at $300 or so each time.
Giving your partner an excellent massage at-home is a sure way to spice up your marriage. But, if you’re like us, you’re not a professional masseuse.
So how did Ryan and I go from giving each other mediocre to ‘excellent’ massages? One word: Melt.
Melt: Massage for Couples is an online couples massage class that teaches you and your partner how to give deep, therapeutic, professional-quality massages at home.
Ever since Ryan and I started, it’s like love at first sight all over again. It’s almost laughable how bad and inefficient we were beforehand!
Not only is Melt incredibly fun and romantic —every night is date night! — it’s accessible, easy to follow, and you learn everything from deep tissue massage to the most decadent neck massage routine.
We promise it’s nothing corny or horny. Melt is a straight-up awesome couples massage master class. Ryan and I have been having a lot of fun with it and now give more spontaneous massages while at home.
So, if you’re in the need of more massages in your life, we couldn’t recommend Melt enough.
How to Spice Up your Sex Life In Marriage
10. Prioritize your pleasure
Only you control your pleasure. Not your partner.
Clearly, you’re already taking control because you’re reading this article.
Your partner may be the most amazing partner in the world, but they can’t read your mind. One way to start prioritizing your pleasure is by asking for it.
Don’t feel shy — in some cases you may have been married for decades! Plus, your partner loves you and would do anything for you. Don’t you think that includes your pleasure?
Here’s how to ask for it without making your partner feel like they’re not pleasing you adequately. Say things like, “Remember that phenomenal time we did that thing in Bali? It really turned me on. Let’s do that tonight.”
Or, “Last night when you did that thing… it was hot. If we could do more of that, that would turn me on even more.”
Remember, your partner wants to please you. Guide them to how they can do that better. They’re not “giving” you an orgasm. It’s still your responsibility to advocate for numero uno.
11. Define your Yes/No/Maybe checklist
Emily Morse calls the yes/no/maybe checklist as your “sexual road map.” It’s where you can go, and where you can’t.
You can find these lists online and each mark them separately. See what overlaps and start from there! Of course, this isn’t a one-time-fits-all list and it’s one that you can update or change whenever you want.
The lists will usually contain items from bondage to dirty talk to cuddling… and more, depending upon what list you want to find.
From there, you can view this list as a sex menu.
12. Make a sexual bucket list
Yes, we are bucket list fans. We’ve already shared our adventurous couple’s bucket list ideas for regular life… so why not for your sex life?
Write it together and have fun with it. Don’t feel like you have to do anything over-the-top wild, and make sure you each feel comfortable with the items. This is a great thing to do after your Yes/No/Maybe checklist.
Whether it’s sex on the beach, skinny dipping, attending a burlesque show, role-playing, trying a new toy, having sex in every room of your house… put it on the list.
13. Bring in the books
What do you think is the top-selling book genre? If you guessed crime/mystery ($728.2 million) or religious/inspirational ($720 million), then you’d be wrong.
But, add the two together and you would finally get to the right answer: romance and erotica.
In 2020, Amazon sold an unbelievable $1.44 billion dollars worth of romance/erotica novels.
I’m guessing you won’t underestimate the power of the romance/erotica genre again! We all remember when Fifty Shades of Grey made waves in 2011, and there’s a good reason.
In 2002, the sex researcher Rosemary Basson introduced the Cyclical Model of Desire, saying that our bodies respond to outside activity like romance novels. No surprise there and the same can be said for movies, art, music, and more.
The next time you see those paperbacks at the end cap of your grocery aisle, don’t think twice. Just grab it! See how it can give you new ideas to try at home. The money speaks.
14. Don’t forget your secondary hot spots
We all know the obvious erogenous zones (aka hot spots), including the groin, butt, mouth, and breasts. But what about all of the secondary erogenous zones? Think ears, neck, lower back, elbows, knees, and feet.
Give yourselves permission to explore and massage your whole body and see where it takes you.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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