Have you hit a slump in your relationship? Having a healthy relationship is all about balance. When things are thrown off balance, one of two things tends to happen. A) you build up anger and resentment toward the other person, or B) you become distanced or estranged. Relationships are hard no matter where you are in life. Young, old, married, or dating, you're always going to hit a slow point. To rekindle the spark, find the balance between together and apart, small talk and real talk, sleeping together and sleeping together. That balance will be different for each relationship so spend this month exploring what works for you. I've listed four main focuses for the month of October, and a daily challenge that reflect these focuses. Focus 1: Choosing Your Battles We've all heard it at one point in our lives: "you sound like an old married couple." This is not a compliment. It usually means you're bickering about trivial things. Having mini fights frequently can weigh down the relationship, leaving less room for affection. Use this week to reflect on your arguing habits and make active changes to get your arguments back in balance. It's an age old proverb: choose your battles. Focus 2: Dating = Dates No matter how long you've been together and what your budget is, you should always plan dates. Even if you just stay in and cook together before watching a movie. It's important that you pick a specific time and date and stick to it. Scheduling dates makes more of an event out of your every-day relationship. Go somewhere new. Take a class together. Do something outside your regular pattern so you can learn new things about each other. Focus 3: Communicating Maintaining an exciting physical relationship is key to staying out of relationship slumps. If you find your libido is dropping, suggest something new, or somewhere new. Communicating your desires is the first step in having them fulfilled. Similarly, communicating about personal or relationship stresses is vastly important. Don't hold back from talking about your feelings just because you think you shouldn't feel that way, however, be mindful of how your partner feels and choose your words carefully. Focus 4: Being Apart Even if you live together, it's important to miss each other. Specifically planning on not talking or seeing each other can amplify the effect. It's easy to fall into the pattern of assuming that your plans are their plans so be sure to do things separately at least once a week. Doing things separately will give you more to talk about when you're together and encourage more meaningful conversation. Here is a one-month plan to put fun, novelty, and intimacy back into your relationship. Follow it with your partner and be slump-free by Halloween. Oct. 1-4 1st - Reverse roles in something that's become routine i.e. cooking vs dishes. 2nd - Play "20 Questions" even if it's been years. 3rd - Avoid a petty argument on something trivial i.e. who lost the keys. 4th - Have a girls night out/boys night out and enjoy the night apart. Oct. 5-11 5th - Go out for brunch and tell stories from Saturday night. 6th - Decide to never fight about _______ anymore, because you'll always disagree. 7th - Watch something controversial together and talk about your opinions. 8th - Spend an hour going through your couples photos separately, then reminisce over dinner. 9th - Make out. 10th - Miss each other. Go out with a friend and stay at their place. 11th - Admit an unreasonable pet-peeve that annoys you about them (i.e. open drawers, the nickname "hun" etc.) Oct. 12-18 12th - When arguing/bickering, play the silent game and refuse to talk until you're over it. 13th - Write a nice note on a post-it and put it somewhere they'll find it later. 14th - Tell them one of your fantasies you've never admitted to and see what happens... 15th - Me day: Do something for yourself. Read alone in a coffee shop or get your hair cut. 16th - Go for a nature walk together 17th - Read an old birthday card or Facebook message that made you smile. 18th - Have dinner at a restaurant you've never been to. Then go dancing. Oct.19-25 19th - Spend the day together with one rule: no kissing or touching until the sun sets. 20th - Whether it's the movie, the dinner choice or colour of the walls, let them choose today. 21st - Exchange stories about a childhood fear. 22nd - Miss each other. Avoid seeing or talking to each other today. 23rd - Decide to forgive something that still comes up in fights. 24th - Tell them something you're embarrassed about sexually. 25th - Spend Sunday making a couples costume for Halloween. Oct. 26-31 26th - Spend the day holiday shopping for your partner. It's never too early 27th - Watch a "how-to" on youtube and learn/try something together (i.e. DIY Springrolls or How to Play Euchre) 28th - Take a break - don't chat until bedtime. 29th - Start a new Netflix series together. 30th - Role play. 31st - Happy Halloween! Talk about what you're most afraid of in your relationship.