You miss the spark, the special gestures, the physical intimacy. But you can get them back. These pointers can bring you closer.

1. Change your focus Harping on what’s not happening in your relationship only results in the kind of anger and frustration that’s self-destructive. Instead, consider the specific expressions of love and affection that are important to your mate. Lavish them on him—and be direct so he understands you’re making the effort. When you give the kind of love that’s most important to him, you’re much more likely to get the kind that’s important to you.

2. Downsize your schedule Even if you’re both sincere about wanting to restore intimacy in your relationship, it’s not likely to happen if you don’t arrange to spend more time together. Discuss how both of you can purge your schedules of those nonessential commitments that keep you apart. By making this investment, you can lessen the fear factor (“Does my mate want this as badly as I do?”) and make it clear that your commitment to enhancing your relationship is serious.

3. Point out the positives Be sure to applaud the ways that he expresses the kind of affection and intimacy that you desire. Acknowledge even his baby steps in the right direction and you’ll increase the chances that you’ll see more man-size ones in the future. Behavior you reward is behavior he’ll be inclined to repeat.

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4. Get real Changing circumstances, like an unusually heavy workload, parent-related demands, temporarily mismatched schedules or personal crises, may mean that, for a time, you can’t expect the same level of intimacy from your mate that you once could. Talk candidly about what is—and is not—realistic for this period in your lives. By doing so you’ll unburden yourselves of unnecessary guilt and forge a supportive partnership.