Finding someone who makes you happy is wonderful. It only makes sense that you’d want that happiness to last forever. The problem is that it’s all too easy to grow complacent and lose sight of what made you enjoy being with each other to begin with.
Research shows that strong, long-lasting relationships are fed through experiencing new things together. That’s right – keeping your marriage fresh, happy, and exciting can be as simple as putting in some work to find new things to do. Luckily, that work could and ought to be fun for both of you!
Here are just a few ideas for ways you can try new things together.
Explore Your World
Date nights shouldn’t die out just because you’re no longer just “dating.” Spending time together doing new things can increase marriage satisfaction, according to a study by Stony Brook University. Keeping date night alive is a great way to try new things together.
It doesn’t have to be the traditional dinner and a movie, either. Hiking, roller skating, or geocaching are especially good choices because exercise helps release endorphins in the brain. By getting active together, you get a double whammy of feel-good chemicals released into your body. That makes both of you more likely to want to do it again.
Alternatively, you can “explore” by learning something new – going to a museum, taking a class, or joining a group that is outside your knowledge base or typical comfort zone.
Explore New Goals
Working with your partner to achieve a shared goal is a great way to learn more about them and reignite the spark. Maybe you’ve both always wanted to travel. Or you’ve been meaning to get yourselves to the gym more. Or finally put in that vegetable garden. Give them a warm invitation and let them know how much more you’d enjoy sharing the experience. Let them know that s/he is very important to you.
By working together on these shared desires, you can increase your chances of meeting these goals and grow closer at the same time. For best results, choose something that neither of you currently do regularly. This way you can take the plunge together, and help each other learn.
New goals can also be relationship goals. If this seems daunting to tackle on your own, look into couples’ retreats. These are designed to help you and your partner get away from daily life and let you get to know your partner. You can even find retreats that focus on rebuilding relationships that aren’t as interesting as they used to be.
Explore Each Other
It can be easy to let physical intimacy slide as your lives get busier. Physical touch seems minor in the grand scheme of things, after all. However, affectionate touch helps your body release oxytocin, a chemical that strengthens emotional bonds.
Even if you don’t have the energy to do more, cuddling your partner can make you feel more connected to them. If you do have more energy, don’t be afraid to switch up your routine. At worst, trying new things in the bedroom can lead to a funny story. At best, it opens you up to fun activities and bonding time with your partner.
You can explore each other mentally, too. Couples’ counseling isn’t just for people on the verge of a breakup. Having an unbiased third party involved can make you both feel more comfortable opening up. They can also help you see and overcome problems that you may not have consciously noticed yet. They can even help keep you motivated to try new things elsewhere. An Imago Therapist knows lots of skills that are evidence-based, proven to help you both take your Relationship to the next level, to the Marriage of your dreams.
Trying new things may seem intimidating, but that’s why doing it with your partner is so great – they’re your safety net and your accountability. Staying in love over the long haul takes work, but it’s worth the effort to reach out and get marriage help, whether it’s through a couples’ retreat, starting counseling, or just going on more dates.