So, you think your relationship is pretty good? Nothing wrong, per se, just a little stagnant sometimes? Even healthy relationships go through times of negativity, boredom and adjustment. We are human and we like our routines, but sometimes the routine begins to feel a little like a rut. Morning and evening rituals feel stale; mealtimes with just the two of you seem uninteresting; sex feels more like an obligation. Sometimes it seems easier to just ignore it all than talk about it, because you don’t want to stir things up. The danger in avoidance is that we need stimulation; and if we don’t find our current lives stimulating, we will seek excitement elsewhere, damaging the relationship. So here are a few tips to keep things fresh and exciting.
1. Sit down with your partner and come up with a list of things you could do together that is different from the things you do now. [Instead of watching TV every night, maybe you could play cards or take a bike ride or a walk. Maybe you could cook dinner together or read a book to each other.]
2. Plan a time away, just the two of you. It’s helpful to experience new surroundings together. You could each take part in planning a vacation or a hiking trip or a weekend at the museums downtown.
3. Schedule a certain time each week to have coffee or breakfast together or meet for drinks to discuss what has been going on in your lives or to make the plans you need to make for the next week.
4. Discuss activities that each of you might like to take up together. Hiking? Shooting? Bowling? Painting? Golf? Dance lessons?
5. Talk about your sex life. How’s it working for you? Too much…too little…too routine? What needs to change?
6. Remind your partner why you fell in love in the first place or what you appreciate about him.
7. Touch base mid-day sometimes, just to say, “I love you,” “I’m thinking about you.”
Sometimes we think shaking things up or changing things takes a lot of effort and thought. In reality, it just takes a small little kindness or act to make a huge difference. A little evidence occasionally that you care about your relationship, or a small detour in routine can yield immense benefits in all areas of your relationship. Just because you have to dust your house occasionally doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with it, it just needs attention to sparkle and show that you are proud of it. The same goes for your spouse. He needs to know that he’s a priority; a confirmation that you are happy that you made the decision to be in a relationship with him. You don’t have to take all 7 actions at one time, but keep them up your sleeve to help you maintain the healthy relationship you already have, or to work toward that as your goal. The care you show and the effort you make will come back to you in buckets.
Action Step: While you are having drinks before dinner this evening, give your partner and you each a piece of paper and each of you, write down 5-10 things that you’d like to try doing together; then compare lists and choose something from each to plan.