This blog post is used courtesy of Prepare-Enrich. You can read the original post here.
We’ve heard it before. Relationships can, and will (if we let them), fall in a rut. We know they take energy, we know they take effort, we’ve heard this all before. Amongst the extensive amount of stale relationship advice we’ve heard time and time again, this one stands out as most over-used.
But what if we told you that putting in the effort in a new and exciting way can actually make you a happier couple? Instead of dreading the rut, or putting off the effort, you can try new and fun things together to actually create a healthier relationship. It’s work, but it’s fun work.
Studies show that the more you try stimulating activities with your partner, the more satisfied you are in your relationship. This means couples who go outside the comfort zone of their typical date night, like the same restaurant every Friday, and try something new – something that both partners are excited about, are happier in their relationship.
Why is this? When experiencing something new, the brain releases two different chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals are the same chemicals that are released during the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, when dates are new and exhilarating.
Think movie date night: do you and your partner always watch a comedy movie on date night? What do you think would happen if you watched a scary movie instead? Imagine the thrill of the suspenseful music, your hearts beating at twice the speed, small gasps here and there followed by a long scream that neither of you know whose mouth it came from. This new, shared experience recreates the feeling of when you were first dating. Butterflies fluttering in your stomach, your heart skipping a beat, and seeking comfort in one another. These feelings can be recreated in many different ways, which is why it’s important to try new things with one another. It’ll keep the spark alive.
It’s time you and your partner invest in your relationship. It’s time to have some fun. Try something new this weekend. Not sure where to start? Take this quiz to spark some innovative date night ideas. Or check out this blog for a list of unique ideas.
Want even more great advice like this? Attend one of our free workshops for couples! You can find upcoming workshops here.
This November my wife and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary. I began to think through our time together, the great times, the average times, and believe it or not, the hard times. The most difficult time for me in our marriage was 6 months after we had our first child.
Having a child drastically changes the dynamics of a marriage. I soon began to realize, the undivided attention I once received from my spouse, was now divided between our child, the business that entailed, and myself. After 6 months of this change, I felt like I was at the bottom of the list. Supposedly my responsibility was to go to work, pay the bills, help out when I was home, and repeat the cycle. I began to ask myself a series of questions: Is this just how it has to be? Is this why people grow apart? Have we grown apart? Do I just need to learn to be happy doing my own thing?
After some time struggling with these questions, I can tell you the answer is ‘no.’ You can still have a great, strong marriage while raising kids. The key is, I have found, to be intentional in keeping quality time with your spouse.
How can you be intentional?
Build quality time into your daily routine. One of the greatest things we did for our family was to solidify a routine. For the most part, we wake up the same time, eat at the same times, and go to sleep at the same times every day. That routine allows us to have quality time together daily. For us it is every evening from 9-10pm after our children are in bed. For you that may be a different time, the import thing is to have it somewhere in your routine.
Keep weekly date nights with your spouse. It’s somewhat strange that our culture has a practice of ending dating after marriage. You will never know your spouse completely. Part of the excitement of marriage is in pursuing your spouse and knowing he or she on a progressively deeper level.
Remove distractions. I am guessing as you read the first two tips on being intentional, something inside of you said, “Yeah right, who has time for that?” I would have to say that most people have that reaction, but I would propose it is largely a priority problem. How can I say that? Statistics show the average person spends just over 5 hours per day watching TV. Combine that with time on the phone or tablet and you begin to see the picture of why most people are too busy. The key to quality time is to remove these distractions. Shut off the TV, put your phone and tablet away, spend some time with the one you married.
Quality time is so crucial to the health of your marriage and your family. Wherever you are at in your marriage journey--good times or hard--I would encourage you to find and incorporate more quality time together. I think you will find the time investment is well worth it.
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