Surprise! Spice Up Your Relationship Routine
Once upon my travels in Chile, I heard a man tell an allegory about marriage. In this story all the emotions sat together conspiring about how they could destroy a marriage.
They decided to prove themselves by choosing a young couple and seeing which of the emotions could split them up. First, Anger tried to get them to fight, and yet they always seemed to make up. Then Stress came, confident that he would be the key to this couples down fall, and yet they stayed firm in their commitment. Pride, Jealousy and countless others tried their best and yet their love still remained with this stalwart couple over the years.
Finally, a new comer joined the emotion’s plight to destroy the marriage. Within a month the couple had drifted apart and had fallen out of love. Everyone surrounded the newcomer in amazement asking him his name. This newcomer responded with an unamused smile, “My name is Routine.”
Doing something different every day is an important principle that leads to a happier life and stronger marriage. Mixing it up with your spouse is the key to throwing off the shackles of routine and putting spice back in the relationship.
This is especially important for couples who have been married for over two years. According to a New York Times article, this is when the “honeymoon stage” evolves to a more companionship love, which to many feels like a let down. The reason for this being: as humans we are hard wired to crave variety and it is usually after two years of marriage that routine kicks into full swing.
Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote, “In a classic experiment conducted by Arthur Aron and his colleagues, researchers gave upper-middle-class middle-aged couples a list of activities that both parties agreed were ‘pleasant’ (like visiting friends or seeing a movie) or ‘exciting’ (skiing, dancing or attending concerts) but that they had enjoyed only infrequently. Researchers instructed each couple to select one of these activities each week and spend 90 minutes doing it together. At the end of 10 weeks, the couples who engaged in the ‘exciting’ activities reported greater satisfaction in their marriage than those who engaged in ‘pleasant’ or enjoyable activities together.”
I know in my own personal relationship it’s the times Jacob surprises me that I feel the most loved. Some examples of surprises thus far have been an unexpected campfire on a weekday, sushi making class(Jacob hates Sushi so this really was a surprise), cooking pizza before I came home from work, concert tickets to Muse, new leather boots, a huge kiss at the door and much much more.
These surprises don’t have to be big or expensive, they just need to be something different and uncharacteristic. This may require some creative thinking, but will be well worth the time in the end. So make the commitment to your marriage and try something new with your spouse.
If you have any cute stories of when your spouse surprised you or you surprised your spouse feel free to post them below. We would love to learn from your experiences.