It's easy to fall into "romantic relationship rut," but no matter how challenging it might seem to avoid boring routines in your relationship, there are definitely ways to keep romance alive. The effort to enhance your relationship is well worth it, too, according to author and psychology professor Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, who states in a "Psychology Today" article that good relationships are beneficial for mental and physical health because they provide people with support systems that make coping with life's stress a little easier.
Of course, you and your partner have the option to stay in for the night -- yet again --eating the same, uneventful microwave dinners, and planning yet another evening of watching DVD rentals. Or, the two of you can get dressed up and hit the town for dinner, movie in a theater or an evening of dancing. Plan something completely different from what the of you would normally do, recommends psychotherapist and author Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. in another"Psychology Today" article. Goldsmith notes that keeping things fresh in a relationship releases the chemical oxytocin in the brain, which encourages feelings of excitement that are similar to emotions felt in a budding relationship.
An adventurous weekend with your partner is sure to rev up your relationship's engine, and give the two of you a chance to create new memories. If you and your mate appreciate the outdoors, take a trip up to the mountains where you can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and plenty of other activities. In addition to the extra bonding time that a good camping trip encourages, spending time outdoors also offers mental and physical health benefits, including more involvement in physical activity, a rise in vitamin D levels -- which helps combat depression, heart attacks and cancer -- and increased happiness, according to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications website.
Physical and Emotional Intimacy
One of the quickest routes to relationship boredom is through a lack of physical and emotional intimacy. On his website "The Psychology Lounge," clinical psychologist Dr. Andrew Gottlieb writes that that infrequent or nonexistent sex is often a concern in couple's therapy. There are numerous contributing factors to a lack of physical intimacy in relationships, he continues, including anger and resentment, mediocre or boring sexual activities and a failure to make sex a priority. Keep the fire lit in your sexual life by resolving conflicts in a healthy manner while letting go of resentments, experimenting with various sexual practices -- including different sexual positions, games and sexual toys -- and by making sex a priority. Regarding emotional intimacy, Goldsmith says communication builds emotional intimacy, so it's essential that couples are open and vulnerable with each other, that they communicate often and engage in active listening to ensure they fully understand their partner's emotional needs.
Perhaps it's challenging to be spontaneous with hectic work schedules and busy lives, but it's helpful for you and your partner to live more in the moment in order to ward off relationship boredom. One evening, when you notice your partner starting to warm up a microwave dinner and reach for the DVDs, suggest the two of you take a walk in your neighborhood or drive down the highway. Licensed professional counselor Douglas K. Lormand, on his professional website, "Satisfying Relationships," notes that many couples fail to make time for spontaneity in their relationships, and suggests this may be a contributing factor to rising divorce rates. Add spontaneity to you and your partner's outings, dinner options and sexual activities. This keeps the fire lit in your romance, and strengthens your relationship.
- Psych Central: 15 Ideas for Keeping Romance Alive Year-Round
- Psychology Today: Keeping Those Romantic Bonds Alive
- Harvard Health Publications: Spending time Outdoors is Good for You, from the Harvard Health Letter
- The Psychology Lounge: "Not Tonight Dear:" Why Couples Stop Having Sex (and What You Can Do About it)
- Psychology Today: The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment
- SatisfyingRelationships.com: Satisfying Relationships
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