Relationship Spice

Posted on August 5, 2010


I don’t know how things run at your house, but ours is run like a well-oiled machine. A high functioning, very effective, multi-taking machine. It’s so organized and predictable that we are able to have successful careers and personal lives and a plethora of hobbies. And all this order can be boring as hell.

Relationships need excitement.

Although routines enable us to have diversified lives, they don’t necessarily encourage new adventures. It’s one of those weird paradoxes. We get married so that we can be with the person we love and establish a solid and stable future. We set up routines so that we can meet the demands of our lives (and those of our children) effectively. Yet if we don’t spice things up, if we don’t allow for some spontaneity, we’ll get bored and unhappy.

When I talk with clients who are married or in  long-term relationships, I ask about how they maintain couple-happiness. I hear things about planned date nights and vacations, favorite restaurants and anniversary celebrations. It’s nice to have those kind of rituals to look forward to. But eventually, these will just become a part of the expected backdrop of your existence together. They’ll become just another routine where you feel obligated to show up and you aren’t fully present.

The best relationships are the ones where people understand, and actively cultivate, a sense of adventure together. Something with spice will get your adrenaline pumping. It will push you out of that comfortable box. It will challenge and stretch you.

If you want to create a great relationship, try something completely new and fun that intimidates the both of you. Something that makes you a little nervous to even think about trying. An activity that gets the lizard all flustered and jumping around with reasons why you can’t and why you shouldn’t. That will be the thing you both need to do.

I know a couple that travels the world and does all kind of exciting things-bungee jumping, jungle-exploring, mountain climbing. My husband and I just don’t have the time (or the moxie) to live like that. For us, an adventurous thing is taking a dance class. Or going ice skating.

Every couple is different and has a different perception of adventure so don’t compare yourselves to the Jones’s. What you need to spice things up and what they need may not be the same thing. (Case in point: The continent-hopping couple who seem to have no fear is terrified to do the 10 day meditation retreat my husband and I do.)

Try something new. Participate in something where you’re unsure of the outcome. Be uncomfortable and anxious and a little bit excited at the same time. That’s how you felt at the beginning of your relationship. Remember? And that’s what will keep you coming back to love.