Relationships are like corn mazes: They’re fun at first, but if you don’t take the right steps, you could end up feeling lost and sad. Ironically, good preparation and teamwork can help you with both.
Sometimes it might feel like the old spark has disappeared and your significant other doesn’t seem as significant as before because he no longer triggers wonderful intense emotions just by walking in the room. To change that all too common trajectory, you must first change the way you think about long-lasting, satisfying relationships. Happy couples don’t just happen, they are made. So, if you think of a great relationship as something that you learn and get better at through practice and perseverance (just like corn mazes), you are one step closer to becoming part of a happy couple.
With that, here are 7 ways happy couples keep their relationship fun.
Go to bed together
Dr. Mark Goulsten puts this piece of advice at the top of his list for good reason. If you crawl into the sack at the same time a few nights a week, things probably won’t stay “un-fun” for long.
In addition to synchronizing your bedtimes, designate the bedroom a fight-free, techno-free zone. Reserve that space for relaxing, lovemaking, and sleeping – no arguing or tweeting allowed.
Perform random acts of kindness
Another way happy couples keep things fun is with frequent gestures that say “I love you.” Research indicates that lots of simple gestures go farther than the occasional grandiose gesture. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer regular compliments and support each other often. For example:
- Has he been working overtime lately? Get up early to make the coffee.
- Is her car buried in snow on a cold morning? Get it drive-ready for her.
- Actions speak volumes, but don’t forget to say the actual words, too!
Try new things
They say all’s fair in love and war. Know what else love and war have in common? The element of surprise is highly effective in both pursuits.
Novelty begets surprise and both trigger the release of lots of feel-good hormones. Thus, by putting yourselves in new situations, you’re begging for opportunities to have fun together. Here are a few ideas to that end:
- Go on a date somewhere neither of you have been before.
- Do something out of your comfort zone. When you feel like you just survived something crazy together, you’ll bond over that experience. (Skydiving, anyone?)
- Switch your roles on occasion. If one partner usually does the cooking, maintenance, or gardening, change things up and see what happens.
Schedule quality time
It’s easy for couples to spend their spare time on things like watching TV, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But if your together time leans too heavily on activities filled with interruptions, your relationship can suffer – even if you’re sitting right next to each other.
Consider activities that allow for quality time, like exercising, going for a walk, or just sitting without distraction. You might have to make a point of scheduling these activities, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Practice creative communication
Happy couples are good at talking to each other. One way they keep it fun is by communicating in creative ways:
- Slip your partner a real, hand-written love letter.
- Send a care package to her workplace.
- Sit down for a Skype session with each other – even if it’s just in different rooms of the same house. (How silly would that be?)
Pretend you’re meeting for the first time
Okay, this one might sound goofy, but remember the thrills of that first attraction? The flirting, the awkwardness? Why not try to recapture that?
In addition to being exciting, it’s a great way to learn something new about your partner. You never know what might come up if you revisit those original feelings!
Reserve time for yourself
Finally, make sure “me” time stays in the picture. Pursue your own hobby, take a continuing education class – anything that keeps your individuality alive. Don’t lose your uniqueness, because that’s one of the things that makes you attractive.
Besides, most people need at least a little bit of time alone. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so after some time on your own, you’ll be ready to come back and have a fun relationship with your partner.
And you’ll be one of the happy couples people look to for inspiration!