One of my best friends just messaged me this morning from Toronto. She went out with her 1 year old to go visit her husband who is currently working out there on a project. In her message to me this morning she expressed all these things that were making her feel so happy, even something as simple as her morning coffee spent on the couch while her 1 year old crawled around. Coffee on the couch is something she has done many times before (however, with 2 kids, there often isn’t a lot of time spent sitting and enjoying a morning coffee), but because it was in a different place, on a different couch, it felt even more enjoyable. She also spoke of how connected it made her feel to her husband, not just because they hadn’t seen each other in a little while, but also because they got to spend time together where their To-Do lists weren’t always front and center and life’s responsibilities weren’t hitting them in the face. It reminded me about the role that novelty plays in our personal and relationship happiness.
Changing up your everyday by doing new things has proven to strengthen relationship satisfaction and reignite that spark that got you two together in the first place. These don’t always have to be about taking a trip, however if you can afford it I genuinely believe it is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. It can also be about tackling a project together, or learning a new hobby that you can do with each other. Our brains crave new experiences and it requires our minds to form new neural pathways that are based on a positive, exciting experience.
This makes sense when you think of it. When you and your partner first met, you could spend hours connecting about anything, you were both fascinated by each other and everything about the other seemed like the greatest thing ever. When we are in the honeymoon stage of a relationship, everything is new and amazing, and all those little habits or tendencies that now can drive us crazy, we either don’t see or find them “adorable” in the moment. The reason is because it is a whole new experience on pretty much all fronts. Because relationships cause us to feel, we have a strong swing in our emotions. The physicality of relationships causes our hormones to surge which makes us feel high on love and require less sleep while still having more energy. Overall, this new connection and experience makes us feel like life is fantastic and we feel more confident and optimistic about the future and the person we are connecting with.
While I wish we could bottle up the honeymoon period and turn it into a pill to take whenever we need a relationship pick me up, we can’t. But we can continue to add in new experiences that will have a similar impact and make us feel that spark again. Making the effort can feel tedious to begin with, but once you get into it, the experience will be one that benefits you in both the short and long run. So look at your life and ask yourself, is there any way you can make the effort to enjoy a cup of coffee on a different couch with your partner? Your relationship will thank you for it, I promise.