Marriage is Exciting, At First
Almost everything about your spouse is new when you first get married. That is exciting.
After a few years of marriage the newness and excitement begin to wear off. Romantic feelings tend to decline. The butterflies fly away as we get used to each other.
Is this inevitable? Does romantic love HAVE to decline? Are the butterflies of new love lost forever?
NO, NO, NO!
It is NOT inevitable that romantic emotions fade forever!
The Secret Antidote: Novelty
There is real value in doing new and unusual things together. Social science shows that novelty can arouse romantic emotions.
According to the New York Times article, Reinventing Date Night, researchers assessed the relationship quality of 53 couples before and after a 10 week date assignment.
One group was instructed to spend 90 minutes a week doing pleasant and familiar activities. Another group was to do new and “exciting” things they did not typically to. The couples were assessed after 10 weeks to re-evaluate the quality of their relationships. Their conclusion:
Those who had undertaken the “exciting” date nights showed a significantly greater increase in marital satisfaction than the “pleasant” date night group.
Regularly dating your spouse is important. However, to get the most out of dating you must keep things fresh, new and “exciting”.
A Date in Delhi
Monday was our last day in India. We were not leaving Delhi until that night. We could have just hung out in our hotel but Chrissy and I decided on a spontaneous date to see the city.
One place that I had been wanting to see was the famous Red Fort, built by Shah Jahan. He also built the famous love monument the Taj Mahal.
We took the morning train from our hotel. Oops… morning rush hour! The press of people was stifling. We never imagined so many could cram into a subway train. Unreal! Not our best part of the day.
After departing the train we hired a bicycle rickshaw to take us to the Red Fort. Come to find out it was closed. We were not sure what to do next. Then a gentleman who saw my disappointment approached us and offered a rickshaw tour of Old Delhi. Sounded fun and we were there so we went for it.
Our guide had one arm and spoke English well. He told us all about Old Delhi as he pedaled into the bustling open spice market.
He continued his narrative as he navigated through a number of other street markets: the optical market, the sari market, the book market, and wedding market. We were the only white folks we saw. No tourists, no beggars, just hard working regular Indians.
It was an exhilarating experience to say the least. In spite of the fact that we had been married almost 20 years, you would have thought we were newlyweds.
Inject Novelty into Your Dating
Here are four things to keep in mind as you seek to introduce more novelty into your marriage (none of which require a trip to India!).
1. If you have the option of doing the same old thing or something new, choose the new. I am so glad we did not just hang out in the hotel.
2. Keep each other’s preferences and limitations in mind. Look for what will be fun for both of you. The subway ride was exciting and I loved it. Chrissy did not. If we did it over I would skip that part for her sake.
3. Intentionally change your environment. Go to a place you have never been to. Something about an unusual place arouses emotional alertness. Experiencing this together can draw you closer.
4. Expose yourselves as a couple to others who are different, in person or in stories. We got both on our tour. The stories and the people were so different it was mind boggling. The experience gave Chrissy and me really cool stuff to talk about.
Novelty is a given early in your marriage. The key is to seek new sources of novelty and variety to compensate for becoming familiar with your spouse.
How do you keep things exciting?
Check 75 Micro Date Ideas to Spice up Your Marriage for ideas!