Most of us expect to improve throughout our lives. We work to achieve our peak athletic performance, we read books to improve fluency and brain power, we nearly kill ourselves, always chasing more money in our careers, but after a certain point, we’re pretty content just coasting in our relationships.
In the beginning, you try new things to woo a potential partner. Deborah and I spent dozens of hours combing the beaches of Mexico, forming relationships with local people, taking each other on nights out and secret dates. But years later, how much could we have actually developed if we continued doing the same thing? After a while, even what was so exciting becomes boring, and what was helping us develop as people, has a much less significant effect.
Relationships are fresh and exciting in the beginning, but in the longterm if you fail to grow, fail to shake things up, fail to improve, they become unbearable. Couples are very slowly ripped apart. How can we keep things fresh and exciting?
Shake Things Up With a Surprise
One of the easiest things you can do to chink the chain of monotony is take your partner on a surprise date. But not just to dinner and a movie. Do something you’ve never done before.
Deborah and I are in a constant revolution of A-Z dates. I pick a word that starts with “A,” like art, and design a date around it. Maybe we’ll do a photoshoot somewhere where there’s beautiful grafitti. Then, Deborah will surprise me with a date, designed around a word that starts with “B.” Think of everything you could do that involves a baloon or a blazer.
Take your partner on a day out, but instead of going somwhere you always go, search instagram for #yourcity. For me, that’s #london. Wherever the latest picture was taken, go there. Have an adventure, and when you’re done, do it again with a new picture.
Take a Flight Somewhere
We live in London, and from here, I can buy a flight for tomorrow to France or Norway for £10, Italy for £17, or Spain for £22. I can get a roundtrip bus ticket to Paris for £20. No hotel, sleep on the bus, be back tomorrow! I understand, the same isn’t true in the US or Aus, but you can still get a cheap flight to a new place, or drive somewhere you’ve never been! I’ve always wanted to go to one of these ghost towns. I went to one in California, and I swear I saw something..but that’s a story for another day.
Stay Focused With a Common Goal
One of the best ways to keep focus on your relationship and create partnership, is to come together and work on building or achieving something together.
Build a Business
Easy choice, because Deborah and I work together. As we work together, we create a different type of respect for the other’s abilities, because each better realizes our dependence the other. This is not for everyone, as it does create friciton, but as long as you can manage that friction, your relationship will be better for it.
Create Challenges to Do Together
Deborah and I do 21 or 30-day challenges to help us improve in one way or another. Last month, we were vegetarians, and this month (from yesterday), we are publishing on blog article and one video every day! We keep each other accountable, improve our skills, and grow closer together.
Deborah and I try to use The Couple Journal everyday. It’s a 5-10 minute daily journal we’re developing to bring couples closer together. It helps us outline the day, talk about our goals, put in writing how we intend to connect on a daily basis. But, it also gives us a chance to state why we’re grateful for each other. This helps us recognize the small things each person does, so we 1) don’t take it for granted, 2) never feel like the other person is “doing less,” and 3) helps the other person feel appreciated. We’re giving free beta access to every new subscriber of this blog, so subscribe below if that sounds like something for you!
The key to keeping your longterm relationship fresh and exciting is 1) to try new things together. This chinks the chain of monotony and turns same-old, same-old into something fun and exciting. And, 2) always work to grow as an individual, and as a couple. As an individual, because it helps you be the best person you can for your partner, and as a couple, because it will make stronger the structure around which you base your entire life.