It is easy when you are in a long term relationship, to settle into a routine. You get up each morning to the dinging of an alarm, one of you hops in the shower while the other prepares breakfast, you kiss good bye, and then each evening you make dinner and stay in watching your favorite series on Netflix. On the weekends, you wake up late, you clean the house and you lounge around in your PJs. This is normal. Maybe you go out sometimes on a Friday night with friends for a drink and leave the bar at 10pm to go home and catch the nightly news before you go to sleep. It is comfortable and for all intents and purposes, it works. But what if I told you, that in the long run this could be unhealthy and that a more active relationship will lead to a happier life together?
I in no way intend to criticize relationships that have fallen into comfortable routines. These are totally normal habits. I honestly haven’t ever been in a long term relationship until now, so you may say I have no place to talk about such things. I am simply speaking as an outside observer. My parents are my main example of a long lasting marriage and what has aided in their longevity is an active marriage full of activities and adventures. This is not to say they don’t have some routines, but they keep life interesting and that helps them find excitement in each other after all these years. I hope to model my future marriage like theirs.
I’ve watched friends who are dating for a long time, start to complain of lack of excitement or boredom in their relationship. They state that things have become stale, that they do the same things day in and day out, and they just don’t find the same enjoyment they had in the beginning. Well, I’m here to say that it is very important to switch things up and keep your relationship exciting. Go on adventures, even if it just means visiting the farmers market or taking a weekend getaway. One of the things I value most in a partner is their ability to excite me. Sure, sometimes I would prefer to cuddle up on the couch and watch a TV show or movie at the end of the long work day, but I also crave doing fun activities regularly.
Since I met Ethan, we have gone pumpkin picking, hiking, camping, skiing, snow shoeing, to countless local events, tons of concerts, and just this past weekend we went to a free jazz festival and berry picking. We keep things active and exciting by choosing a new adventure each weekend. This helps to challenge our partnership in a positive way. I learned this lifestyle from my parents. Every time I talk to them, they are off on a different excursion. They go on wine tours, spend summers at the beach, visit museums and craft shows, and go skiing in the winter. My mom just retired and my dad retired three years ago. I’m not so worried about them becoming lazy and unhealthy, because they are full of energy and love adventure. They’ve traveled several times to Europe and gone on countless road trips. They are my inspiration.
Ethan and I plan to spend our first year of marriage traveling around Central and South America. This is scary and exciting all at the same time. We don’t know whether we will rent out the condo and return to find jobs and settle or sell it and just be vagabond travelers for a year with no ties to anything and see where life takes us. This presents such an amazing opportunity for us to grow as people and as a couple. Why give up living at such a young age. So many people have already married and had kids and simply tossed in the towel on life. I get that there is a sense of comfort in knowing exactly what will happen every day for the rest of your life, but that scares me more than taking risks and doing something new each week. The idea of having the same routine until you die, is terrifying. There just has to be more to life.
Even if you just plan fun outings twice a month, you will be grateful for the break from your routine. Try new restaurants. Take dance lessons or cooking lessons. Spice it up in bed. Just break your routine. This could really help you both find excitement and happiness in a relationship that you hope will last a lifetime. Doing the same thing everyday for 50 years will only lead to resentment, boredom, and sometimes divorce. The more memories you build together, the better. Take that risk and you won’t regret it. Even the planning process is exciting for your relationship and can give you something other than work to talk about each day.
Try it! I don’t think you will regret it.