Many marriage experts focus on how to resolve conflict within a relationship — but what about the day-to-day lack of excitement you might be experiencing? Sure, you're grateful you're not constantly at each other's throats; but is there harm in just being bored with each other?
According to a study published in Psychological Science, boredom in your relationship can be lethal. The study says boredom "undermines closeness, which undermines satisfaction."
Researchers took 123 newlywed couples and interviewed at least one member of the relationship, then interviewed them again after seven years of marriage, and then again after 16 years of marriage (those that were still married).
They found that couples experiencing high levels of boredom at the seven-year mark experienced an increased sense of dissatisfaction with their marriage and a decreased sense of closeness with their spouse at the 16-year mark.
What does this mean? Well, if you're bored in your marriage, it's time to shake things up.
In the study, researchers suggest trying out new and exciting things together.Doing so, they say, associates that new excitement and adrenaline directly to the relationship.
Logical enough, right? Marriage, of course, isn't butterflies and rainbows 24/7, but here are nine ideas to help you kickstart your relationship:
1. Do something together neither of you have ever done before
Do you have the guts to try skydiving? Jumping out of a plane 10,000 feet in the air is sure to get that adrenaline pumping. If that sounds like a bit much, try something like hiking.
2. Try a new recipe together a couple times a week
If you share a passion for food, go check out Pinterest for the latest and greatest recipes. If they're not exciting enough for you, try out some crazy foreign foods.
3. Plan a small surprise for each other every week
Keep it simple, but thoughtful. Surprise your spouse when they least expect it.
4. Find a new hobby you both like
Try a new sport, competitive board game, gardening, fishing or a new instrument (you could start a band together! It's never too late). Maybe you both have a hidden knack for woodworking or landscape design. You'll never know until you try.
Exercise releases adrenaline in the body. Exercising together will help associate that adrenaline with your spouse.
7. Plan a date night every week
Take some time away from the kids to just be together. Use that time to try out something new. Get creative with your date ideas!
8. Prank your kids
Create your diabolical plan together and execute it flawlessly. Make sure someone is filming. (Before you prank your kids, ask yourself: Would a bad parent do this prank? If so, don't do it. We want your kids to still love you afterwards.)
9. Put the phone away
You're going to have a hard time having great new experiences with your spouse if you're busy playing Candy Crush on your device. When you're with your spouse, put it away. Talk to them instead. Ask your spouse something you've never asked before. If you need a few ideas, click here or here. Avoid yes/no questions in order to really open up to each other.