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Relationship Fatigue? Try Something New

Couples who do new things together build "the cuddle hormone" oxytocin.

The other day, I casually mentioned to my wife that the annual county fair is on for the next week or so. She had never been to one before, and it had been ages for me. I was only a little surprised that she not only took me up on the offer but wanted to go right then and there. I thought, why not? After all, it’s well known that couples who do new things together build stronger bonds and closeness, and this little adventure fit that bill, so off we went.

The Ventura County Fair has a lot to offer, but perhaps the best component is that it brings families together. I couldn’t count the number of strollers and little kids, there were so many. Nice people out together having a nice day. No harshness to be had at all. Everyone seemed to be of the same mind, to enjoy our lives.

My wife and I especially loved the pig races (and I had a hot tip on Strawberry). It’s corny but fun, and my wife couldn’t stop smiling—kind of like a little kid—and I so enjoyed that.

The more you can smile together, the better your interactions will be. It’s all about having fun with each other and making fond memories. We watched the video of the pig races that night and got to laugh together again.

This was a very diverse crowd, and even though the blues and the reds had booths in the same hall, everyone got along. Personal safety awareness has been heightened at most public events these days, and indeed there was a heavy police presence. Fortunately, nothing even remotely scary happened. The bummer is that now it’s in all of our heads so much of the time.

It’s sad that our world has become this way. I doubt that it can ever go back to being how it was. We have no choice but to accept the new normal and move forward. Families will still go to county fairs, and people will go on with their lives while being ever more watchful. My only hope is that some good comes out of all of this, although I’m not sure what that would be.

With families being ripped apart before our very eyes, it’s natural to hold fast to your own. Maybe that was part of the closeness I noticed at the fair—people wanting to bond and cherish the joyful moments. Even under the threat of domestic and foreign terrorism, we will continue to do all we can to make our lives what they deserve to be. Having that united goal will help keep us focused on the right things.

There is still a lot out there for us all to experience, and that knowledge gives us so much to look forward to. Creating new adventures for your other half and your family is a tried-and-true way to build the positive energy in your relationships. You also get to make memories and probably have some wonderful stories to tell to your great grandchildren.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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