How to Keep a Relationship or Marriage Exciting

Ways to keep a marriage or relationship passionate

Posted Jun 30, 2013

Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor

Many of my readers are single and in the early stages of dating. Many others, however, are in various types of long-term relationships or marriages. As those readers know, falling in love does not stop after becoming "official" or even after saying "I do".

Sometimes, however, as relationships go along, couples can get a bit used to each other (and bored). That loving and passionate "spark" seems to fade. Fortunately, there are ways for partners to re-ignite that passion for each other and keep it going for the long-run. Some ways I have discussed previously include:

  • Remembering to touch lovingly and sexually (here).
  • Keeping up on physical appearances (here).
  • Playing a bit "hard to get" (here).
  • Sharing a fantasy (here).
  • Creating rewarding interactions (here).

Beyond those, the research also offers an additional important item - doing exciting activities together...

Research on Exciting Activities and Attraction

Do partners sharing exciting activities actually make their relationship more exciting? Do those passionate feelings created by shared excitement make a lover more attractive? These questions were explored by Cohen, Waugh, and Place (1989), as they observed actual dating couples entering and exiting a movie theater.

The couples were tracked as they bought tickets and viewed one of two movies - a suspenseful, action and thriller movie, or a documentary. Although there was no difference in affectionate behavior before the films, couples viewing the action movies were observed to talk to each other and touch more affectionately while leaving the theater, compared to those seeing the documentary. Among these established couples, sharing an exciting experience appeared to create more attraction and affection.

A similar conclusion was reached by Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, and Heyman (2000), when they conducted extensive research on dating and married couples. Through widespread newspaper and door-to-door surveying, the researchers found that the relationship quality reported by couples was associated with the number of exciting activities they shared. Couples sharing more stimulating experiences with each other reported higher relationship satisfaction.

A follow-up series of experiments by the team confirmed that participating in exciting activities together actually boosted relationship satisfaction immediately. Couples were asked to take part in either a challenging obstacle course or a more mundane task. Partners assigned to the course reported greater increases in relationship quality. In contrast, those performing the boring tasks sometimes even noted a reduction in their satisfaction level!

What to Do

Clearly, for established couples, sharing exciting activities keeps the romance alive. Therefore, when relationships start to get a bit dull and lackluster, try changing things up with one of the following:

  • Doing something athletic with your partner.
  • Trying an exciting or scary activity as a couple (e.g. roller coasters, carnival rides, bungee jumping, etc.).
  • Watching a thriller or horror movie together.
  • Experiencing something novel or new with your lover (e.g. eat a new food, going to a new place, etc.).
  • Get involved in some sort of couples competition or challenge (e.g. bowling league, cards, touch football, golf, etc.).

Conclusion

One of the reasons why relationships get boring is because couples fall into routines and stop doing exciting things together. However, making the time for a new, novel, or exciting activity - even a brief one - can rub off on how partners feel about each other too. So, build a little excitement into your time together and you might just find the passion for your partner revived as well!

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Until next time...happy dating and relating!

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
The Attraction Doctor

Previous Articles from The Attraction Doctor

References

  • Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couple's shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273-284.
  • Cohen, B., Waugh, G., & Place, K. (1989). At the movies: An unobtrusive study of arousal-attraction. Journal of Social Psychology, 129, 691-693.

© 2013 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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