Shake It Up: Venturing Outside of Your Comfort Zone

by Kerry Hart, LLMFT

Relationships require effort to nurture the bond between partners. When you first met your significant other, you spent a lot of time getting to know each other. Once a relationship finds its stride over time, that extra effort is not always made and a couple can easily find themselves in a bit of a rut. Seize the opportunity to abandon your routine, step out of your comfort zone and reconnect with your partner!

Just the Ticket

Buy tickets to something exciting. A concert, vacation or an amusement park offers a perfect opportunity to get out and spend some one-on-one time together. You may be surprised by what you learn about your long-term partner when you’re in a new environment! The experience of trying something different together will reignite your connection. When neither of you is the expert, you have to depend on each other to get through a new experience; relying on your partner and feeling them rely on you will strengthen your bond in a refreshing way.

Work It Out

Try exercising together. Join a new gym (preferably one with childcare) or get in touch with your inner fourth-grader and take part in a dodgeball team. If you are into CrossFit or spinning, having your partner there to cheer you on will make you feel more supported and connected. Studies show that getting your heart rate up together can increase romantic feelings. Sex tends to have the same effect on people, so why not find more than one way to connect physically? If you aren’t used to getting your sweat on with your partner, this is a fun way to mix things up.

“Love is meant to be an adventure.” –Gordon B. Hinckley

Write It Out

Kick it old school and write notes to each other. The notes can be romantic or even goofy — either way, it will bring a deep dimension to your relationship. Exchanging written notes conveys affection that might be lost in a text message or email. A study on letter writing conducted at Kent State University found that people are better able to convey emotion through the written word than through verbal communication. Surprising your partner with a letter sent through the mail or a note in their lunch is just the kind of romantic gesture to re-spark your relationship.

Get Cooking

If ordering out is getting old or eating the same child-approved food is driving you nuts, try something new for your daily meals. Skip the, “What do you want for dinner?” debate and start thinking of your meals in advance. Purchase a new cookbook and make your way through it with your partner. Studies have shown that couples who share household duties stay together for the long term. Take the everyday routine of cooking as an opportunity to bond, make memories and learn new skills together.

Step Outside

Studies have shown that people who spend time outside have a better chance of warding off depression and negative feelings. Getting outdoors will lift your spirits, and basking in nature with your partner will bring you closer together while you enjoy what the earth has to offer. Go to the beach to lie in the sand, stroll along the shore and absorb some much-needed vitamin D, spend an afternoon exploring the zoo or simply take a relaxing, post-dinner walk together in the twilight of early evening.

Kerry Hart, LLMFT

Kerry Hart, LLMFT is a couple and family therapist in private practice. She is located in both East Lansing and Grand Rapids.



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