It’s a goal for every couple to be happy in their marriage. This often means overcoming hiccups, forgiving past grievances, letting go of each others’ little annoyances, and even doing things for the other that you don’t really want to do (like redecorating the house for her or going to football games with him). Doing these things are great and are essential in creating a happy marriage, but after so long of working just to keep the peace with each other and doing things to avoid conflict, couples often discover that they wish their relationship had more flavor. They wish it was more exciting, more vibrant, more passionate, etc. This doesn’t mean that they’re not in love with their spouse or that they’re not happy in their relationship. They just wish their relationship had more excitement, more variety and more…well, flavor. So below are some tips that will help you to create more flavor in your relationship.
• Don’t just focus on how to keep from irritating your spouse, focus on how to excite your spouse. It’s natural to not want to annoy your spouse but if all you focus on is not stepping on their toes then you ‘re losing focus on more fun things like thinking of ways to excite or surprise your spouse. For example, next time you get an invitation to go out with your friends don’t just think about how you’re going to tell your spouse in a way that won’t annoy them or get you in trouble. Instead, think of a way you can turn it into an opportunity to surprise or excite your spouse.
• Add variety. Humans are creatures of habit. After years of marriage you probably have a favorite TV show you watch together, a favorite restaurant you both like going to, a usual night of the week you go out on and a regular babysitter who you call. But in all this routine, you lose a lot of flavor your relationship. Part of having an exciting relationship is to experience novel things together. This way you are always getting to know each other in new ways – like seeing your spouse wince when they try a new food they don’t like or when they buy you a new kind of CD to listen to. These novel experiences create freshness and variety in an otherwise routine relationship.
• Spice up the bedroom. As mentioned before, humans are creatures of habit. After years of marriage many couples come to a routine in the bedroom, too. They find themselves having sex in the same position, at the same time (e.g. after the kids go to bed), and in the same place (e.g. the bedroom). Breaking habits in the bedroom and trying new things creates spontaneity, allows you and your spouse to connect in new ways and forces you to communicate about an area of your relationship that creates passion and bonding. So next time you’re both feeling in the mood don’t just wait until the kids are in bed. Any place or time with some privacy will do. Besides, finding a new places and times might require you to get creative about new positions, too.
• Talk about each others’ emotional needs. After living with someone so long you learn to discuss practical needs very well (e.g. need more milk, or need new socks, etc) but have you ever stopped to ask what their emotional needs are? Every person has the same fundamental emotional needs: the need to feel safe, the need to feel appreciated, and the need to feel important to name a couple. You two may be doing well at talking about your practical needs but how well do you do at talking about your emotional needs? To open up to each other and talk about whether you feel important enough or safe enough, etc., that creates a new flavor in your relationship that creates connection vibrancy.
These are just a few suggestions of things you can do to create more flavor in your relationship. But don’t limit yourself to just these. Make an effort to identify the routines in your relationship and come up with ideas together about how to change them in ways that are new, exciting and fun for both of you. Just like ice cream, there’s lots of different flavors you can try and while some may not exactly be your cup of tea, you may be surprised which flavors you actually like.