Back when you and your spouse were dating, things were exciting. You couldn’t wait to see each other and you got butterflies whenever you’d think of getting together. But over the years, things changed. You still love each other, but that spark isn’t as strong now. It’d be nice to have that spark again, but you just don’t know what happened.
One of the things that commonly happens in marriages is that couples lose some of the mystery in their relationships. Think of it this way. When you and your spouse were dating, you had different interests. Your spouse liked a different kind of music than you did. They had different friends, and they had different hobbies too. This is what excited you about them. They were mysterious. They were new and fascinating.
In order to keep the spark alive in your relationship, you have to keep the mystery alive too. Here are some ways you can keep the mystery alive and create a deeper, healthier relationship.
1) Embrace change. It’s a common misconception that your spouse shouldn’t change once you get married. The truth is, they should change. And so should you. After all, you don’t want to be 50 and still act like you’re 20. As you grow older, you have new experiences, and these new experiences give you a new outlook on life. You may find yourself liking different hobbies or trying out a new career you never thought of before.
Instead of fighting change, embrace it. As you explore different things, you’re making yourself interesting and exciting. You’re creating a mystery about you that challenges your partner to fall in love with you every new day, and you’re giving your partner someone new to fall in love with every day.
2) Give yourself and your spouse space. Once you get married, there’s a common belief that you and your spouse should do everything together. When kids come along, that belief usually becomes even stronger. But the truth is, spouses need to have time and space to themselves to be themselves.
If you’re doing everything together, there’s not a lot of excitement or mystery there because you know everything about each other. Not to mention, if you do everything together, you run the risk of one (or both) of you feeling suffocated.
3) Take risks. As humans, we love predictability. That’s partly why we form habits. But doing the same old thing day after day in a marriage is a recipe for boredom. Instead of doing the same old predictable routine day after day, go ahead and try new things. Take some risks and do some things you’ve never done before. Try that new restaurant downtown. Try new things in the bedroom. Buy that Groupon for the zip-lining adventure. You may not actually like what you try, but at least you’ll have created a fun new story together.
It’s true that marriages are supposed to be comfortable, but they’re also supposed to be exciting. One way to make them exciting is to create mystery, and these are great things that will not only encourage mystery but create a better and more exciting relationship too.
(Aaron Anderson is a therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert.)