“The pleasure which we most rarely experience gives us greatest delight” – Epictetus
Most couples tend to play it safe when it comes to adventure and trying new things. Life is going along ok and you are making it, you’ve found an easy groove in life and love – so why change it? Eventually, if you’re not mindful about the groove you are in, it will become a rut. You can’t cross the sea by staring at the water. Adventure requires that you jump into the experience.
Dopamine in the brain is essential to happiness. As we age we lose dopamine – and it doesn’t regenerate. Our brains are like muscles that need exercise to keep fit, and trying new things does just that. It increases dopamine and heightens our happiness. This week, our prayer for you is that you and your partner try a new adventure. Here’s why…
Try New Things Together
The start of a relationship is exciting. You have a new partner and are experiencing life’s adventures together. Research reveals that novelty wears thin starting at about two years into marriage. When we fast forward in any relationship we usually find a couple who is relatively routine. The same meals, favorite TV shows, same restaurants, and the same conversations. Let’s face it, familiarity is comforting, but it can also be boring. Routine will rarely make the heart race.
When you try something new together, this will evoke feelings of happiness – you become excited, your adrenaline is pumping and your brain is high on dopamine. You feel happy and in love. This can be anything new! Perhaps a date like zip-lining, or a vacation you’ve been dreaming about. It can be as simple as a new restaurant with food you’ve never tried. Or a sporadic unplanned road-trip.
Whatever the case, new and exciting experiences together will reignite loving feelings and tap into the “happy places” in your brain. Simply put, trying new adventures together will make you happy.
Keep Monogamy Hot
Yes, you heard us. Hot monogamy. For married couples keeping the passion alive is a key aspect to happiness. As relationships age, love making can slow down or become routine. There’s a powerful tendency in an enduring marriage to favor the predictable over the unpredictable. Yet without an element of uncertainty, we reduce our sexual anticipation and excitement.
Trying something new together in the bedroom will help increase this anticipation and excitement. You can also plan a getaway, even for a night in a nearby city. Sometimes a location change will spice things up as well.
Make New Friends, Together
Finding and building friendships with other couples is an adventure in itself. Try joining a small group, or attend events with other local couples. Studies show that couples who have committed and shared friendships with other couples are the happiest couples on the planet.
The goal to making new friends together is to be intentional about building your social web of connection with other couples that you can do life together with. People with the highest levels of happiness have irrefutable strong ties to friends, and are committed to sharing time with them.
Buy Experiences – Not Things
Buying experiences rather than products makes people happier. When you think back on a memory of a vacation, you tend to forget the negative (like a cramped plane ride) and remember the most blissful moments (like relaxing on a beach). Experiences tend to get better with age, whereas goods we buy eventually lose their luster over time.
We spend more time overall contemplating our experiences rather than material purchases. And experiences promote one of the most effective happiness-inducing behaviors we have as couples: spending time together.
Thankfully, you don’t need to sail across the ocean to create an epic adventure with your partner. Whenever you try new adventures together, big or small, you’re already on your way to reducing boredom and boosting happiness. Trying new things will help you fall in love again and again.
Looking for more on this topic? Checkout our book Making Happy. And be sure to let us know about your greatest adventure with your partner (or what you hope to do next) in the comments below!
Also, did you know we are now on Instagram? We hope you will follow along our new adventure! You can find us here: @lesandleslie. See you there!