Do you remember when you were younger, when you couldn’t wait to get through the school day, get home and play, watch a movie, or chat with your best friend? Those times where you feel like you need to recharge after a long day of school, work or lectures? As we get older, we tend to forget the value and benefits of play – and we are not talking about video games, here- we’re talking about endorphin filled activities. Painting, singing, dancing, team sports, and the like.
“Research has shown that engaging in novel experiences as a couple activates the brain’s reward system, which can produce favorable benefits for couples… couples who go on “exciting” and novel date nights, or engage in fun and challenging activities, have higher relationship satisfaction. Such novel experiences release dopamine and norepinephrine, the same chemicals which are released during early romantic courtship. (Eaton, 2017)”.
As we are bogged down with the mundane 8 to5 workday chalked full of professionalism, forced smiles, and routine chatter, we are drained by the time we get home. For those in relationships, we set forth another routine of taking care of the home, children, and running down lists of to-dos for the week. We eat dinner, watch an episode or two of your latest Netflix binge and get yourselves to bed at a decent hour to start the day all over again.
It’s easy for relationships to get dry, and monotonous because we do not usually pursue the playful things in life. We may continuously focus on the responsibilities, or the acceptable “adult” way of acting. Most of us rarely tap into the playfulness we had as children or during the early parts of our lives, or the ‘honeymoon’ phase of the relationship. Being an adult couple doesn’t mean you have to neglect that element of fun and friendship.
Letting go of adult inhibitions every once in a while is important, like feeling free to dance or move to a tune that’s playing. Don’t hold back the karaoke session by singing along with your favorite song when it plays on the radio while driving your kids to school or to practice. Let go. Be playful. Not only with yourself or by yourself, but with your partner. Even if you are not the traditional ‘goofy’ couple and have always been more on the reserved side, there are always activities or actions that you consider playful.
Take note of new things you’ve always wanted to try, or things you used to do together in the beginning of your relationship– take a dance class together, challenge each other on pop culture quizzes, watch your favorite local band and sing along to a familiar song or two. Seek the playfulness in each other and watch the playfulness open you up to flirting again. It will trigger a spark of excitement and fun that will recharge the positive energy in what you may feel is a stagnant relationship.
Make those activities happen by scheduling date nights with different themes. Secure those sitters, book those reservations and lessons and get ready to enhance your love life a few notches!
1. Eaton, H. (2017, December 19). Choose a Partner You Can Be Playful With. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.gottman.com/blog/choose-partner-can-playful/