Passion in Marriage: Variety is the spice of life
Why you should try something different with your spouse/partner.
The exciting passion that is inherent to many new relationships usually becomes sidelined by the familiar and routine as the marriage/relationship ages. This is natural. If the sexual terrain of your relationship feels too predictable (and a relationship rut has set in), try changing the routines that have led to stagnation. You and your partner might find it exciting to periodically
replace the familiar with something new, such as changing the location where sex typically occurs or educating yourselves about new sexual activities/positions (The New Joy of Sex is an excellent book to help couples explore different sexual activities).
Research shows that when you engage in novel activities, the pleasure centers of your brain become more active and lead to a range of positive feelings, greater focus and increased motivation. In fact, new and exciting experiences cause your brain to release
the same neurotransmitters that were responsible for the heady euphoria you experienced when you first fell in love! So when you and your partner create new and varied experiences (sexually or otherwise), an orbit of positive feelings surround your
It’s a simple fact: You strengthen your marriage/relationship when you and your spouse/partner create and share opportunities that elicit positive feelings, including an increase in sensuality and passion.
The Try Something Different Action Plan:
Again, this doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual. The positive effects come from creating a shared and novel experience together. This is why couples seem to fall in love all over again when they go on vacation. The novelty of the experience creates a
sharing of positive feelings that reframes the way couples see each other—the old power struggles and lingering issues seem less important when new, positive experiences are created.
Brainstorm a list of new activities you’d like to try with each other (each of you should
try to come up with at least 5 items):
Your List Your Partner’s List
After completing your respective lists, you should swap lists. From your partner’s list, circle the items that you are open to trying with him/her (after circling your items, prioritize each choice by writing a letter next to the item. Letter “A” would be your first choice, “B” your second, “C” your third, and so on).
This next step is very important: take your list back.
Now it’s your responsibility to schedule the activity your partner circled, starting with her/his top priority. You can rotate going back and forth from each other’s lists (after you complete your partner’s “A” on your list, you move to completing your “A” on his/her list, and so on).
Depending on your preference and lifestyle, you may want to try something from each other’s list once a week, twice a month or monthly. Find a pace that works for the both of you.
The most meaningful part to this exercise is following through on each other’s lists.
Some couples fail at this point—they lack the follow-through needed to experiment with these new experiences. Note any resistances that might arise and address them right away. And really put effort into the follow-through. Sometimes just starting is
half the battle. Many couples I’ve worked with have said that once they actually began, they found this exercise immensely enjoyable and rewarding, and wondered what they were ever resisting!
Passion and Sexual Intimacy Resource
Many couples in long-term marriages/relationships struggle to keep passion and intimacy alive and central to their relationship. As a psychologist and couples counselor for almost twenty-years, I’ve seen this struggle play out over and over again.
To help give couples the information and tools needed, I’ve created a comprehensive, easy-to-use Passion, Sex and Intimacy ebook.
Here’s to increasing passion and intimacy in your relationship!
Dr. Rich Nicastro