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Let’s face it; we are creatures of habit. When you’re in a long-term relationship it’s easy to fall into the familiar and comfortable which can ultimately lead to a relationship rut.
Being spontaneous in your relationship is one of the most exciting things in the beginning, but gone are the days of last-minute road trips, spontaneous sex, or nights out on the town. Because most of our lives are consumed by work and life shit – sometimes it’s easier to just plop down on the couch and scroll through social media, watch a video on YouTube, or binge the latest on Netflix.
But what is this doing to our relationships?
If you don’t make time to nurture your relationship, it will slowly degrade over time. You and your spouse will start to drift apart and it will happen so slowly, you won’t even realize it until it’s too late.
So, how do you keep the excitement in your relationship? Be spontaneous and make your relationship a priority.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you were spontaneous in your relationship and did something fun with your partner?
It may sound like an oxymoron, but you can plan for spontaneity.
Making Extra Time For Your Relationship
The truth is that extra time does not come easy for most people. At the beginning of the relationship, it’s easier to make time because it’s new and exciting. You’re more willing to mix up your schedules and re-prioritize your lives a bit to make room for the new relationship.
But, even after a few short years people naturally fall into routines and habits. Sure these routines are modified a little bit since they are now within the confines of an engagement or marriage, but they are routines nonetheless.
Why Even New Relationships Can Fall into Bad Habits
Since this whole blog is directed primarily at those who have recently become engaged or married, why would keeping the spontaneity in a relationship even be relevant? It’s still new, people are generally happy during this time period.
I mean, it’s not the same as a 15-20 year marriage, right?
Well, it is different for sure when everything is still relatively new, but that doesn’t mean you’re at any less of a risk for falling into a rut. And because you’re now living together and see each other every day, you may inadvertently start taking your time together for granted.
It is more likely that people complaining about a lack of spontaneity and wanting more time with their significant other have been in a longer relationship, but it’s highly unlikely that this issue came out of the blue. This may be a build up as a result of habits and routines that have been taking place for years – maybe even back to the first few years of their relationship.
Avoiding Monotony In Your Relationship
The best way to solve issues relating to spontaneity and spending more quality time with your significant other is to be proactive and attempt to curb behavior that might lead to these issues in the first place. Don’t wait for issues to present themselves and then try to fix them. With some insight and understanding on both people’s parts, issues can be solved without them having ever happened.
So, how can we be proactive when it comes to spontaneity and spending more quality time with our significant others?
The answer is planning. Yeah, I know. It sounds a little contradictory, but since spontaneity can be difficult to achieve with our busy lives, changing our behavior to allow more time for our significant others will require a bit of time and planning.
How to Be More Spontaneous
The goal is really a mental exercise more than anything, as we may need to be constantly reminding ourselves (at least in the beginning) that we need to start thinking differently when it comes to how we budget our time. We’re re-training (in a way) the way we operate within that relationship, balancing it with our work and personal time.
We have a lot to do, and routines and habits are a nice way of categorizing our tasks and essentially putting them on autopilot, so we can put more of our focus on new and exciting things in our lives – the things that break the mold of our routines. What if being spontaneous with our significant others is that exciting new thing? Even if we’re just doing it once a week, to begin with.
Also, make a conscious effort to tap into the things you want to do with your partner. These are probably things we put off because we think there is something more responsible or more “important” we could be doing instead.
Communicating Your Needs to Your Partner
Robert Taibbi, a licensed clinical social worker and author of 11 books and over 300 journal articles on various topics in counseling and therapy, writes, “Spontaneity resides not in this heady stuff but in our gut – the wants and not-wants, the likes and not likes. You want to become more aware of these feelings, however quiet they may be, in order to learn to tune into them, increase their power, rely on them as a source of information about you and your needs.”
Once you figure out what it is you need, tell your partner. Communication is paramount to a successful marriage. More than just saying hey this is important, tell them the reason why. It might be as simple as it makes you happy to do that activity together. Maybe it makes you feel a certain way or gives you comfort. Whatever the reason is, express this to your partner. Take the extra initiative and ask your partner what activities they’ve been wanting to do with you as well.
The overall goal is for us to become more conscious of the time we spend with our partners. We need to realize that relationships (like most everything else in life) do need work and effort. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. Saying you need to work on your relationship doesn’t mean that it’s bad or broken. It means that your relationship is important to you, and you want to work on it to keep it strong.
Action Step: Plan for Spontaneity
Sit down with your partner and pick a day of the week when the two of you can do something spontaneous. If you want, you can even pick a specific time of the day or a window of time for that day – if you have scheduling issues. Agree that you both are responsible for coming up with an idea for an activity to do together for that day, but DON’T tell each other what you’re planning. Keep it a surprise until the moment arrives.
After you complete the activity, talk to each other about how it made an impact on you. Be 100% honest with each other, make note of both your positive and negative feedback. If there’s room for improvement, talk about what can you can both do better next time. Maybe one of you seemed distracted by something else or picked up their phone too many times and it made the other uncomfortable. Maybe it didn’t feel like you actually spent time together for some reason. Whatever it is, make sure you both speak up.
Need some date night inspiration? Check out our 100 Cheap Date Night IDeas.
Tips for the Spontaneous Challenge
Be open-minded about your partner’s ideas. Don’t shut it down right away even if you don’t want to do it. Explain why you don’t want to do it and possibly offer an alternative way to do that activity. At the same time, if it’s hard to do time-wise or logistically, be honest about it. That’s ideally why each of you are coming up with an idea for an activity in the first place.
Trade off who decides what you’re going to do each week. You both have to participate in the exercise to make it worthwhile. It will do you no good if one person is always making the plans, or someone is vetoing everything while the other just gives in. Part of this process is making sure you’re communicating, compromising, and putting your relationship first. The better you can do that, for more fun and exciting it will be!