That’s right. Just one.
I know what you’re thinking. I suggest tips for making your relationship better all the time. Not only that, but I back up my suggestions with research. How can there be only ONE surefire method?
It all comes down to the limitations of studying relationships.
The vast majority of studies rely on the concept of correlation. Correlation is not the same as causality.
It’s fairly easy for researchers to identify the typical characteristics of successful relationships. Couples that are happy tend to have good communication, for example. But that’s correlation. It’s not the same as proving that good communication causes healthy relationships.
Sure, it stands to reason that patterning your relationship after other healthy relationships will improve your connection with your guy.
But in a sense, even the best studies on romantic bliss are just educated guesses. Very well educated guesses, but guesses all the same.
Except for one.
According to a study done back in 2000, the key to making your relationship better is to do new and interesting things with your partner on a regular basis.[i]
Granted, that study is more than 15 years old, but that’s a good thing. Its conclusions have stood the test of time.[ii]
Just make sure you don’t miss the two most important details.
It’s not enough to do stuff with your guy. You need to do things that are different, exciting, and new.
That can be tough because once a relationship solidifies couples usually fall into a routine. You know what he likes, he knows what you like, and the two of you rarely venture into unchartered waters.
But the trick to maintaining passion over time is to tackle the unknown.
To be clear, I’m not talking about wild, risk-your-life adventures. You don’t have to skydive or run marathons together. Unless, of course, that’s your thing.
Low-risk adventures work just as well. Check out that art museum neither of you have ever been to. Take a weekend trip to a nearby tourist spot. Go to a murder mystery dinner. Or go on a group date with some folks you don’t know that well.
Just make sure the experience is new to both of you.
Okay, so maybe an afternoon at an art museum sounds fantastic to you. If he yawns at the very mention of the idea, keep brainstorming.
This only works if the activity is something you both genuinely want to do.
Put your knowledge of his likes and dislikes to work and get creative. Find something you can share that piques his interest as well as yours.
And get him involved in the planning process. Challenge him to come up with something new you’ll both get a kick out of. You might even consider taking turns planning “adventure dates.”
There are a lot of things you can do to better your relationship. Embarking on shared adventures is the ONE thing that’s been proven to have significant positive impact.
Find something new and interesting to do with him. Not just this weekend, but on a regular basis.
Couples that seek out adventure together aren’t just having fun. They’re enriching their relationship at the same time.
[i] Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273-284.
[ii] DiDonato, Theresa E., Ph.D. “Improve Your Relationship With a Simple Change.” Psychology Today. Sussex Directories, Inc., 22 June 2016. Web. 22 June 2016.