Don’t we all remember the passion in the first couple years of our relationship? Why did it change? Marital counseling can help unlock the mysteries of how intimate relationship changes and grows over time, so you can appreciate the growth from super-hot sex in the beginning, to a deeper happiness, with more surprises and twists.
I recently read a New York Times article about a new book: The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at California Riverside. One of her main points is that humans are hard-wired to crave variety, and couples need to learn to inject surprise and newness after the intense passion of the first couple years.
How to Do This?
Research shows that doing “pleasant” activities together weekly (creative cooking, visiting friends, or seeing a movie), didn’t offer as much satisfaction as doing “exciting” activities together weekly (such as skiing, dancing, or attending concerts). Find out for both of you what is “pleasant” in your relationship, and “exciting”, then try to do more of the exciting things you both enjoy.
The Next Step: Recognizing the Difference Between Variety and Surprise.
Notice how easy it is to vary the sequence of something in your relationship, such as choosing a restaurant, but that variety doesn’t offer much of a surprise. The author points out that in the beginning, relationships are full of surprises: What does he like to do? What’s she interested in? As we get to know our partner over the years, they surprise us less.
In a Mature Relationship: Time to Focus on Unpredictability, Novelty, and Discovery
Lyubomirsky has written a book showing what we all know to a certain extent: don’t settle for the “same-old, same- old”! Surprise is a potent force, and we pay more attention, appreciate the experience, and remember it, when surprised. In relationship counseling, learn various ways to enjoy the compassionate love in long-term partnership, but also reinvigorate your time together with unpredictable pleasures, novelty, and discovery. The author points out that healthy relationships “change shape multiple times over the course of its lifetime; it must be continually rebuilt if it is to thrive.”
Are you in the stage of trying to get past what some have called the “two year slump”, or the “seven year itch”, and worry that you or your partner might break up just because it’s not as new and exciting as it once was? Are you in a long-term relationship, or empty nesters, wondering how to reinvigorate your relationship? Whether the shine is starting to wear off, or the nest is empty, learn through marital therapy how partners can rediscover, and surprise, each other. When you know someone as well as you know your partner, find out how much fun being novel and unpredictable can be, to the benefit of your intimacy and sexuality!