Welcome to 30 Days Of Love, our one-month initiative to bring you closer to the relationship you deserve just in time for Valentine's Day. Today, we're shining the spotlight on surprises—and their role in a fulfilling love relationship.
The rush induced by surprises is one of the most overlooked and underrated ways to keep a relationship red hot. In fact, YourTango Expert and revered psycholgist, love guru and bestselling author Esther Perel speaks adamantly about this theory in this video she recently shared with YourTango. As Perel explains, it's not the specific action you take, but rather the idea of introducing something new and unexpected that infuses your relationship with the passion, radiance, and anticipation it craves.
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In short: When two people get used to each other—as they tend to do—relationships can get boring. In fact, new, surprising experiences—be it an unexpected laugh or an unexpected vacation—have been scientifically proven to trigger the same feelings we experience when we're falling in love.
Here are 30 fun, free-spirited ways to introduce surprise into your relationship now—and keep the adrenaline rushing long after Valentine's Day.
1. Hit the road—without a destination in mind. What's more romantic than hitting the open road on a carefree voyage to lord-knows-where? It's anyone's guess which inn or b&b you two will be spending the night in, and there's something uber-romantic about that kind of caution-to-the-wind adventure.
2. Stage a hilarious, good-natured prank. We've been so inspired by the ingenius viral pranks of late (see Devil Baby and The Walking Dead Zombie Prank) that we're starting to think this might be one of the coolest ways to surprise your significant other—with a carefully orchestrated jump scare that will have him in stitches (from laughter, of course!). And hey—don't forget to film it for YouTube or Vine!
3. Hire a babysitter on the sly. Finding someone to care for your kids for an entire evening takes planning—but if you do it secretly, then that adults-only evening will be a thrilling surprise for your boo. Imagine expecting to come home to that happy chaos you've grown accustomed to and instead, finding your partner decked out in a teddy and bathed in the glow of candlelight? Enough said.
4. Go commando. Remember those naughty little surprises you used to enjoy when you first started dating? Keep doing them. Like "forgetting" to wear your unmentionables, then mentioning it at dinner. Ladies, few guys will say this is a surprise they don't enjoy.
5. Get tickets to see his favorite sport. He loses himself in the game; You lose your mind. Fair. But just this once, take one for the team. Ask him, "Are you watching football on TV again this Sunday?" And when he shamelessly nods in the affirmative, shake your head and say, "No you're not because we're going to watch it together—in person." It's a kind act—and an investment in good surprise-karma.
6. Throw a suprise party—for two. Nothing against surprise parties with your friends, family and coworkers. Those are great. But something about coming home to house full of streamers, balloons and your partner in a party hat shouting "surprise!" and popping open a bottle of champers is awesome in an adorably ridiculous way.
7. Scrawl your love on the bathroom mirror. The next time you take a shower, write a sweet missive in the condensation on the mirror. You won't be able to read it once the steam clears—but it'll reemerge when he takes his shower. Aww, you're a such a romantic...
8. Hide a funny note in her wallet. If your partner is anticipating having a difficult or stressful day, jot down an inside joke that always makes you two lose it, and put it her wallet—you know she has to check that during the day. Make her laugh when she least expects it, and you'll be bonding while you're not even together.
9. Request a day off—for your significant other. Get your partner's boss on the horn and arrange for a "secret" vacation day for both of you. That morning, wake her up with a, "Don't you wish we didn't have to go to work today? Well guess what? We don't!" It's the adult version of a snow day.
10. Dig your partner's car out of the snow. Speaking of snow days, there was a blizzard last night and, of course, your partner's car was buried. He's dreading the morning dig. Wake up early and do it for him this time. Just don't tell him; Let him find out for himself as he crabbily drags his shovel out the front door. Then take a picture of the look on his face when he walks back in!
11. Pick up the tab at girls' or guys' night out: Not cool: showing up at girls' or guys' night out. Totally cool: calling the restaurant (or bar, at your own risk) in advance and picking up the tab, if that's something you can afford to do.
12. The old wake-him-up-with-a-BJ move. But let's be honest: Guys aren't the only ones who enjoy being awoken in this particular style. Just sayin'.
13. Send love note in the mail (the regular mail). Remember mailboxes? Toss a very sweet, handwritten love letter to your beloved in one, and she'll have a very sweet surprise to discover when all she's expecting are (more) bills.
14. Restore something that's precious to your partner. Does he cherish an old, tattered picture of his great grandparents? Have it digitally restored and framed—just because. A worn-out pair of boots that belonged to a beloved family member? Have them resoled and shined up. It's a surprise that will hit him right in the heart.
15. Fix that annoying thing around the house that's broken. She'll never curse that drawer that fell off its track or that tricky lock again, and the surprise and relief on her face when she realizes it's back to normal will be priceless. Some gifts don't come in a box.
16. Striptease via Skype. You heard us. He may be on a work trip, but all work makes Jack a dull boy.
17. Change the desktop wallpaper on your shared computer. Take a hilarious, goofy selfie and upload it as your shared desktop wallpaper—right before she sits down to finish a major project for work.
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18. Jump in the shower. What if, on a random Monday morning, you interrupted his regular scheduled morning routine by dropping trou and hopping in the shower with him? Hey, mama needs to get clean too. And he may need another cold shower while he replays that surprise in his mind all day. Keep reading...
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