Ah, routine. Repeating those day-to-day patterns can bring us comfort when life gets a little crazy — but it create a dullness or sense of boredom when they're what define our lives and relationship interactions. Just as we settle into work and career routines, we tend to get into patterns with our partners and start "going through the motions". Even the ever popular "date night" concept becomes routine and dull if that's what you do week after week after week.
So let's mix it up a bit!
Intimacy, passion and play are the trio of goodies that everybody (or, well, everybody who craves an exciting love life) wants in their intimate relationship. They're the three amigos of vibrant relationships. And if you want intimacy, passion, and play then you need to uncover, acknowledge, and finally bust up your boring old relationship patterns. Here are three great ideas to get you started.
Pattern-Buster #1: Grow Intimacy By Always Being Willing To Be Surprised
There's a little-known movie about a relationship that just screams out for pattern-busting: Take This Waltz has a wonderful restaurant scene (you can watch it by clicking here), where the couple are out for their fifth wedding anniversary and she wonders why they're not talking to each other. "Don't you think it's a bit weird that we're sitting here not talking to each other?" she asks. And he responds, "What're we going to talk about? We live together; we know everything already."
Straight to the heart with the salad fork! We will never know everything there is to know about our partners, just as we will never know everything there is to know about ourselves! Ever.
True, there's lots you do know about yourself and your partner; his or her likes, dislikes, habits, and hangups... but unless we've turned off all of our curiousity for life, we're all growing, discovering, and morphing every day. So who is this person you're waking up beside today? And are they really the same person you woke up to yesterday? Start talking and find out!
So how do you bust up the pattern that has you believing that you know each other so completely? One great way is to find questions to ask each other. The IF book series is a great example. Random questions, many of which you likely haven't ever thought about. These make great conversation starters. We have spent a whole dinner on one juicy question (and sometimes we get through a dozen in an evening). If you're traveling anytime soon, we have a set of travel related questions that do the same thing. Take your book or your question list out on your next romantic evening, and date night will never be the same again!
Pattern-Buster #2: Grow Passion By Making Love Everyday
So, how many of you naughty ones skipped straight to this pattern-buster? Before you get heated up (with either excitement or fear!) we're not talking about having sex everyday (although go for it, if it'll bust up a pattern!). So many of us associate "making love" with "having sex", and if we're not having sex then we forget all the other ways there are to pay loving attention to our partners. Making love in a huge variety of ways actually renders the "sex version" of making love even juicier, richer, and more desirable for both of you.
So how do you make love to your partner on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis? Look at them with love and appreciation in your mind. Look at them with love and desire in your body. Make eye contact, and hold it. Say "I love you" without saying a word — trust us, they'll hear you! Touch him as you pass in the kitchen. Run your hand across her back. Squeeze her shoulder. Ruffle his hair. Show him that his presence is important to you, that you know he's there, that he isn't just a piece of furniture or a practical partner.
And bust up the pattern that mandates loving touch or sensual glances need to signal an invitation to sex. Many couples report limiting these actions because they believe (and likely have experienced) their partner misinterpret them as invitations to sex while they're just not in the mood. This means that couples are missing out on lots of moment-to-moment pleasure.
Here's our big pattern busting challenge: Create an evening together where you engage in some of the things that you might traditionally do as foreplay to sex. Perhaps you dress in attractive lingerie (or lounging pajamas for the guys!). Perhaps you have a bath together or you give each other a massage. Perhaps you cover the room in candles. Do whatever you can think of that might put you in the mood and incite feelings of romance and affection.
But before you start, make an agreement that sex is off the table for just this one night. And see what happens. How do you react? Do you get disinterested? Do you relax? What chatter goes on in your mind? How does your body feel? Share all of that with your partner and explore what you can discover about yourselves and each other. And then wonder: How can I continue to expand the ways I make love to my partner, every day? (And do enjoy passionate sex as well).
Pattern-Buster #3: Grow Play By Walking A Mile In Your Partner's Shoes
Cooling down from heat and passion, our third pattern busting challenge looks at the routines we've created in our day-to-day life routines: doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, bathing the kids, planning meals, cooking, cutting the grass — you know, the hum of life that you likely have down to a fine art. He does this, she does that, and you don't stop to wonder whose turn it is or if you might enjoy a different task today. And some of that is great, but every once in a while, wouldn't you like a change? Keep reading...
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