“Anyone who stops getting better has stopped being good.”
Countless companies have this motto pinned to the wall.
This shall serve as a constant reminder that you need to refine, improve and optimise as often as possible, if not constantly.
Does this motto serve for relationships as well?
In a way I think it does.
You see the biggest danger for a relationship is routine, the knowing that it will be the same tomorrow. But why is that? We want certainty, do we not?
Yes, we want certainty but it could be argued that we want an equal amount of uncertainty in our lives too.
Remember the time you were dating your partner. You would go out together. You’d feel the spark in each other’s company. You’d get butterflies in your stomach. Your first kiss felt electric.
Since then you have moved in together. You have built your home together. Everything is perfect and you are happy and grateful that you met the soulmate you were always searching for.
And now the routine sets in.
You wake up at the same time every morning. You go to work. You come home. You have dinner together. You watch television together. You go to bed together and every now and then you have sex.
You have created your little world together. It’s perfect, isn’t it?
I need to warn you, the biggest danger to your relationship is this routine.
You take each other for granted. The days (and nights) are predictable. One week looks like the next and last month was just like the month before.
“But that’s exactly what I want!” I hear you say.
And yes, you are right, to a certain extent we all want the predictability, the security and the routine.
Yet at the same time, we all want the unpredictable surprises, we want the spark of adrenaline and we want something unknown.
According to Anthony Robbins there are six human needs we all want to see fulfilled: Certainty, Uncertainty, Love & Connection, Significance, Growth, and Contribution. I’m not going into each of these six in this article, but it is interesting to note that even Anthony Robbins acknowledges our NEED for both certainty AND uncertainty. It almost seems contradictory, and herein lies the problem.
The danger with ‘Routine’ is that the next stage after that is ‘Boredom’, where couples then start to drift apart.
So what can you do to stop Routine from creeping in?
There are a couple of simple ways to bring the spark back, or even better to never lose it.
The best thing you can do is to have regular Active Appointments with your partner. This is where you and your partner find a time and date to go out together and do something special. It could be a walk through the neighbourhood in the moonlight, it could be a quiet dinner at a local restaurant, going to the movies or a stroll on the beach.
The important thing is to allocate time for just the two of you and to go out, to leave the normality of your home behind. Ideally you would not even take your mobile phones – you don’t need distractions when you are actively spending time with your partner.
Another great way to break through the routine is to surprise your partner with something unexpected. A bunch of flowers or box of chocolates on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon. Or cooking their favourite dinner instead of watching television. You could organise an active appointment by going out for breakfast one day during the week and start work later that day.
Remember, it is the little things that make a big difference.
By doing something unexpected, your neural system in your brain is challenged. Your brain is building new connections and gets on higher alert. Your pulse quickens and your whole body is on alert.
We human needs these sparks to make our life interesting and exciting.
Write your partner a love-letter and send it by post.
Organise a weekend away to a romantic getaway.
Go camping or for a bike ride together.
Anything that shows your partner “let’s do something out of the ordinary” helps your relationship to stay young and vibrant.
If you haven’t done it, I urge you to do the relationship quiz and find out whether your relationship is in the Routine stage.