Relationships

How to keep your relationship exciting

©iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs

Relationships

How to keep your relationship exciting

Do you find yourself longing for the good old days when you and your partner tried every new restaurant, had an opinion on all of the latest shows and were first in line for tickets to see all of the up-and-coming bands that came through town? If this sounds familiar, we have a solution for upping the excitement factor in your relationship.

Rather than fixating on how you got to a place where a "Storage Wars" marathon counts as a hot date, focus instead on reintroducing some of the fun activities you both enjoy.

First, share your feelings with your partner to make sure you're both on board with shaking things up, and be honest about the things you miss doing together, whether that's taking spontaneous road trips or singing your heart out at weeknight karaoke. If your spouse agrees that more effort could be made in the creativity department, get his input and ideas for activities he may want to try.

If you find yourselves in need of inspiration, we've compiled a list of fun suggestions inspired by real couples.

1. Keep it simple
Start by introducing an uncomplicated change. For instance, rather than eating your regular Friday night takeout at the kitchen table or in front of the TV, go for a picnic in the park or even just in front of the fireplace at home. Take what's already comfortable and tweak it.

"My girlfriend and I are saving for a house, so extravagant dinners are out of the question – but we can have a romantic picnic dinner for two either out or at home any time of the year." – Michael, 29, Abbotsford, B.C.

2. Just dance
If you've always been a self-conscious rug-cutter, but find yourself on the dance floor more and more often due to a growing list of wedding invitations, why not sign up for a free trial couples dance class. Learning a new skill together can be rewarding, plus you'll be able to regularly show off your newly acquired techniques.

"We took dance lessons before our wedding, and although he took some convincing at first, it was my husband who ended up wanting to continue. There's a definite feeling of accomplishment when we master a really hard step sequence." – Sarah, 33, Regina

Page 1 of 2 -- Three more amazing couples reveal how they keep their relationship fresh and exciting on page 2.
3. Chart a course
If you both love a challenge, consider signing up to run a race together. Give yourselves enough time to train and devise a plan of action to make it across the finish line as a couple. It will hone your teamwork skills and give you a chance to see another side of one another.

"We did the Ottawa City Chase race when we first started dating and it was a great way to get to know one another's skills under pressure. I guess that can be a double-edged sword, but it worked out for us – we got married this past summer." – Andy, 30, Ottawa

4. Discomfort zone
Instead of attending an event that's familiar to the both of you – such as a hockey game where you're both equally invested in the outcome – consider checking out something new. Whether that's a curling bonspiel or Canadian Football League game, a concert featuring native throat singers or African drummers, or even just a foreign film showing in your town's indie theatre, it's up to you! Any slightly unfamiliar activity is an excellent opportunity for bonding and creates far more opportunities for deep discussions than a mindless big-budget blockbuster movie would provide.

"We were invited to watch curling with friends, and neither of us knew anything about the sport. It was fun to get the hang of the pace of the game and learn the terminology together, and we especially enjoyed the Brier Patch beer garden afterward – curlers can really party!" – Erin, 34, Oakville, Ont.

5. Daily deals
Subscribe to websites like Groupon or LivingSocial to receive inspiration right in your inbox any day of the week. Not only do these websites provide unique ideas, but the activities on offer are generally available at a deep discount because of the group-buying aspect. On any given day you might find a sale on tandem skydiving lessons or zipline adventures, or 2-for-1 passes to an amusement park, zoo or museum.

"I actually have an app on my phone so I can check the deals on Groupon anytime. What I like about them is that I can buy them in the moment, but then I have a long period of time to use them, so when we feel like doing something out of the ordinary I already have that idea in my back pocket." – Martin, 36, Gatineau, Que.

Whether you take your usual routine and give it a slight twist, jump into a totally new activity or experience, or get the Internet deals working in your favour, the important thing is that you're working together as a couple to curb the complacency.

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Relationships

How to keep your relationship exciting

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