Is your romance starting to fade a bit? Here’s one way to re-ignite those flames—a simple (and FUN) method for keeping love alive. It’s adventure time.
In the 1984 hit adventure comedy “Romancing the Stone,” staring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, the protagonists find fiery romance in the jungles of Colombia as they outwit the bad guys over a humongous emerald. This “adventure leading to romance” meme is prevalent in our culture because it usually means excitement, passion, and the possibility of discovering new things. And, you may find it to be a powerful and fun way to keep the fires of your romance going for years to come.
Suffocation of Routine
We are hard-wired as human beings to gravitate toward routine. The reason for this is simple: nature always seeks out methods, actions, or processes that require the least amount of energy to maintain.
All relationships have the potential to fall into routine which is that lowest energy state of “stability.” It may be stable, but it typically is neither fulfilling nor passionate. Passion takes energy, and creativity to keep it alive. And that’s where maintaining a regular calendar of small adventures can make the difference between a “comfortable” relationship and one that is always making both of you grateful to be alive.
These adventures don’t have to be expensive, far from it. They can be as humble as day hikes or camping out. Just be sure to make a ‘get away list’ so you don’t end up in the woods without a flashlight or up a creek without a paddle.
Just remember when you take an adventure, good and not-so-good things can happen, but your relationship will not look, sound, or smell dull. In fact, it is the unexpected within these adventures that is the secret sauce which adds the sizzle to your romance and relationship overall.
Planning Your Adventures
An adventure by definition implies encountering the unknown. The good news is you have some control over just how much “unknown” you include in yours. However, one of the more important parts is in the planning—a process that really needs to include both of you.
Here are some things to consider:
- Plan together equally – it is crucial that neither one of you dominate the planning process. Part of the adventure is in the joint planning and making sure you are both excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. If one of you says “Oh, you figure it out, I’ll be fine with whatever you choose.”—that is a warning sign, my friend. It’s either all in, or there really is no adventure to be had. It is important pick an adventure that you both will enjoy, don’t ever drag her or him to do something they don’t like, yet deep down inside you know they are doing it because you asked them. This will build up resentment and eventually blow up as an “I did it because you asked me” situation. You both have to find the activity interesting/intriguing and fun. When one of you don’t like an adventure idea, be totally candid with your partner in expressing your feelings about it.
- Small and frequent is better than large and occasional – my partner and I have found that planning frequent 3-4 day get-a-way adventures are more important to the health and passion level of our relationship than the big trips. The small frequent ones keep you both in the space of adventure, which is like rocket fuel to the fires of passion. Whereas the infrequent larger trips typically have too many expectations and the potential for stultifying routine in between.
- Stay in nature – okay, my partner are clearly biased about this. We find that our adventures in nature are always the best. That’s because being in nature takes us out of our heads which helps keep us be fully present for each other.
- Approach your adventures with a spirit of playfulness – my partner and I tend to be very playful and have no problem acting silly around each other—usually resulting in lots of laughter. Remember (this is for any control freaks reading this), you are planning an “adventure” which means you can’t control everything, nor do you want to. The more playful each of you are in the planning and experience of your adventures, the more fun and romance will be enjoyed. This attitude will also help when the inevitable glitch happens. There are two ways to respond to those, either as an annoyance or as a wondrous, often funny, new experience. Guess which one stokes the fires of romance…
Our Recent Romancing Adventures
Just last week, my partner and I went on a two-day camping trip to Yosemite. The hiking and views were breathtaking, and the weather perfect. When we camp we usually take our queen-sized air mattress that pumps up to a comfortable 12 inch thickness. Only this time, it leaked. Yes, that meant we were sleeping essentially on the ground but we took it in stride and laughed about it. In the evenings we sat by the campfire listening to music, marveling at the stars and drinking cheap Prosecco—and loved every minute of it.
While this was hardly saving some heroine in distress, it was enough of an adventure to keep us excited, engaged, and feel fully alive (which true adventures are really good at).
Another notable adventure of a different kind happened last Halloween. My partner had the brilliant idea of dressing up as a nun and Monsignor (we were both raised Catholic). The real adventure happened as we piously strolled around with our rather realistic-looking costumes in the Castro district of San Francisco. Let’s just say that we had the time of our lives and put a smile on many faces as frequently stopped in the middle of the street to embrace in a passionate kiss.
This particular adventure came at the intersection of creativity, mischievousness and more than a bit of daring.
Adventures Are Not a Project but a Lifestyle
Don’t make the process of having frequent mini-adventures complicated or overly planned out. Leave room for serendipity and open your heart to the inevitable unknowns that show up. And in doing so you are ensuring the greatest adventure of all, your relationship, will stay fresh, exciting and forever full of romance.
This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the author’s full (and kindest!) permission.