Human beings are a walking mess of contradictions and enigma, we often seek comfort and security when things are tough, but we rebel against routine when comfort traps us in monotony. We simultaneously seek both captivity and freedom, the unpredictable and the familiar. Relationships between two people are often driven by cycles of comfort seeking and cycles of seeking variety. Providing a safe environment where two people can feel loved, supported, and fidelity is crucial for a successful relationship, but we must also create time and activities that encourage both people to step outside of their comfort zone and learn new things.
Studies on relationships have repeatedly shown that variety, often is, the spice of life. In one study psychologists divided couples into two groups and gave each couple a scheduled date night each week. The first group’s date nights consisted of dinner and a movie each time, while the second group had varied activities ranging from rock climbing to ballroom dancing. At the end of the study the group that engaged in different or challenging activities each week reported a heightened connection and sense of increased happiness with their partner. For the group that experienced new things together, their bond increased.
Some studies have pointed to the human brain as part of the cause of this phenomenon. The more emotion that is tied to a memory in our brain, the higher the chance of us remembering the details of the event. For example: you may not remember a movie you didn’t like or a dinner at an average restaurant, but you would almost always remember a first experience like rock climbing or ballroom dancing. Simply put, the more emotion like: excitement, fear, happiness, and even pain, that we experience in an event, the more vividly we remember that event. This plays a strong part in relationships because the more strongly a person is tied to strong POSITIVE events and experiences in our life the stronger our perceived bond will become.
Imagine how much closer your bond would be with a person who saved your life or gave you a once in a lifetime experience that you would never forget. Of course we would forever be indebted to a person who saved our life, and we would likely never forget that moment, even as its intensity faded over time. The more challenging, more exciting, the more positive memories we can form with our partners, the more we will feel as if they are central and present in our life. Overcoming challenges, conquering fears, and trying new things with another person allows us to form deep bonds of connection that we will remember our entire lives. Experiencing new things together allows us to form a special bond of unity, it creates a unique type of love that is only formed over time.
Seek to create a space of comfort and security in your relationships, seek to always lend a hand to your partner, and seek to always make them feel loved and cared for: this is the foundation of a healthy relationships; but please, do not neglect the process of trying new things, constantly getting to know each other on a deeper level, and forming exciting new memories together throughout your life together. The combination of feeling safe and secure with another person, while also conquering all of life’s adventures and challenges together will build a bond that can be difficult for even the toughest times to break. Suddenly its not just you on your own against the world, its the two of you together, little can strengthen your confidence as much as knowing that the love of your life is beside you through every trial and tribulation along the way.