Date night for married couples typically consists of dinner, dancing, and hopefully reliving the consummation part of marriage at the end of the night. But Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook told the New York Times that couples need dates that introduce new, enjoyable activities to keep the relationship fresh and the dopamine flowing in the brain.
Those romantic moments of eye gazing and holding hands will eventually be replaced with familiarity and predictability as long as couples continue with the status quo. There’s no better environment to reinvigorate a marriage than the great outdoors. Here are three ideas for couples to consider.
7-Day Camping Trip
Families with both husband and wife working full time comprised 47 percent of all couples in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add children to the mix and that means couples are playing the mom and dad role far more than they are being husband and wife for one another. A week-long camping trip far from home with only your backpacks and tents is the perfect romantic getaway for those in this situation.
Couples should pick a fresh, new destination, that they haven not traveled before. The only food you should take along is saltine crackers, so the two of you are forced to fish and hunt for sustenance. You may only catch one trout or trap one rabbit, which isn’t exactly a large meal. But you’ll be forced to share what you have and be grateful for it. The experience will bring couples closer because there is nobody else to rely on but one another.
The best part about camping is sleeping at night. Cuddling not only lower blood pressure and relieves anxiety, but also lowers cortisol in the brain, aka the stress hormone, according to a 1987 study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Couples will need one another’s body heat in their sleeping bag to stay warm. There are also studies that link frequent sex in marriage to stability and long-term commitment.
There’s a good reason Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines are known for their honeymoon packages. The tranquility that comes with being surrounded by water in every direction stimulates romance and love unlike any other environment can. Elaine and Jade Michaels, owners of House Boats For Two in Washington State, told the Seattle Times they specifically outlaw pets and children in their rentals so couples can fully enjoy the company of one another while on the water.
An all-day trip in a rowboat is the perfect weekend getaway, particularly for those living in areas with a lot of navigable waters. Of course any boating excursion, paddle or otherwise, can be ruined by bad weather and shoddy preparation. Make certain you check and re-check the forecast before heading out on the water. Canadians will need an operator card for any motorized vessel, while most American jurisdictions require a license of some sort. Take some Dramamine tablets along as well. They will come in handy for those not used to being on boats and susceptible to sea sickness.
Panoramic views and being one with the outdoors naturally makes hiking a romantic activity for couples. You don’t even necessarily have to live near a national park or mountains, as many cities have trails for these types of getaways.
The key to making the most of a hiking trip is to take your time. Stop and look at plants you’ve never seen. Lie down in the grass together face up, while holding hands and talking about everything from your first date to childhood memories. You may even encounter wildlife that will either be interesting to observe or force the two of you to protect yourselves from imminent danger.
The outdoors is the ultimate elixir to boost and maintain a healthy, romantic marriage. You’ll grow as individuals, but more importantly as a couple.