"What do you wanna do?"
"I dunno. What do you wanna do?"
"I dunno. What do you wanna do?"
We know that variety makes life more enjoyable. Sharing different experiences brings fun to a relationship and strengthens the bond between two people. At the same time, lethargy is a powerful force that keeps us stuck right where we are. We'd like to try something new, but coming up with ideas seems like so much trouble. We end up sinking deeper into the same old easy chair, falling asleep to the same old TV, vaguely wishing things were different but not quite able to figure out what that would look like.
Interacting in new and varied situations helps you get to know each other better. You may discover qualities in yourself you didn't know you had. You will learn things about your partner's interests and talents that you never had a chance to see before. You'll rekindle the sense of fun that brought you together in the first place.
Making your life more interesting doesn't really take a lot of effort. Just one activity a week can make a tremendous difference in the way you feel about yourself and your relationship.
Getting Physical - You can get physical without being athletic or even particularly fit. Moving the body feels good and contributes to mental health and positive emotions.
- Walking - It's easy and can be done just about anywhere, any time. Rather than walk the same route in the same neighborhood every time, drive or take the bus somewhere else and start your walk in a new location. Bad weather or bad sidewalks? Many indoor shopping malls welcome walkers before the stores open.
- Miniature golf - Just about every town has at least one miniature golf course. No real skill is required. If one partner is much better at this than the other, start with a handicap of several points to level the playing field.
- Bicycles - A nearby park or beach is likely to have a station where you can rent bicycles for an hour or two. If you haven't ridden since you were a kid, don't worry. I hadn't been on a bike in 20 years, but wasn't a bit wobbly when I hopped on one at the lake. (Just to be safe, try it under controlled circumstances before committing to the rental.)
- Pedal cars - These are even easier than bikes, and often rented at the same locations.
- Bowling - It doesn't matter if you don't understand the scoring. Knocking down pins is fun. For those who throw nothing but gutter balls, many bowling alleys will provide bumpers (inflatable tubes that fill the gutter) to ensure fun for everyone.
- Dancing - Go to a local club and dance the night away. So you think you can't dance? No matter. The place is crowded, the lights are dim, the music is loud -- it's just about moving to the beat and laughing it up.
- Batting cage - No more waiting to be picked for the team. Just wear a helmet and keep your eye on the ball.
- Trampoline parks - Get bouncy! These are usually indoor locations with wall-to-wall trampolines. Sign the waiver and start hopping.
- Lessons - Parks, recreation centers, community colleges and other organizations offer all kinds of courses. Consider archery, ballroom dancing, target shooting, rock climbing, horseback riding, yoga, tennis, or jazzercise.
- Restaurant row - Make a list of local restaurants you've never tried. Whenever you eat out, go to a different place.
- Celebrate your heritage - Maybe you or your spouse had a grandparent who cooked delicious dishes from the old country. If you can get your hands on some of those recipes, enjoy a monthly ancestry night. Decorate the table with traditional colors and souvenirs, or wear something that carries the message. If Grandma was a terrible cook, or if you never had the opportunity to taste those traditional dishes, try a special cookbook or download some recipes from the web.
- Celebrate someone else's heritage - Have some multicultural fun. Whether you experiment at home or go to an ethnic restaurant, discovering exotic flavors is exciting and may lead to some new favorites.
- Wine or beer tasting - You can learn the basics by buying a book or taking a weekend course. Or learn on your own as you go. Try the ones you've never tried before. Give each other blind taste tests and rate your favorites. Invite some friends over for a festival. If you're a beer lover, give wine another chance (and vice-versa).
- Olive tasting - Many gourmet food shops now have olive bars or tasting events. You'd be surprised at how many different kinds of olives there are, and how different some of them taste.
- Experiment - At the supermarket, buy something you've never considered before. Get out of the supermarket and try a specialty food shop. It could be something as simple as tasting a different kind of fruit juice or getting a different cut of meat. It could be more adventurous, like learning how to cook cactus. If you don't like it, at least now you know. But it just might turn out to be something wonderful.
- Let fate decide - Close your eyes as you riffle the pages of The Joy of Cooking. Stick your finger in somewhere at random. Make that recipe.
- Get healthy together - If the time has come to drop a few pounds or just improve the balance and quality of what you eat, making the change with a partner is much easier than doing it alone. Make a plan and help each other follow it (always being kind-hearted about the occasional slip). You can still do many of the previous suggestions as long as you remember to practice moderation and make healthful choices.