Couple on Beach

Val Baldwin, CPC
Live Your Ultimate Life

The start of a relationship is exciting, risky, even a bit scary, and we love every minute of it. It's the mystery of the unknown and the anticipation of the unexpected that makes it so exciting.

As a relationship progresses we tend to trade that intense feeling of new thrills and excitement for contentment and security. So why can't we have the best of both worlds? Here are 5 ways to keep the thrill and love alive in your marriage.

1. Scare yourselves silly

Medical experts say the body's fear response is very much like sexual arousal — our pulse quickens and we break out in a sweat, which may explain why people voluntarily bungee-jump or descend full speed down glaciers on skis. We get a rush from being scared in a somewhat controlled environment, and when we do it with a partner, we're brought together by the feeling of having conquered our fears hand in hand. After I gave this challenge to one of my couples clients whose relationship had gotten dull after 24 years of marriage, this is what they did.

"My husband, Brian, wanted to go skydiving, and even though it wasn't my idea of fun, I decided to go with him so we could share the thrill. It was the scariest thing I've ever done, but also one of the most exciting moments of our married life together."

Jumping out of a plane may be too much for you, but there's always the rock-climbing wall at your gym, the scream machine at the local amusement park, or just watching a scary movie together in the dark.

2. Be a little daring

Fear of getting caught in a compromising position is guaranteed to evoke some thrills and chills, and you can bring back that feeling as adults in small ways that won't get you thrown in jail. How, you ask? The next time the two of you go to a movie, hide in the last row of the theater and fool around a little. Or park in a grocery store parking lot late at night and get frisky.

3. Cyber-romance each other

These days it's far too easy for a technology wall to grow between a husband and wife. He can spend hours playing a computer game, and she can't seem to get enough of Women.com chat rooms. But with a few quick clicks, you can use this very same technology to hot-wire your marriage. With the accessibility of e-mail, we can take the time to do things we wouldn't ordinarily do, like sending love letters. One woman I know decided that if her husband was going to spend all of his time surfing the Internet, she would express her feelings online. She e-mailed him a very personal romantic poem and got an amazingly romantic response.

4. Become a master of seduction

A little bit of forethought can awaken some of the passion in your marriage, even on an ordinary Tuesday night. One of my clients in her 40’s used a bottle of cologne to build temptation with her husband. She bought a scent she really liked and had it wrapped. When he went upstairs that evening to take his shower, she left it on his pillow with a card that said, "Would you wear this tonight for me, and only this?” After a few minutes, she went upstairs to find him just the way she asked, waiting patiently for her to come to bed. What a romantic evening they had — better than ever. And he loved the cologne, too.

5. Take a trip to nowhere

At the beginning of your relationship, every date was an adventure; you never knew quite what was going to happen or how it was going to end up. So one weekend, take a trip — overnight or just for the day — without knowing where you're going. No major packing, no planning except for a babysitter if needed. Every now and then just grab your coats and sandwiches and get in your car or take a train. Stop and get out when you feel like it and spend the day exploring wherever you land. By letting go of some of the control you have over your lives, you'll recapture that exciting sense of the unknown you felt when you first met.

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