A fascinating New York Times article discusses recent psychological data: “Using laboratory studies, real-world experiments and even brain-scan data, scientists can now offer long-married couples a simple prescription for rekindling the romantic love that brought them together in the first place. The solution? Reinventing date night.”
The article’s discussion continues in the same vein. Some snippets:
“Most studies of love and marriage show that the decline of romantic love over time is inevitable. The butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away and are replaced by familiar, predictable feelings of long-term attachment.
But several experiments show that novelty â€” simply doing new things together as a couple â€” may help bring the butterflies back, recreating the chemical surges of early courtship.”
. . .
“Dr. Aron cautions that novelty alone is probably not enough to save a marriage in crisis. But for couples who have a reasonably good but slightly dull relationship, novelty may help reignite old sparks.
And recent brain-scan studies show that romantic love really can last years into a marriage. Last week, at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Albuquerque, researchers presented brain-scan data on several men and women who had been married for 10 or more years. Interviews and questionnaires suggested they were still intensely in love with their partners. Brain scans confirmed it, showing increased brain activity associated with romantic love when the subjects saw pictures of their spouses.
Itâ€™s not clear why some couples are able to maintain romantic intensity even after years together. But the scientists believe regular injections of novelty and excitement most likely play a role.”
Great stuff. Who woulda thunk it?
Now, here’s your challenge, if you’re married: Go on a novel and exciting date with your spouse this Valentine’s Day (or Valentine’s Day weekend).
No more dinner-and-a-movie. Go explore someplace different. Visit a new place. Do new things. Take pictures. Have fun. Make it all something new and unusual. Do something different to fire those synapses and build that bond.
If you’re not sure quite how to proceed, feel free to use this thread for thoughts and discussion about date plans or ideas. And we’d also be happy to hear your (positive, I hope!) reports about how those dates went. (Keep it family-friendly, please.)