4 Ways to Add Spontaneity to Your Marriage How spontaneity can be the right ingredient, at the right time, to save or enhance a marriage. BY ADAM GARDNER, ESQ.
Your married life doesn't have to follow a script or be predictable. Try something new this week.
Letís face it, most people are creatures of habit. Our work lives do not differ much from one day to the next. We typically eat, sleep and work. We then press the "repeat" button and conduct ourselves the same way on the next workday. Our weekends are not much different. We gravitate toward the same activities, groups of friends and rotations of the same restaurants.
Being a creature of habit is comfortable. It provides a degree of continuity and stability to our lives. However, being a creature of habit may make a marriage particularly uncomfortable, so much so that it could be the difference between a marriage thriving and failing. The regularity and predictability that is inherently part of any marriage may make that marriage feel stale, repetitive, even boring.
Spontaneity can be an essential ingredient to preserving a happy marriage. I am not recommending that you plan something random, new and exciting for your spouse on a regular basis. That would defeat the purpose of being spontaneous. I am, however, recommending some cost-effective and easy ways to be spontaneous that will likely "wow" your spouse and assist in the preservation of a long, happy marriage.
Role Reversal. Gratitude and appreciation from your spouse stems from your random acts of kindness, particularly those that involve your acknowledgement and appreciation for the little things he/she does on a daily basis. One spouse spontaneously insisting on reversing "spousal" roles every now and again will likely be treated with surprise and affection.
If, for example, you are the spouse that is the primary financial provider and works most of the time to generate the income for your familyís lifestyle, then you have a great deal of responsibility. Letís call this person "Spouse A." If, for example, you are the spouse working part-time, dropping off and picking up the children from school, the clothes from the dry cleaners and making dinner at the end of the day, then you too have a great deal of responsibility. Letís call this person "Spouse B." For some reason, the efforts of Spouse B often seem to go unnoticed or not fully appreciated by Spouse A. Why not randomly role-reverse every now and again? Can you imagine the appreciation and gratitude Spouse B would feel if Spouse A said, on a whim, "Honey, I know how early you wake up to take the kids to school, and the number of errands you run on a daily basis for our household. Please allow me to do those tasks for you tomorrow. I want you to relax."
Listen Well and Be in the Moment. When you are spending time with your spouse, be in the moment and really attempt to hone in on your spouseís likes and dislikes. The trick is to focus on the stray, "off the cuff" comments. Take mental notes on these comments so you can use that information in the future for random acts of kindness.
For example, you and your spouse are walking and your spouse randomly utters that her favorite flower is an iris. On your way home from work a week or so later, stop by a flower shop and pick her up some irises. When presenting them to her, explain how you remembered that stray comment. She will be impressed.
As another example, you and your spouse are in the car together, and your spouse randomly says that heís never been to a certain restaurant youíre both driving by, but would love to try it. Take it upon yourself to surprise your spouse given this unsolicited information. Secretly make a reservation at that restaurant. Then, tell your spouse that you are planning a special night next weekend but cannot give too many details.
Local Mini-Vacations. You donít need to travel across the world to show love and devotion to your marriage. Surprise your spouse with a local mini-vacation. A night or two away from what is your daily lifestyle may do the trick.
For example, tell your spouse that next month to pack an overnight bag because you are going somewhere that is a surprise. Take your spouse to a resort thatís just a couple of hours away. Although you will technically still be "local," it will feel random, romantic and a "world away."
Have a Conversation About Spontaneity. This may sound backwards, but talk to your spouse about spontaneity. Explain the love that you feel for your spouse and how much you enjoy the lifestyle you share. However, also explain that you want to take actions to ensure that the marital spark never dies. Brainstorm together about random, spontaneous events and activities both of you would enjoy together.
Remember, marriage takes effort. Adding spontaneity to your marriage may serve as a spark that will continue to make the marriage feel fresh and exciting.
Adam Gardner is an attorney at Nachshin & Langlois, LLP, a prominent family law firm in Los Angeles, that represents celebrities and high net-worth individuals, handles all family law matters including divorce, legal separation, palimony, paternity, child custody, child and spousal support. The firm also handles cohabitation, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.