Being sheltered in place during this worldwide pandemic has been challenging for most of us, and it has also presented us with unique opportunities. One of those prospects is more creativity and playfulness. How many of you have stopped engaging with this part of yourselves or this part of your relationship? Recall the last time you allowed yourself to truly engage your imaginative mind or that you did something new and fun with your partner. This crisis we’re facing is a time that begs for novelty. If your relationship suffers from a lack of interest, fun, or imagination before, this can be a great time to re-learn what it means to play together.
It’s almost natural to stop playing with your partner because the excitatory hormones that you experience when falling in love naturally die down over time. At the beginning of new relationships, everything is novel. Hormones are running wild, and there can be a sense of adventure to even the most mundane tasks- like going to the grocery store or walking the dog. Over time, you get complacent. You don’t try so hard in your relationship anymore because there’s a sense of comfort and shelter as if you don’t need to impress your lover anymore. This is both good and bad. Your relationship is probably stable and safe if that rings true, but it also points to the likelihood that you’ve stopped making an effort to nurture the needs of the relationship.
Consider discussing the following questions with your partner, while maintaining an attitude of curiosity and support:
It’s not about impressing each other, it’s about engaging fully in life together. This is an even more rich and meaningful experience of fun than at the beginning of your relationship where fun was part of winning the other person over. Your relationship, no matter how many years you’ve been together, craves adventure. Human beings have a need to experience newness. As the Gottman’s, renowned couple researchers/therapists say, “Those who play together, stay together.”
So, what is play, really? Think of the term “newness.” Engaging in a new activity, talking to new people, going to a different city or neighborhood, or trying anything out of the ordinary for you in terms of routine or food are all examples of adventurous endeavors. It can be simple. Play can be found in romantic gestures, too, like writing each other surprise texts even when you’re in the same room. Make room for play in your relationship by considering it a priority. Just remember to play because playing together creates intimacy, trust, and a strong emotional connection.
If you can't seem to shake the relationship roadblock to fun on your own, don't wait to reach out to a marriage counselor in Orlando or a top-rated relationship therapist. Even during this strange time, offices, like Orlando Thrive Therapy, are offering online relationship counseling that is just as effective as in-office sessions. Give one of our counseling experts a call today or email us to get started.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.