One of the world’s top researchers on romantic love, Arthur Aron at UC Berkeley, recommends regularly doing things with your partner that are novel and challenging. So instead of simply booking a dinner out, re-invent date night and research new and interesting things to do near you. It could be taking a class together. It could be kayaking down a river. It could be going on a ghost tour. Make it an activity that you are both likely to be successful at. For example, don’t choose abseiling if your partner is terrified of heights.

What’s the science behind this idea?

New experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. The same thing happened when you first fell in love with your partner – remember when you couldn’t stop thinking about them and you loved learning new things from them?  You can re-live some of those feelings by doing new and exciting activities with your partner that you will both enjoy. Stuck for ideas? There are lots in our romantic ideas database.

Dr. Aron cautions that novelty alone is probably not enough to save a marriage in crisis. Couples who just want to get their relationship out of a rut (or prevent it falling into one) can use novelty and excitement to help reignite old sparks.

The New York Times has more information about this research.

Lonely Planet has a list of challenging activities from around the world you can use for inspiration.

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