03/10/2011 02:00 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Exciting

You're in a rut. You've been with your partner for many years now. Life now is about routine, chores and schedules. Long gone are the days of butterflies, surprises and spontaneous dates. You think maybe you've chosen the wrong person or that this ebb is a glimpse of the rest of your life.

Before you panic, know that there are many people out there going through the same, exact thing. Most couples that have been together for an extended period of time will go through phases of boredom, stale routine and a lack and missing of the sparks that once fired the relationship. During these times, it's easy to presume that the relationship has lost the love and chemistry.

A relationship does not go on cruise control. Like any relationship, whether it is business or friendship, it requires effort, energy and work. I believe that you can be proactive while things are flowing and positive, which helps prevent those hard, emotionally draining crashes. Also, it's a lot easier to maintain a flow as opposed to reacting to an ebb and doing damage control. Of course, the latter is bound to happen at times, but that doesn't mean you can't put effort into minimizing those crashes.

Here are a few activities and rituals that can help feed the excitement of your relationship:

Learn Something New Together

People can grow apart, so why not try to learn something as a pair so that you can both grow together? Take a language course, learn how to cook -- whatever it is, do something that causes the two of you to get out of our comfort zones and learn something new.

Engage In Physical Activity

There's a reason that people who engage in an adrenaline-pumping activity on a first date experience a greater attraction toward each other than those who participate in a more calm activity. Physical activity releases feel-good chemicals and boosts adrenaline, two ingredients that can create that "butterflies-in-stomach" feeling.

Create Your Own Positive Ritual

When your partner comes home, stop what you're doing and give the biggest, happiest greeting and hug. Coming home to that is an incredible feeling. If, for just a moment, your partner drops whatever he or she is doing to focus on you, it can definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening. Create your ritual with your partner, one that is sacred for the both of you. It can be as simple as saying one nice thing to each other before bed every night. Imagine the compounded positive effect that this will have over time!

Go On Date Nights

Everyone gets busy. Everyone's schedule can be overwhelming. Everyone experiences times of stress. It's especially in these times that you do not let your relationship drop to a low priority. Commit to going on a date night at least once a month. Regardless of how hectic your schedules can be, honor that commitment. It doesn't have to be fancy; it can be a home-cooked dinner with just a few extra touches of candles and dressing up to make it feel more special. The point is, have an evening where the goal of the night is to celebrate each other and your union.

Take Trips

Not everyone has the luxury of going traveling halfway across the world, but that doesn't mean you cannot take a trip together. Weekend trips, a getaway within the city or even a day at a secluded beach or private picnic work, too. Don't make the excuse of "not having enough time," because with proper planning and effort, you can make the time. These trips, big or small, are important for the relationship because they allows for that time where you can fully be in the present with your partner. They fill the love tank, and that's always a good thing.


Amy Chan is a relationship columnist for the 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper. She also has her own blog,