Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Science, marriage, and "self-expansion."

Tara Parker-Pope's interesting article, "The Science of a Happy Marriage," on the New York Times blog has made me ponder how the feeling of "self-expansion" influences the commitment and happiness of a relationship. The article says the scientists "theorize that couples who explore new places and try new things will tap into feelings of self-expansion, lifting their level of commitment." They talk about the need to do "challenging and exciting things together" and cite experiments conducted regarding fidelity and happiness in marriage.

I know that most of us would probably agree that trying new things together is good advice, but I also suspect that it is easy for couples to fall into typical routines as the relationship gets more comfortable. Like having a pattern of getting the usual Thai* take-out and watching the same TV series (currently we are enjoying Glee, like tons of other people seem to be), or whatever. And yes, comfortable and reliable can be fun (nothing against Glee!!!) and well....comfortable like a good pair of yoga pants and hot cocoa**, but sometimes you need something completely out of the ordinary to feel, you know...alive and awake. So this article is a good reminder to intentionally mix things up and try new adventures as a couple.

*I still miss our favorite Chicago Thai take-out place like crazy. Snow Spice makes the best crab rangoon I have ever had in my life.
**By the way, anyone tried cayenne pepper in your hot cocoa? Yum!

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