Are you ready for a little romance? I hope so! Being in a romantic relationship makes both men and women happier.  Ok, I know, some of you are thinking, not in my case. But it is true.

While relationships can be a source of conflict, romantic relationships make us happy. And the stronger the commitment, the happier we are!

In fact, when researchers at Cornell University and Penn State University compared married couples to singles or cohabitators, they found that even when the marriage is not so happy, both partners have a better sense of well-being than singles or couples living together. A reason for this could be that marriage brings a sense of stability, given the commitment.

And here is the kicker. It’s not that happy people necessarily get into happy relationships. Instead, relationships seem to make people happier. So if you want to improve your well-being, find that special someone. And if you are in a relationship, celebrate your happiness. Romance makes us happy!

But this Valentine’s Day let’s not fall into the trap of doing the standard dinner out, flowers and candy. While all of that is nice, how about infusing a little more romance with that special someone?

Think about this. The key to romance is novelty! Yes, a break from the ordinary does wonders to wake up a sleepy couple. New experiences stimulate dopamine in the brain and bring feelings of romance. I am guessing that a number of us could use a little stimulating when it comes to our couple relationships.

Here are 7 ideas to rev up the romance and stimulate the brain. Let’s go from boring to exciting!

  • Do a couple’s spa night. Schedule the two of you for relaxation and pampering. Check on-line coupon sites for deals. I’ve done a couple’s spa night and I highly recommend it. It’s relaxing, romantic and fun. And my husband rarely pampers himself with massage and other treatments, so he loved it!
  • Show love to a stranger or person in need. This is a really novel idea. Instead of focusing only on your love for each other, go to a homeless shelter, children’s hospital or someplace where showing love can bring joy to others. Then, when you come home, talk about the experience and appreciate each other. Point out the positive qualities you noticed about your partner while engaging with others.
  • Picnic somewhere scenic. Take a blanket, a basket of food and drink and find a beautiful spot to picnic. For those of you in more northern climates, it may have to be an indoor place with a view, so be creative. You might even drive to a scenic view and picnic in your car. Or, if you have a fireplace, spread the picnic out on the floor! The point is, forget the standard restaurant and dinner table. Create a new space to celebrate your love.
  • If you can afford it, go to a nice hotel and truly get away. Spa or not, head for a change in scenery for one night. Leave your devices locked away for emergencies only and enjoy the time together. If you can afford it, order room services. Even one night of a get-away refreshes the soul.
  • Do something you never do: Sign up for a cooking class, go on a hike, or play laser tag. Think of a fun activity that gets you active together and create a memory. For instance, one couple who never bowls, goes bowling on Valentine’s Day just to stimulate the brain with a novel experience. And that is the idea. Make it novel. Create a surprise. Not knowing where you are going or what you are doing with only a few clues along the way adds to the fun and novelty.
  • For those of you with a more creative side, write a poem, compose a song, or find quotes that express your love. And if writing a poem or composing a song seems too ambitious, place love notes all over the house with clues on how to find them. You can google quotes if you have trouble thinking of what to say.
  • Recreate your first date. You may not be able to go back to the exact location, but you could use pictures, maps and reminders of the place. Then create the date and relive the memory. Pull out old photos and reminisce about the most romantic times. Put on soft music, candles and set the atmosphere for more to come! If you had a special song, get it ready to play. If you remember what you ate on that first date, prepare it. Remembering your feelings of first love can rekindle the present.

This Valentine’s Day, do something new to bring passion to your relationship. Romantic love doesn’t have to fade over time. Don’t settle for routine. Romantic love needs a few shots of novelty once in a while!

Are You Ready for a Little Romance?