Re-Igniting Romance through Nude Bungee Jumping
This time of year, when romance is in the air, is the perfect time to test your own primary relationship and ask: What’s our level of romance and what could we do to invite more? That sounds fun!
It’s romance that draws us to one another. However, it isn’t romance that will carry us through. Relationships cycle through various stages and romance is only one stage and can quickly get lost and buried over the years of raising a family or following career choices. It isn’t easy to keep the romance alive and it takes work and effort.
Years ago, when I was a more traditional Marriage & Family Therapist, I worked with many couples who were long past the romance stage of their relationship. Often they arrived at odds and quite distant from each other. Generally, this distance was not created through ill intent or a major breakdown in trust. Usually, the distance occurred as a result of atrophy. Each individual had their roles and responsibilities in the marriage and for years had been doing just that. Most of the joy, juice and adventure in the relationship had been lost or projected onto the children or careers. It is an easy path to take and a common one.
Rebuilding that romance and spark takes effort. One of my favorite assignments for a couple was what I called Date Day. This was a day or evening dedicated to the couple. The agreement was – no children involved and a minimum of three hours of time spent together. Date Day or Night is a common recommendation for couples.
My twist on this theme was that the couple agreed to flip a coin, and whoever won the flip got to decide the activity for the first date and the ‘loser’ woulda fully participate. In my mind, this exercise invited each person to bring a part of themselves forward. The coin toss ‘winner’ could take a risk and invite their partner to something that revealed their passion and joy. The coin toss ‘loser’ had a chance to suspend their own judgments or resistance and step into their partner’s world and see it through their eyes.
This exercise proved to be very enlightening and successful. However, one story really brings the significance home.
The couple involved had been close to separating when I first saw them. They were at very different points in their lives. The husband was laid-off and at home taking care of the kids, and the wife was working, finally creating the career she had wanted in nursing. I suggested the Date Day assignment and the couple flipped the coin at the end of our session. The husband won and they left agreeing to give my idea a try.
When they returned I knew something was up. They were both glowing. Imagine my surprise when I asked what he had done for his Date Day and he said, “We went nude bungee jumping.”Now, my initial inner reaction was one of, “Wow! that seems beyond the “fair” zone. I’m not sure I would agree,” but I held my response.
The wife spoke next, “I have to say I was very upset at first. Then I remembered the assignment and decided to get curious about his choice. I soon discovered the nude part was simply because it eliminated the cost, and I appreciated that he had factored our finances into the situation. I decided to go, and I loved the experience. Everything about it was fresh and new. We did it together. He wasn’t comfortable either. I think I really somehow got his own vulnerability in the idea. It was so different than I expected. I truly saw him differently, and myself, for trying something so outside our comfort zone.
”Well, I can say the same. It remains one of the best stories I know of a couple re-igniting romance and respect for each other simply by taking a risk – albeit a wild one for some. The husband got the chance to bungee jump and learned that his wife was indeed willing to be vulnerable and step out of her comfort zone just for him. Of course, Date Day became a part of their regular routine. Nude bungee jumping was not the norm, but they did use the dates to discover new things about each other.
This Valentine’s Day, test your relationship. If romance or goodwill is missing, try scheduling a Date Day and flip a coin. Take the risk to step in. Take turns and discover what it’s like to step into the dreams of your partner and to risk sharing your own dreams. Have some fun! Happy Valentines Day!
Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell are Coaches, Consultants, and Speakers at thrive! inc. (www.thriveinc.com) They help business leaders and their teams use the energy of conflict, rather than – avoid or defuse it – to get to creative, innovative, profitable business results. You can see their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! On YouTube. They would be happy to coach you, consult with your team, or to speak at your next event. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org