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Aaron Cooper, Ph.D.
• March 14, 2023

If you and your partner are clever enough to commit to a regular date night, take note of this: couples who engage together in novel experiences have been found to enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being compared to couples attached to their tried and true.  

Research has revealed that new experiences trigger the release of norepinephrine and dopamine, two brain chemicals that stimulate feelings of pleasure (and are responsible for the "high" that people enjoy as part of the early stages of romantic love).i When pleasure-generating experiences are shared with your spouse, your relationship can enjoy a real satisfaction boost. 

You're thinking, We're lucky to have date night at all — who has time to get creative? 

Here are some ideas to stimulate your imagination: 

  • Take the commuter train to an out-of-the-way suburb and meander around town center. Find the neighborhood dive. 
  • Try a one-shot cooking or dance or crafts class. (Consider extending beyond the one-shot.) 
  • Take a guided walking tour through a new neighborhood. 
  • Camp out in your backyard with s’mores and music by Pandora.  
  • Comb through a craft store for ingredients to create a giant birthday card for someone dear to you. 
  • Tour downtown Chicago on a tandem bike or double-decker bus. 
  • Indulge in a progressive dinner, with each course at a new and different restaurant. 

Grab your partner's hand and go! Spring and summer are perfect seasons to try something new. 

Aaron Cooper, Ph.D.

During Dr. Cooper’s forty plus years as a psychotherapist, he has been exposed to a great many therapeutic approaches and schools of thought and has assembled his own eclectic framework. How he approaches couples counseling differs in some ways from how he approaches family and individual therapy, but all his work is informed by the belief that our emotions tell us a lot about ourselves and our relationships — and so are critically important to understand.
References & Citations

i Aron, A., et al. (2000). “Couples' shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 273–284.