"He loved her of course but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: That was the thing"
- Sherman Alexie.
Those couples who possess a magic you can’t quite put your finger on. An almost palpable energy between them. A bond you can feel. Couples who, long after their wedding day, through both the exhilaration and the lulls of life together, the challenges of raising family and juggling career, remain madly, crazily, enviably in love. It’s not the vows exchanged, or contract of marriage they enter into that binds them together, but their beautifully refreshing view of marriage. The powerful belief that marriage and love is a decision you make every single day. A choice of growth, over comfort.
There is a beautiful freedom in letting go of expectations surrounding marriage, in the conditioned beliefs instilled in us that after a wedding, life becomes a quest to tick off a series of boxes. (career, mortgage, family). We’re romanced instead by the idea that there’s no set path, there’s no timeline. Life together should be a beautiful adventure of twists and turns innately guided by feeling. But most importantly, it’s a trajectory; a journey of infinite possibility and choice, and the permanency of marriage should never be an excuse to remain stagnant.
Familiarity and comfort are what we crave in relationships, yet they're deceptively at the core of what can wear away magic. In life, in career and in relationships, often the things we look back on that had a profound effect on our growth and happiness, are never the things that come easy. They often stem from discomfort, unfamiliarity, from choosing to place ourselves in situations and experiences that challenge us to do more, see more, be more. There’s something wildly romantic about knowing there’s always more to discover, about yourself, and each other. We’ve put together a list of choices you can actively make as a couple, long before and after the wedding to forever build on that magic…
1. Learn something new together.
The ultimate way to grow together is to learn together. Attempt something that pushes you both out of your comfort zone a little or is unfamiliar like learning a language together (if you’re time poor try the Duolingo app, you can do 10 minutes before you fall asleep each night, talking into your smart phone, bonding over each other’s terrible accents!). Try a wine appreciation course, or take a life drawing class together and laugh immaturely behind your easels (better yet, take the wine class first then go to the life drawing class!).
2. Celebrate your unique interests
Growing together shouldn’t mean surrendering who you are as an individual. Think back to what brought you together in the first place, rediscovering that passion begets passion. It’s incredibly beautiful to witness someone you love, doing something they love. Encourage each other's separate interests, in the things that fill both you up as individuals, and bring you closer together.
3. Connect spiritually
Connecting and growing together spiritually adds a dimension of depth to a relationship that is not otherwise replicated. Believing and having faith in the same path, or respectfully acknowledging each others differing views, results in either a powerful practice, or a powerful discourse. Either way the reciprocity is a bonding and deepening experience as a couple. Retreats, meditation courses, yoga classes, or even just time spent in nature together illicit powerful experiences of renewal and growth.
4. Travel and dream together
Far flung travels, drinking of the unbeen and the unseen, travelling together completely out of your comfort zone has the benefit of not just growing together in rich experiences, but in reminding each other that no matter how crazy life get, you are each other’s soft place to fall. Similarly, one of the most enjoyable things as a couple is rediscovering the beauty of dreaming together. Of hatching plans and aligning hopes. Creating a safe space to dream and a compelling future is a productive way to grow together, and to bring dreams to fruition.
5. Gift spontaneously
In any incarnation, giving is the ultimate expression of love. Forget Valentines Day cliches. Don’t wait for birthdays and anniversaries rife with expectation. Gift for no reason at all. Plane tickets, dinner reservations, or beautiful pieces of jewelry worn forever as a reminder of that moment in time, and a symbol of the infinite moments and choices you have throughout your lifetime, to choose each other.
See a list of date ideas, experiences and gift suggestions we've put together in the gallery below...