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How to Make a Plan to Be Surprising and Fun

Why should you make a plan to be surprising and fun with your partner?

“Relationship” with a capital R can feel like a heavy obligation supported by serious conversations and continual compromise. Sometimes that’s true. At pivotal moments, we must work to maintain a healthy, committed relationship. 

But there’s an often overlooked backbone that helps couples last. What is the glue that holds us together through thick and thin? The answer is simple: have fun and surprise each other!

Of course, sometimes that’s a lot easier said than done. “Be surprising and fun” can be a lot of pressure. What if you don’t have any ideas? What if you’re just not spontaneous?

That’s where the planning part comes in. That’s right: you can make a plan to be surprising and fun.

Seriously? A plan?

Yep. Planning fun may seem counterintuitive, but it really does work — if you do it the right way. Let’s start by talking about what “fun” actually is.

Back to Basics: What is Fun?

Getting the Love You Want defines fun as “a high energy or intense activity that produces deep pleasure and/or laughter.” It sounds so technical, doesn’t it?

Quite simply, “fun” encompasses the moments when our thinking brain takes a break. You’ve probably felt it on a boisterous night out with friends or when you laugh so hard it hurts… 

We’re all human. We all know fun. But we don’t always know how to create it. Which can cause making a plan to be surprising and fun difficult.

Often, because of how we grew up, we quash our natural urge to let loose. Your parents tried their best, but perhaps they held their own fears about life. Letting you behave in free and fun ways may have activated that fear.

Rather than wallow in tragic interpretation of the past, we can reclaim our sense of fun in the present. And we can cultivate that practice in our relationship.

How exactly do you make a plan to be surprising and fun?

Be a Love Detective

You want to surprise your partner in a way that feels welcome. But how?

Become a Love Detective. 

A skilled Love Detective relies on their eyes, ears, and intuition. Your partner will show you what brings them joy: foods that spark a smile, wishful comments, or activities that put them in a good mood. Listen, watch, take notes — and not just mental ones. Jot down a list recalling how your partner hinted at secret desires and dreams. 

Then… conspire to make it happen.

You could have their grandmother’s old tea towels sewn into a keepsake quilt. Perhaps you plan a surprise trip to an old haunt they mentioned missing. Maybe you ask friends and family to “bomb” them with postcards extolling all their wonderful qualities.

Recognizing little joys can mean a lot to your partner, too. Cook tacos for dinner, and serve them Mexico City style to harken back to a memorable vacation. Draw them into fun surprise sex during a break in the workday. Sing or talk in a silly way, and don’t stop until they do, too. 

When you validate your partner’s deep well of dreams without a request, it feels like magic.

Beware the Fun Police

That old resistance to fun may surface when you try to be spontaneous. It might even feel inauthentic to try to have purposeful fun.

Do it anyway.

The Imago philosophy puts faith in actions that cradle feeling. Give uncomfortable growth activities an honest try. You’ll notice that your emotions begin to shift when you do.

So when your partner wants to chase you around the kitchen, don’t throw up your hands, say “You got me,” and go back to the dishes. Run, even if you don’t feel like it. Pretty soon your heart rates will rise, laughter will take over — and you’ll both feel uplifted by the lightness that is fun.

Still feel like you need more tips? Don’t hesitate to reach out.


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Copyright @2020 Dana Cole, LMFT