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Perspectives

Nurture Relationships in Nature

It seems like everyone is on the apps these days; Tinder, Bumble, Grinder, etc. Pick your pleasure. And if you have ventured on them lately and had your share of basic conversations, then you can probably relate to The Smiths when they sing about routine biting hard and ambitions being low.

But, we are here to throw in a wild card for your dating life. To help jumpstart the ole love strings. And ask, can nature have a role in bringing us closer together? If nature is good for our health, what can it do for our relationships?

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Routines get us through the day, rituals guide us through life

It was Esther Perel who said that routines get us through the day. Rituals guide us through life. If you are not familiar with her work, Esther Perel is a well-known psychotherapist and best-selling author who is revered for her frank and realistic views on modern relationships. Her work explores the tension between the need for security (love, belonging, and closeness) and the need for freedom (erotic desire, adventure, and distance) in human relationships.

In her words, routines and rituals have a lot in common, but what makes them different is the key to elevating our relationships. Esther has differentiated routines as tasks that we do every day; brushing our teeth, washing dishes, watering plants. Whereas rituals are events that we do with intent, creativity, to elevate our everyday routines. She uses the example of jogging every morning as an exercise routine. While walking in the woods together every Sunday afternoon is a ritual for spending quality time together in nature. If you want to create a deeper connection with your partner, start doing more rituals outside of your daily routines.

According to Perel, in the early stages of dating, creating rituals together is about establishing a shared reality. Perhaps it is about finding a shared interest and creating a ritual out of that. But sometimes, that is easier said than done. There are only so many movies and dinners that you can do before the novelty starts to wear off. And that's where nature comes into play.

Create new memories

A retreat outside of the city takes you out of a mutual setting and into a place where you can explore and find newness together. Here, you can create a ritual that allows you to focus on your partner and the budding new relationship. With no distractions or the familiarity of city life, you are able to create new memories together and learn more about the other person. You have the literal and figurative space to share stories about yourself and vice versa without any distractions.

Being outdoors can also be extremely rewarding. You have a chance to connect with your inner child, the one that used to love climbing trees or running through the tall grass in a field. In fact, that inner child is the one who will keep playfulness and spontaneity alive in the relationship going forward. As Perel said, we can switch from responsibility to play when we go from routine to ritual. In a time when meeting someone online has become almost routine, why not bring a little more play into it?

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