Whether you and your partner have been together for a year, a decade, or all your life, every relationship at any stage can benefit from intentional, considered relationship building activities.
If you want a stronger bond, a closer connection or just better understanding of your partner, these are 6 proven methods to improve your relationship.
1) Discuss Each Other’s Goals
If you and your partner have been in a relationship for a while, chances are that you already have an idea of what each other’s goals and ambitions are.
Or, at least, you each think you do.
The reality is that people’s goals can change, sometimes without them even knowing it! During your next date night, set some time aside to revisit what you want and what your partner wants out of life. This is a great way to not only get to know your partner better, but also encourages self-discovery and personal growth. That’s a must for any strong relationship.
Once you know each other’s goals, actively work with one another to make them happen. Helping your loved ones with something they truly want and care about, even if it’s just words of encouragement, is a surefire to build an unshakeable relationship.
Pro-tip: These goals don’t have to be huge. They can include anything from learning a new skill, setting up a business, or even changing profession. Consider making individual lists of short-term and long-term goals as part of your discussion. That way, you can chase big dreams but still feel a sense of achievement with quick wins.
2) Pursue A Hobby Together
What’s better than having the time to indulge in something you love? Being able to enjoy it with someone you love too! Taking up a hobby that both you and your partner enjoy doesn’t just give you both a cool new skill and a fun new activity, it helps you and your partner connect and make your relationship stronger.
There are thousands of different options. You might go to a cooking class together. You could try painting together. Maybe go to the gym at the same time, take a dancing class, maybe even take up woodwork. The key is to make it a hobby that you both truly enjoy, with bonus points for a hobby that encourages teamwork between you and your partner.
Pro-tip: don’t fall into the trap of pursuing something that one partner doesn’t actually like, or is only doing for the benefit of their other half. This is sometimes called the “pleasing pit” and it can end up just building resentment.
Honesty is key here. If you or your partner doesn’t like something or changes their mind about something they used to like, simply find something else. There are thousands of hobbies in the world – you’ll have no shortage of options.
3) Create An Appreciation List
Everyone loves being appreciated, especially when that appreciation comes from the person they care about most in their life. After some time of living and loving together, it can be easy to let those words of appreciation dry up as each partner gets used to the status quo.
So let’s open those loving floodgates with mutual admiration and appreciation lists!
Lists might not seem like the most romantic thing in the world, but trust us, they’re incredibly powerful for building a strong relationship, where each person feels respected and valued.
Making one is simple:
- Agree how many items each of you are going to write down. Ten is a good number.
- Each of you, individually and privately, write down the things you appreciate about your partner.
- Exchange them and read them aloud to each other.
- Feel the love!
- (Optional) Write a second list of the things that your partner can do to make you feel loved. This will help you learn your partner’s preferred Love Language and will avoid the common issue of mismatched or misunderstood expressions of appreciation.
It’s really that easy. Too many couples assume that their partner intrinsically knows how much they’re loved. But it’s not always obvious – hearing those compliments and encouragements out loud is incredibly effective at building a stronger relationship.
4) Go on a Digital Fast
In the modern day, we’re surrounded by distractions. Many of them are technology based – phones, televisions, computers, tablets, social media; these things can be great entertainment, but they can also often take up the time that could’ve been spent connecting with your partner instead.
Try going on a regular ‘digital fast’ with your partner. Switch off your devices, turn off your alarms, ignore pings and dings and notifications. Get distracted by your partner instead. Talk, cuddle, share, plan, go out – but most of all, be present in that moment.
Pro-tip: It’s best to plan specific activities for a digital fast, or you might end up just sitting on the sofa trying to think of something to do. Lots of couples choose to use their digital fast time for a date night – here are a few ideas we’ve cooked up that might fit the bill.
5) Walk Down Memory Lane
Making memories together is a core building block of a strong relationship. It pays to dust off the albums, SD cards and social media timelines every now and then to revisit those memories and reminisce on the adventure you’ve had together so far. And maybe even where it’s going next?
Pro-tip: Want to really turn this bonding experience up a notch? Try recreating or revisiting the memories you discover. Dig out old outfits, revisit your old haunts, get in touch with mutual friends that have drifted away. You might be surprised at how many more long-forgotten memories will come to the surface, for both you and your partner.
6) Make a Question Jar
You and I both know you’ve got a jar or empty container rattling around in the cupboard somewhere. It’s time to put it to use; go get it! I’ll wait.
Great, now think of a question that you’ve always wanted to ask your partner, but have been too busy (or maybe too embarrassed?) to ask properly. Write it down on a scrap of paper, and put it in the jar. Get your partner to do it too.
Keep going until the jar is full; you can do this over the course of a few days or weeks if you like. Eventually, it’ll be full. This is where the fun begins!
Set aside some time with your partner. Take it in turns to pull out a question and answer it – whatever gets pulled must be answered. This is a great way for each of you to really dig into something you want to know or something you care about, opening new conversations and helping you learn more about one another.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- If you had to live in another country other than here, where would it be?
- What’s your happiest memory that doesn’t include me?
- What do you think you’d be doing now if we hadn’t met?
Looking for more ideas? Try some of the options in 25 Date Night Conversation For Couples.
How to make time for relationship building
These six activities are all well and good, but what about actually making the time to do them? You’re busy, your partner’s busy, and sometimes it feels like all you’re able to do is keep your head above water.
We can help. Cupla is a shared calendar app designed specifically for couples who find it hard to make time for one another. It comes with built-in calendar syncing, automated suggestions for date night times that work for both of you, reminders, goals, To-Do lists and you can even book activities directly in the app (country permitting).