With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love and relationships are top of mind for many of us. And for those of us in a relationship, it’s a good reminder to not take our partners for granted and to look for ways to strengthen our relationship further. Here are five powerful relationship activities you can try today to do just that.
#1: Try Something New Together.
On our second date, my now-fiancé and I went to Bingo. We were both total newbies and completely outside of our comfort zones. There were at least 300 people at the hall, different tables, sections, and machines, and so many different booklets. Needless to say, we were completely lost!
Thankfully, we asked a lot of questions and took our time, and managed to get the hang of things. I even won $91 one round!
What was special about this date was that it really felt like a shared experience. We had to figure things out together (like the order of things!) and rely on one another as we divided and conquered who looked at which booklets.
Three years later, that night stands out in my mind as one of my favourite times together.
If you can try something new with your partner, go for it! Here are some ideas:
- Go to a class of some type: cooking, ballroom dance, Zumba, yoga
- Do something you wouldn’t normally: Paint Nite is a good one!
- Travel together someplace you’ve never been
#2: Unplug and just be together.
This is by no means a “new” idea, but spending time away from technology can do wonders for strengthening your relationship. Even checking your phone a few times or catching glimpses of the TV in the background during dinner can disconnect you from the conversation and each other. Even worse, it can make you resent each other.
Instead, try to spend time together each day that is completely free from technology. One of my favourite ways to do this is to sit in the hot tub in the evenings. The water makes it a forced technology-free zone, and we’ll typically stay out there for at least one cycle of the jets which is about 15 minutes. We often end up talking about our day in more detail, sharing things that have been on our mind, and asking questions we wouldn’t have asked if we were still caught up in the night’s to-dos.
A few other ideas are reading together before bed and going for a walk together without your phones.
#3: Work together towards a shared goal.
Like the idea of trying something new together, working towards a shared goal really helps get you and your partner on the same page, working together as a team. If that work is towards a shared goal, even better! You’ll be strengthening your relationship and being productive at the same time.
With our wedding under 6 months away, we made a decision over the holidays to prioritize eating better and exercising more. We want to look and feel our best not only for the big day, but for our honeymoon afterwards. And a season of eating and lazing around wasn’t exactly giving us energy either.
We bought an exercise bike, and decided to both use it and start eating cleaner. We’ve stuck to this and supported each other while doing it. Some specific examples are:
- Doing weekly meal planning and food preparation. Sometimes we cook together which is fun and makes things go much faster!
- Trying new, healthy foods and recipes. Cue idea #1!
- Spending time together – while Curtis is on the exercise bike, I’ll keep him company and work on a jigsaw puzzle (I work out earlier in the day instead!)
It’s been a lifestyle shift, but we’re both committed to getting healthier and that’s great motivation for us to each do our part to support one another.
#4: Be vulnerable.
This one is easier said than done, but it can be one of the most powerful steps you can take in your relationship. (And if you need some inspiration, pretty much any one of Brené Brown’s books can help!) The key is to be honest, authentic, and open about something you want or need to share with your partner.
An example from my life is my entrepreneurial journey. As I’ve shared in the past, I left my corporate job in early 2017 to pursue growing my Etsy shop and blog full-time. In my new world, I feel vulnerable often. And while sometimes I feel weak or ashamed, I’ve learned that it takes true courage to share these fears with people in my support system.
Whether it be feelings of guilt, fears about the future, or just a bad day, I try my best to be vulnerable and open with my fiancé and let him in to how I’m feeling. It’s helped our communication and brought us closer together.
Reflect on whether there’s something you can share with your partner and be more open about. In which areas could you be more vulnerable?
#5: Express gratitude.
Sometimes, it can feel easier to thank a colleague or a friend than our partners. We’re just in the habit of doing it, and we don’t take their actions for granted. With our partners, on the other hand, it’s different. We naturally expect more of them and so many of the things we do for one another are ingrained in who we are.
But because of that (not despite it!), we should be expressing thanks to the people closest to us who are our biggest supporters and fiercest champions. They’re the ones we should be recognizing without a second thought.
How can you express gratitude towards your partner today? Something like a sweet text, a heartfelt word, or a sincere note are sure to go a long way. This will not only make them happier, but it will reinforce which behaviours and actions mean the most to you.
So there you have it – five relationship-building activities that you can try with your partner today. If you try any of these, leave me a comment below! And please share your favourite ways to strengthen your relationship. I’d love to hear it!