Article: How Trying New Things Together Can Strengthen Relationships
How Trying New Things Together Can Strengthen Relationships
When you’re fresh into a relationship, everything can feel new and exciting. But, over time, as you share your lives together, you might find yourself in a more stagnant routine with your partner—after all, life is hectic and many of us are just trying to finish everything on our never-ending list of responsibilities. Trying new things together can be a fun way to spice up your relationship, strengthen your bond, and fall in love all over again.
Whether it’s taking a pottery class, signing up for a recreational sport, or meditating together, here are all the ways trying new things together can strengthen your relationship.
“Doing new things together strengthens your friendship, which is the foundation of your relationship,” says Glidden. She recommends incorporating new things like taking an evening walk or planning a weekly connection time or date night as simple approaches to trying something new in your relationship as they will “give you the opportunity to talk and share with each other in a relaxed and fun way.”
Dr. Marcia Longley, a clinical psychologist who has written extensively on relationship psychology says working on something together can also strengthen relationships. “Few things make bonds stronger than working and achieving something together as a team,” she notes. “If you have a home project you’ve been considering, for example, make it a fun opportunity to work together,” she adds, noting how taking on tasks together can create an opportunity to feel stronger together.
“Doing new things together creates excitement and fun and continues to give you new things to talk about and dream about,” says Glidden. She explains that doing things like taking a class, reading a book, or cooking together are ways that strengthen that bond and enjoyment of each other and help contribute to the conversations in your relationship.
How to Try New Things Together
Before jumping into giving new things a try, Glidden says you first want to figure out what things you can do to strengthen your relationship and set a clear intention together. “Often, I find with couples I work with, that they are trying to do this from a place of resentment or disappointment rather than focusing on what they really want, which is a deeper connection with their partner,” Glidden explains. “So, start with a clear intention about what you desire and why and allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest about your desire for a deeper connection,” she adds. From that place, Glidden says it is so much easier to access ideas that work for the two of you and that you can both enjoy.
Trying new things together doesn’t need to get over complicated. Even if you have different interests, you can find ways to mix up your relationship with fun activities that you both enjoy. For example, Glidden recommends volunteering together as a powerful shared experience. “Pick a charity, cause, or organization that you both feel passionate about and offer your time together,” she explains. “It builds your bond with each other by giving back to your community together,” she adds. For another simple way to do something new, Glidden recommends leaving each other notes or giving each other a compliment every day. “So often we focus on what we don’t like, practice focusing on what you love about your partner and tell them one thing every day,” she encourages. “Sharing appreciation and gratitude builds trust and intimacy which strengthens your bond and connection with each other,” she adds.
Another fun and easy way to try something new is to learn each other’s love languages. “As you explore the different ways to express love, you can let each other know which expressions are most important to each of you,” says Dr. Longley. “It could be that your partner most appreciates physical touch but you tend to respond with physical touch—understanding that means you can remove misunderstandings and better align with each other,” she adds.
Whatever activity you choose to try, Glidden says it’s important to be open and willing to step outside of your box and get silly. Letting go and surrendering to a new activity—be it a dance class, art practice, or the simple act of complimenting each other—can feel vulnerable and sometimes even embarrassing at first, but allowing yourself to step into it and have fun with it can create deeper opportunities for connection, which can strengthen your bond.