Before the time of swiping right to find a mate or stalking social media accounts to find common interests before a big date, people actually used to bond by — wait for it — getting to know one another. Nowadays, it seems like old fashioned bonding methods for couples have sunk to the bottom of the ocean and corroded in a dark abyss. For instance, some couples result to liking their SO other's pictures on Instagram or Facebook as a way to show affection or opt to give a gift card instead of writing a poem or love letter — honestly, can't a girl get a sonnet every once in a while? Is that too much to ask? Maybe. And because the divorce rate is about 50 percent or higher, especially for subsequent marriages, it seems like a good idea to bring back some of those old fashioned bonding habits to help keep the love alive.
For instance, licensed marriage and family therapist Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, claims in an interview with Bustle over email that even a phone call can liven up a relationship. "[Give your SO] a phone call. Not just any phone call. Some couples get bogged down in logistics: who’s picking up the dry cleaning, who’s taking the kid to the doctor, what’s for dinner, etc. But call each other to say hi, or to see how your partner’s day is going. A call is a small way to feel more connected during a busy day."
Overall, being in a relationship with someone means you promise to share your life with theirs so why not take it up a notch by doing some old-school hacks to become closer with your partner? Not sure what exactly you should do? Here are nine old-fashioned ways couples used to bond that we should bring back.
1. Spend Quality Time Without Technology
While there's nothing wrong with sitting next to your SO on the couch, scrolling on Instagram, I wouldn't necessarily call it "quality time." "While cell phones were not always a thing, couples used to —gasp — dialogue. Today's couples need to take time to put away their phones and their tablets and just sit down and commiserate. It does so much to recharge their intellectual intimacy," says certified relationship coach & owner of Maze of Love Chris Armstrong in an email with Bustle.
2. Write Them A Letter
Even though confessing your love for your SO is sweet to do on Facebook, it would probably mean so much for to them if you sincerely express your emotions to them through a letter — because, honestly, do you remember the last thing you told your SO exactly how you feel about them? "Nowadays we text, but that’s easy and quick. A hand-written love letter shows more effort and care. It takes time to think out what to write and to actually write it. It’s more thoughtful and romantic than a text," says Chlipala
3. Go For A Drive
Instead of watching a movie or scrolling through Instagram with your SO, opt to spend a few hours in a car driving. Being in a car secluded from the world allows you and your SO to just focus on deep conversations. "Back when cars were still a (sorta) new thing, the Sunday drive was a nice way to pay the roads a visit and just be together. Today's couples could really stand to jump into their cars, turn OFF the radio, and just drive. Sit close together, hold hands, and enjoy each other's company on the back roads or at a time when the roads are emptier than normal," says Armstrong.
4. Read A Book To Each Other
There's something innocent and endearing about reading to someone you care about. It might be nostalgic due to the fact that your parents probably read to you and it made you feel safe and loved. Recreating these act with your SO can allow you two to become closer. It can become a nightly bonding ritual before you both head to bed. "Pick a book you both want to read and alternate reading to each other. It can be an intimate hobby to share together that can also deepen your connection as you discuss the book and learn more about how the other thinks and feels," says Chlipala.
5. Create A Mixtape
Remember when your crush would send you mixtapes of love songs and it made your heart swell up with love? You can still do the same for your current partner by making a playlist and sending it to them through email or text. "A modern twist on an old-school tradition. Back in the day, we made mixed tapes or CDs for each other. Surprise your partner with meaningful love songs that convey your feelings for him or her," says Chlipala.
6. Play Board Games
"Play board games in which you both learn something about one another," says psychotherapist Janet Zinn, LCSW in an interview with Bustle over email. This date night idea can bring out you and your partner's competitive spirit, which is another great way to flirt with them and keep the relationship on its toes.
7. Go On A Road Trip
While going on an aimless drive is romantic, planning a whole trip around this experience could be even better. Pick a random destination and explore a new town with no agenda. Spending money on experiences rather than items can make you appreciate the quality time you have with your partner that much more. "We often go on vacations, but the adventure of exploring places together one after another really bonds couples," says Zinn.
8. Try Something Completely New
"Do something neither in which one of you has experience. You both discover things about yourself and are vulnerable when you don’t know something, which can open up something wonderful for both of you. An example of this is skydiving, an improv class, a bartending class, a dance class," says Zinn. Whatever you decide to do with your partner, make sure you both are up for it. The more enthusiastic you both are to try something new, the better the experience might be.
9. Mail A Card
Snail mail seems like a thing of the past, so it would probably make your SO crazy happy if they receive a random card in the mail. Take it up a notch by writing a little love note inside the card to express to your partner exactly how much you care. "Give a card just because, not because there’s a special occasion. Include a brief note telling your partner why they are special to you," says Chlipala.
Being in a relationship, especially a LTR relationship, doesn't mean you should completely forget about wooing your significant other. Use some of these old-fashioned romantic tricks to bond with your partner in crime. They'll probably appreciate the extra effort and may even return the favor.