The 7 Bonding Experiences That Are Brick And Mortar For Romantic Relationships

Look, no one is saying there's anything wrong with date night. Date night is, like, OK. But is an overpriced Italian restaurant really the best place for you to learn something new about your partner, and for the two of you to grow as a couple? Just something to ponder the next time the two of you are sitting silently across from each other, following the waiter with your eyes because for the love of god, Montresor, would you bring over the goddamned bread basket already.

No, visiting a spendy Italian restaurant or going to the movies or whatever is not the stuff that will form unbreakable bonds between you and your significant other. But from personal experience, I know what will! Read on for seven experiences that are guaranteed to bond you and your mate like Krazy Glue.

1. Taking A Mini Road Trip

The occasional weekend getaway is a must for any couple (especially those living in congested, dirty urban areas). But sometimes, the trip up and back can be as memorable and important as the destination itself. Something about being on the road triggers old memories, deep thoughts, and interesting conversation. Plus, you discover the dumbest song ever on your partner’s iPod.

2. Having An Explosive Fight

Even conflict-avoidant couples blow up at each other every now and then, but it doesn't have to be as catastrophic as it seems at the time. In the words of psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Gail Saltz, "Arguing well can even result in further intimacy because it shows both of you that you can disagree yet find a way to compromise and still love each other." But there are things to keep in mind. First: If you're going to fight, fight healthily (yes, you can fight healthily). Second: The occasional quibble is fine, but try not to let bickering take over your day-to-day life together.

3. Cooking Together

The first time my boyfriend and I cooked together, I almost dumped a pot of bechamel over his head. Monsieur Know-It-All was convinced that if the sauce hadn’t thickened within 30 seconds, it was never going to thicken without the addition of waaay more flour. He was both extremely vocal and totally wrong about this. Anyway, we got through it, and now it’s how we simultaneously decompress and reconnect after long days. (A note: Grocery shopping has a similar trajectory and ultimate effect.)

4. Bar Hopping Sans Amis

Time isn’t wasted when you’re getting wasted, amirite?! But actually, you should totally try this if you’re the drinking type (and obviously, skip this one if you don’t drink). It can be a lot of fun knocking back way too many with just each other, especially if you’re used to going out in large groups.

5. Meeting Each Other's Hometown Friends

If your partner is from your hometown, sub in “childhood.” If you’re long out of school, sub in “college.” The idea is that these aren’t your primary friends, but they are still important figures in your lives. It’s the quickest way to learn a ton about your partner’s roots. (Though we’ll still have to sift through those embarrassing family photos. Yep, all of them).

6. Having Gross Sex

Look, it’s statistically impossible for every naked romp to be the best naked romp you’ve ever had. Sometimes it isn’t going to be that hot … or even hygienic. One of you will let shaving go, both of you will have morning breath, bodily fluids will make themselves known. And it will still be super fun, and you’ll still have way hot sex in the future. This is what love is, kids.

7. Finding "Your Show"

How many couples came together because of How I Met Your Mother ? How many snuggled up to marathon House of Cards ? And, when the sad day comes in a few years, how many divorces will be partially sparked by the series finale of Game of Thrones ?

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