It's common these days to have a busy schedule and a multitude of distractions. And as long as it isn't burning you out, then there's really nothing wrong with that. But when it comes to your relationship, it never hurts to slow down a little, and make an effort to
be closer to your partner — possibly with the help of a few old-school activities.
"If your relationship is going to be healthy and successful, it’s important that you put the effort into getting to know each other on a deeper level and bonding as a couple," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "The modern world has so many distractions that it can be hard to make the time needed to achieve this goal."
But in taking a moment to slow down and remove some of the chaos and distraction, you might notice that something big was missing from your relationship. "This is where 'old- fashioned' activities can be beneficial," Bennett says. "Anything that couples did before the widespread use of technology could have great value in bringing you and your partner together to
bond without distraction."
This might include things like putting away your phones for a few hours each night, going for walks or bike rides, or planning fancy date nights. Even simpler things, like holding hands and making more eye contact can make all the difference. Read on for a few things to do with your partner that may seem old-fashioned, but will definitely
make you feel closer, according to experts.
Make A Big Deal Out Of Dinner
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In today's fast-paced world, it's so easy to eat hurriedly while standing over the kitchen sink, or to quickly grab food while you're on the road. And while that's fine, it might be nice to slow down and have "real" dinners on occasion, too.
"Dinner used to be one of the few times that people in a household actually
had meaningful conversation," Bennett says. "Eating at a table together, with no distractions, might seem old-fashioned, but it forces you to make the everyday conversation necessary to help a relationship succeed."
If you don't already, consider starting the tradition of going for walks together — maybe in the morning or after dinner. It sounds so simple, but this can turn into one of the most meaningful moments of your day.
"You’d be amazed how beneficial it can be to take a short walk with your partner and talk to each other without other distractions," Bennett says. You don't need a destination; just a stroll around the block or through the park will do.
If you're both down for a little more love, go ahead and make a point of holding hands more often. "A tender embrace of the hand is a way to physically bond but also a way to remind them that you are there for them," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of
The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle.
Back when everyone had land lines, it was easier to let the phone ring and go to voicemail, instead of getting up to answer — and interrupting an evening at home with your partner.
Now that we have our phones on us 24/7, it can make it more difficult to ignore texts and calls. But why not try setting aside time to relax as a couple, without any tech? As Bennett says, "Putting away your devices and turning off the TV can make doing anything together
a bonding activity."
While adding more coffee dates into your everyday lives can be a
great way to bond, there's something extra nice about going on a bonafide date — especially if it's a little bit fancy.
To start, figure out how you and your partner want to define "fancy." For example, you might get dressed up, go out to dinner, and open doors for each other just for fun.
It's all about making the night a big deal from beginning to end, Dr. Klapow says. This can bring you closer together as it sets the evening apart from normal life, while also providing a specified — and potentially candlelit — time for you two to reconnect.
Go For A Ride In The Car
Back in the day, couples would go for a ride in the car with no destination in mind. The goal was simply to explore the open road, watch the scenery go by, and enjoy each other's company.
"This is a great way to bond with a partner, as it allows for some time where you can work on getting to know each other without the distractions of daily life,"
parenting blogger Audrey Marshall tells Bustle.
Of course, it can turn into a road trip if you want it to. But even going for a spin around town can do the trick.
Play Old School Board Games
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While it's fine to watch Netflix or play video games together, throwing in a few old-school games can prove to be bonding, too.
"Playing cards or a board game helps keep your relationships playful, curious, and exciting,"
Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Reading your partner's facial expressions and laughing about the game increases attachment and bonding."
Other chill activities, like doing a puzzle together or working on a craft, can be fun as well. And definitely have that "old-fashioned" vibe.
For this one, think along the lines of tucking a love note in each other's coats, picking up fresh flowers, or bringing each other coffee in the morning. These are "tangible gestures of love," Dr. Klapow says. And they can mean a lot.
Go On A Trip Once A Year
Our busy lives are making it tougher than ever to get away these days. And yet, if you want to maintain your connection, it can help to set aside time to get out of town for a while.
"Nothing fancy," Dr. Klapow says. "But this is your designated time alone." Whether it's a
weekend getaway or a big trip abroad, you will come back knowing more about each other.
And, if you keep going back to the same location — such as a beach house, or mountain cabin — it'll be even more meaningful, all thanks to the tradition.
Obviously, texting is convenient and not something you need to give up. But if you want to feel instantly closer to your partner, try making real phone calls instead.
"In this era of mass communication, we may
communicate with our partner far more frequently but in a much less personal manner," Dr. Klapow says. "Take time to talk to them about their day, their week, their thoughts."
This one might sound creepy, but if you think about how much time we spend staring at our phones, or doing work on a computer, then you'll realize how rare it's become to look up and
make eye contact with the people we love.
So from now on, try to look each other in the eye more often — especially when sharing sweet words. "Not just in passing, not every day as a routine but look them straight in the eye and let them know how you feel," Dr. Klapow says. Do this while cuddling in bed, and notice how deeply connected you feel.
It's these sweet, old-school moments that can really do the trick when it comes to bonding. They're all about slowing down and taking the time to really
be with each other, which is really something we need to bring back.