11 Romantic Traditions For Couples To Do At Night Experts Say We Should Bring Back
If it's starting to feel as if a busy and hectic life is getting in the way of connecting with your partner, then it may be time to give a few old-fashioned nighttime traditions a try. Not only can these things be fun — think playing board games, mixing up drinks, or going out for ice cream after dinner — but they can also slow you down just enough to truly reconnect. And that can, in many ways, be just the change your relationship needs.
"Old-fashioned traditions can be a way to reconnect with ourselves and our partner," Megan Little, PhD, LPC, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Reframe Your Story Counseling & Consulting, tells Bustle. "They get us back to being present, enjoying where we are and who we are with, and serving as a way to disconnect from our long to-do lists."
While it's fine to be busy and get things done, see how it feels to get rid of modern distractions — like work emails, texts, and even your favorite TV shows – and focus on each other in a different way. Read on below for a few charming things couples did back in the day that you may want to try, in order to slow down and feel closer together.
1. Cooking Dinner Together
While it's always OK to treat yourselves to takeout — especially if you're really busy — there's something so nice about cooking a homemade dinner. And maybe even turning that into a tradition.
"Making and creating something together, even if it is a simple dish, is a great bonding activity," Little says. "Cooking takes some time so it slows us down and makes us focus on what we are doing and who we are doing it with."
Between deciding what to make, chopping up ingredients, and deciding how to combine it all together, you'll both have to focus and be present — and that means putting aside all the other stuff that usually distracts from your relationship.
2. Sitting Down To Eat
After you're finished cooking, don't forget to actually sit down to eat, instead of dispersing or heading off to the couch. You might even fancy up the table with some candles to make it feel extra special, Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. But whatever you do, just remember it's all about taking time and enjoying each other's company without distractions.
This is, of course, something you can do at other meals, too. "Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, bringing back mealtime together should result in a longer lasting relationship as a result of the time to communicate and bond," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle.
3. Going For An Evening Stroll
Many couples used to take time after dinner to stroll around town. So if you and your partner are looking for an easy way to bond, consider adding this to your nighttime routine.
As you meander down the sidewalk, you'll naturally focus on the moment and being with each other. You may even find your walls lowering, Little says, and that you're both being a little more vulnerable than usual. There's just something about walking that can lead to in-depth conversations, and bring you closer together.
4. Playing A Board Game
Before there were a million and one distractions in our lives, board games were the thing to do when spending an evening together. So why not bring that back?
"Playing a board game or a card game together is a great way to spend time together, creating entertainment but also leaving room to talk to one another," Little says. "Plus who doesn't love some playful competition?"
You can look forward to trying out new games together and getting a solid board game collection going. And from there, you might even want to invite friends over on occasion, and turn it into an old-fashioned evening in.
5. Going Out For Dessert
Back in the day, "stepping out for a frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato, or an ice cream was a way people could get out of the house during the summer and get something to eat that would be cool and comforting," Davida Rappaport, a relationship expert and spiritual counselor, tells Bustle. "While it’s fine to have a frozen dessert in your freezer, just getting out can be a nice change of pace."
6. Mixing A Few Drinks
Nothing's more old time-y than wheeling a bar cart into the living room and mixing up a few drinks. "This was traditionally done in the 1950s and 1960s," Rappaport says, so you may even want to sweeten the deal by creating a few signature drinks from those eras or whatever else feels fancy and fun to make, like a Tom Collins or a sidecar.
If you're into it, this can become a relaxing evening tradition you both look forward to. Not to mention, learning new drink recipes together can be a great bonding experience, while also adding that slower, "old-fashioned" flair you're looking for.
7. Going Out For A Drive
Hopping in the car and going for a drive was another activity couples did back in the day, usually on weekends or after dinner when they had nothing else to do.
"[Couples] may have had a destination in mind, [such as] going out for dessert, coffee, or just driving with no destination in mind," Rappaport says. "It allowed them to spend time talking to each other and just being out."
Driving around and focusing on each other can spark conversations you might not have if you were busy doing other things. But even cruising around and listening to the radio can make for a peaceful and bonding night, too.
8. Watching Old Movies
To bring the old-fashioned vibe right to you, why not put on an old movie? You can really do it up by making seasoned gourmet popcorn and turning your living room into a theater, Bonnie Winston, matchmaker and relationship expert, tells Bustle, before curlinng up with a classic like Casablanca or When Harry Met Sally — whatever strikes your fancy.
As Winston says, it's impossible to watch movies like these without feeling romantic, which can make for a sweet way to spend an evening together.
9. Reading Out Loud To Each Other
Reading by yourself is always an enjoyable thing. But you can turn it into a couples activity too by reading out loud to your partner, Winston says. And vice versa.
This might mean sharing your favorite poetry with each other, or reading a few chapters of a book aloud. It's what couples did back in the day to impress each other, Winston says, but these days it can still be a simple yet interesting way to spend a night together.
10. Dancing Around The House
If you're feeling in the mood for a fun evening, put on music and dance around the house together. This might mean wiggling around to some vintage records, or putting on a romantic album and slow dancing around the kitchen. "You don’t even have to be the world’s best dancer," Scott-Hudson says. "Just have some laughs, be yourself, and have some fun."
11. Listening To The Radio
"Lie in bed together in the dark and listen to some old radio broadcasts, storytellers, or comedians on YouTube," Scott-Hudson says. This can have a totally different vibe from more modern evening activities, like watching TV shows or looking at your phones.
Plus, "there’s something romantic about holding each other and listening to a radio program together, especially on a dark and rainy night," Scott-Hudson says. Again, it's a great way to slow down and do something a bit out of the ordinary, as a way of feeling more connected and having more fun.