15 Old-Fashioned Ways Couples Used To Bond That We Should Bring Back
It's always possible to bond with your partner — even in this super modern and busy world of ours. But if it feels like your relationship could stand to go even deeper, you may want to try out a few old-fashioned ways couples used to remain close, and see if it doesn't help you feel closer to your partner, too.
By tearing a page from the past, and trying new things, you'll definitely have more fun in your relationship. But even more importantly are the reasons why these bonding activities can be so effective.
In today's world, "there are so many ways couples can let their work and other obligations get in the way of their relationship," relationship expert and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. There are many distractions, she says, and it can all add up to a lack of closeness.
But these old school tips which encourage you to slow down and be present with each other, can come to the rescue. "Couples just need to carve out time not only for themselves, but for each other and to work on their relationship," Rappaport says. "Not making time will make it difficult for the relationship to grow and become more loving and richer as time goes by." So making it a priority will be key.
Read on for a few old-fashioned ways couples used to bond that we should definitely bring back — all in the name of slowing down and feeling closer again.
1. Go On Walks
It sounds so simple, and yet nothing beats a slow stroll with your partner as a way of reconnecting after a long day.
"Talking a long romantic walk was all the rage back in Jane Austen’s heyday, and it’s an underrated way to strengthen a bond with someone," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells Bustle.
Go around the block, walk through the park, or choose a pretty destination and cruise around there. If you two make this a tradition, it'll definitely help you feel closer together.
2. Write Love Letters
Whether you're mailing letters to each other, or leaving them out on the kitchen counter in the morning, this is a cute way to stay connected.
"Letter writing is a forgotten art," Graber says. "It’s both romantic and a great way to connect with someone — especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship."
Texts and emails are fine, too. But throwing in the occasional hand-written note is something that "can be a great way to express how you really feel about someone, and you can personalize the experience by choosing a specific type of paper or using a unique seal," Graber says. How sweet is that?
3. Chat On The Phone
Again, nothing wrong with texts or emails. But to truly stay connected, you may want to make like the olden days, and actually talk on the phone, too.
"Because texts can be written off-the-cuff and almost anywhere, a phone call signals that you value this person, and you’re making the time to talk to them," Graber says.
4. Create Weekly Rituals
If you don't already have them, it may be time to create a few daily or weekly rituals that are all your own, just like couples did before life got so busy.
"Couples bonded over daily routines that gave them time to relax and enjoy each other's presence," Marlena Cole, professional relationship expert and life coach, tells Bustle. "Setting aside regular time to spend together keeps you connected in a busy and noisy world."
5. Go Out Dancing
You don't have to be good at dancing to enjoy the old-fashioned art of tearing it up on the dance floor. All you have to do is get out there and try.
"Dancing is scientifically-proven to strengthen the bond you have with your dance partner," Graber says. And that's true even if you end up spending the evening laughing, and stepping on each other's toes.
6. Plan Weekend Getaways
If you've been feeling distant lately, try not to let your busy lives get in the way of traveling together and experiencing new things, even if it means taking small weekend excursions.
"The idea of renting a hotel room for a quiet night or a weekend getaway still provides that element of getting away," Rappaport says. And it might be just what your relationship needs, to keep that spark alive.
7. Eat Dinner Together
"Couples used to make it a point to have dinner together, to spend quality time with one another," Rappaport says. "They would discuss how their day went, their plans for a future, and reaffirm their mutual goals. They also might turn the dinner into a romantic one as well."
It's not something you have to do every night, of course. But setting aside time to eat together — instead of always rushing through the meal, or eating on the go — will help you feel closer together.
8. Bond Over A Board Game
Nothing feels more old-fashioned these days than breaking out a board game, and spending a few tech-free hours together. As Rapapport says, "While couples today may not have a lot of time, they can always make plans to do this from time to time."
9. Spend A Night In
Sometimes a bonding moment can be as simple as "sitting on the couch and watching TV," matchmaker and relationship expert Eileen Fisher tells Bustle. So if that sounds up your alley, set aside time to do so as a couple.
To give it an old-fashioned touch, though, make sure you put away any other distractions for the evening, and make it all about spending time together.
10. Surprise Each Other With Gifts
While you certainly don't have to break the bank, there's something very sweet about surprising each other with small gifts, or small tokens of love.
"The sending of unexpected flowers, candy, and small presents [...] was a tried and true way that couples used to express their love to their partner," Rappaport says. "Couples who loved each other used to do this on occasions in addition to anniversaries and birthdays."
11. Get To Know Your Neighbors
"Back in the day, everyone knew their neighbor [like they were family,]" Cole says. Folks would go outside, sit on the porch, and chitchat with people as they walked by.
"It was a way to talk and laugh and let go of your problems," Cole says, which is something we definitely need to bring back. But more importantly, it was a way of creating mutual friends.
By inviting neighbors over for dinner or drinks, and planning it all out with your partner, you'll be sharing in a mutual goal — and enjoying each other's company.
12. Throw A "Make-Up" Party
Decades ago, when partners were upset with each other, they might throw what was known as a "make-up party," as a way of coming back together after a tough time, Cole says.
To modernize the tradition for today, you might try planning more get-togethers with friends, to relieve some of the stress of everyday life.
By focusing on your relationship as a couple, as well as your relationships with others, you'll certainly be deepening your bond.
13. Tell Each Other Stories
Over dinner, or whilst out on your walk, take time to tell each other stories from your past.
"Storytime [...] would always allow for the day to end in learning more about your mate, while connecting over old stories about your childhood or even about how you first met," Cole says. "The facts may have changed, but it leads into a lot of laughter and brings up those emotions from when you first fell in love. "
14. Schedule Date Nights
If you can, make like the couples of days gone by, and set aside one night each month to go on a real, bonafide date.
"This is a great way to have that commitment to spending time together doing something that both of you enjoy," Mackenzie Riel, a sex and wellness educator for TooTimid, tells Bustle.
It could mean going out to dinner, walking around a museum, listening to live music — whatever sounds like a good time to you.
15. Go To A Drive-In Movie Theater
If you can find one, nothing will top going to a drive-in movie theater for the ultimate old-fashioned date night. "The drive-in theater show movies on a huge screen outside," Cole says, and you can bring anything along with you, including food, drinks, blankets.
"You [can also] talk and laugh through the movie without disturbing the people next to you," Cole says. And, of course, get a lot closer than you might do in a movie theater — making for quite the bonding experience.
While couples back in the day still had to make an effort to connect, it may have been slightly easier for them due to the lack of distraction, busyness, and stress we experience today.
So to bond with your partner, try setting all that aside and returning to the habits of the the slower days, such as walking outside, sitting down to dinner, and truly focusing on each other.