When you're deciding what to do on your next date night, you might check Yelp or Google for activities. You probably don't look through scientific journals. But that's where you should be looking if you want to find couples' activities scientifically proven to improve your relationship. Since your time together is limited and precious, you'd might as well try to get the most out of it, right?
When you've been together for a while — especially if you live together — it can get easy to be thoughtless about how you spend your time and just sit around and talk or watch TV. But if you want to avoid getting bored with your relationship or drifting apart, it's important to keep planning dates and couples' nights in. "It takes work to keep the romance alive and the couple has to make a conscious decision to put this work in," Ravid Yosef, dating and relationship coach at LoveLifeTBD.com, tells Bustle. “Schedule regular date nights that do not include your couch or PJs." Couches and PJs are great, of course, but they shouldn't be the only thing on the menu.
If you want something to do that'll bring you closer to your partner, here are a few science-backed ideas to inspire you.
1Answer The Famous 36 Questions
2Work Out Together
The endorphins released when you exercise can help you feel more positively toward each other, and getting your heart rate up can increase excitement.
"Research shows that people can grow closer by revealing and sharing new thoughts, ideas and fantasies with each other, [and] reading a book and then discussing it is a fun and entertaining way for couples to grow closer," psychotherapist Ken Page, LCSW, told P&G Everyday. Plus, studies show that reading makes you more attractive, less stressed out, and more empathetic — all qualities we like to see in our partners.
4Give Your Home A Makeover
Couples who share household chores are happier with their sex lives, according to a study in The Journal of Marriage and Family. But washing dishes isn't much fun, so instead, designate a home improvement day when you both chip in to clean and beautify your place.
5Brave An Extreme Sport
There's data behind all those crazy Bachelor dates. A famous old study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that men who walked across a bridge way up in the sky were more likely to ask a woman out than ones who walked over one close to the ground. That's probably because the same feelings we get when we're nervous are associated with attraction, so they can actually make us feel more attraction. Plus, once you survive skydiving or Six Flags together, you'll form a bond that few can understand.
Whether or not these activities fulfill their intimacy-boosting promise, they do sound a lot more fun than going to the movies.