When you enter into a relationship and start to become serious, you become a partnership. From there, it's all about experiencing things together, as a unit who fiercely has each other's backs. While some experiences will barely make a dent in your relationship, perhaps even being completely unnoticeable, other experiences aren't just unforgettable, but worth having simply because they bring you closer together. Even if you don't realize it at the time.
But not all of these experiences need to be as huge as dealing with overcoming a tragedy together or — gasp! — going on a three-week-long backpacking excursion through Southeast Asia. In fact, even throwing a party together can be an experience that teaches you about each other and brings you closer.
"For instance, if one of you is a hermit and the other is a social butterfly, a party may be a compromise over a keg and a rave," New York–based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, tells Bustle.
So if you're wondering what sort of experiences will bring you and your partner closer in a long-term relationship, here are some to get started on experiencing together right now, from meeting the parents to attending an important event together.
1Making Financial Plans Together
As much as we might hate to admit it, money is a big deal in relationships. It remains one of the top things couples fight about and how we spend and save money says a lot about who we are. For example, in my last serious relationship, there was always a major issue about the difference between a a "need" and a "want." My idea of a need was my partner's idea of a want... so you can only imagine the arguments that ensued.
"Money is one of the big challenges couples face, and because it’s difficult for many of them to talk about it, they don’t," says Masini. "Instead, they sweep money issues under the rug — and hope! This is not a very practical way to handle a relationship — or one that leads to success. Couples that discuss money together, grow closer and as a result, feel more intimate. This paves the way for all kinds of goodness. So, if you haven’t, the end of the year is a great time to talk about money. If you don’t know how to bring it up, decide to make a money bucket list together!"
2Making A Big Purchase Together
"Whether it’s a bed, a sofa, car, or home, the way you each approach these purchases, singularly and together, is important," says Masini. "Overcoming differences and learning about yourselves and each other by shopping and buying big together, is something that defines the relationship, and therefore, is a great task to take on if you want to get closer."
Getting back to that idea of "need" versus "want," this concept is something that you and your partner will be forced to explore together when you make a big purchase together. Do you really need the bed with the fancy bookshelves in the headboard or do you just want it? Trust me; this shopping experience will definitely bring you closer — like going to Ikea together; it could either make or break your relationship.
3Meeting The Parents
As Masini says, meeting the parents isn't just proof that the relationship is serious, but a landmark moment in any relationship. The relationship you build with your partner's parents and the relationship your partner builds with your partners can "create the future of your relationship together," says Masini.
Sure, this one will depend on how close you and your partner each are with your families. But if you are close, introducing your partner to people who mean the world to you is definitely a milestone.
4Meeting The Friends
Similar to meeting the parents and possible as huge a deal is meeting the friends of each other, or more specifically, the best friends. If your partner's BFF doesn't like you or vice versa, it could be a serious problem. For some people, best friends have quite a say in each other's lives, maybe even more so than how much say a parent has. Because of this, you don't just want to meet each other's friends, but do whatever it takes to foster a relationship with them.
5Hosting A Social Gathering Together
Because hosting a party solo isn't stressful enough, let's toss in your partner and have the two of you try to pull it off without a hitch! Seriously, hosting a social gathering together will definitely bring you closer in that your different personalities will want different things and have different expectations for the party. You'll be forced to indulge in a give and take, in order to keep each other happy, and learn even more about each other in the process.
"Chances are you’ve got different styles, so bridging gaps and finding new avenues that create your own style as a couple, will bring you closer together as a couple," says Masini. "Hosting a party together is a big deal — especially for the first time. It meshes your social and creative styles and gives you the opportunity to recognize discrepancies and bridge gaps."
6Going To An Important Event Together
On the flip side of hosting a party together, is attending an event together. Whether it's your a family member's wedding, your best friend's birthday, or an even for a charity close to your heart, going to something that means a lot to you with your partner for the first time — and how you feel with them by your side — is a big moment.
7Going On Your First Vacation Together
Even if it's a weekend getaway or a short trip, traveling with a partner for the first time may show you a different side to them — how they handle stressful situations, how flexible they are, and how they interact in a new place or with new people. Your first trip can be a total disaster or a turning point in your relationship where you learn a lot about your partner.
While these experiences may happen at all different points of your relationship, there's no denying that they'll bring you closer together. If that's what you're looking to achieve in your relationship, then put these on your to-do list.