I recently wrote an article about sexy activities that help to strengthen bonds in the bedroom. But what about the rest of the day? The PG-rated stuff, like sharing a cup of morning coffee or yelling at the television together when someone dies on Game of Thrones? Activities that bring couples closer together can make a huge difference in the overall mood and satisfaction levels of your relationship. That's because (whether you've been together for years or just started seeing each other), it's all about the small stuff — the habits that happy couples practice on a daily basis to bring themselves closer together.
Carving out time to bond in a mindful way not only allows for fun hobbies that you've probably never tried before; it also cultivates trust, communication, and that feeling of "my partner really cares about me," which any relationship can benefit from.
These are also great projects to try if you find yourselves in a slump — the kind where nitpicking overtakes positivity and you seem to be on each other's cases more than usual. That's because they encourage physical touch, creating things together, problem solving, and communication, all of which have the potential to transform a relationship from the inside out.
1. Keep The Conversation Flowing
Especially if you've been together a while, it might seem like you know everything there is to know about your partner, but keeping communication alive can really reignite the spark you felt in the beginning. Couples Tabletopics has more than 120 questions that challenge and inspire you to learn things you never knew about each other, prompting communication and bonding like never before. This version is tailored specifically to relationships, and it's an awesome way to reconnect or get the ball rolling in the first place.
2. Solve Problems Together
Some couples swear by jigsaw puzzles as a stress-relieving bonding activity, but Portal 2 is one of the best problem-solving games I've played in a very long time, and I found it twice as engaging. Two players cooperate and think collectively to solve spacial puzzles through the use of portals, and because it's for PC, you can play it side by side on your respective laptops or long-distance.
3. Start Every Morning With Some Thoughtfulness
Small things make all the difference when it comes to helping your partner to feel appreciated and loved, and you're likely to get that same affection back if you highlight the positives. Make your partner's morning coffee the way they like it, and top it off with a little love note using these BIA Cordon Bleu chalkboard mugs. This set of four is made of bone china, and each mug has a different design and a chalkboard area where you can write in your own little message. They're also durable and dishwasher-safe.
4. Nourish Your Relationship With Food
Creating something edible together doesn't just help to nourish creativity and bonding. Sex and food are actually linked in the brain because of similar hormones and sensory reactions. Date Night In is an innovative cookbook with tantalizing and delicious recipes for you to cook together, and it's got a narrative that's very genuine and insightful. One reviewer said, "I am a cookbook junkie so it takes a lot for me to be over the top impressed with a cookbook and this one does just that." It's not just full of amazing recipes, they said, but the stories that go along with the recipes are endearing and authentic.
5. Head To Bed At The Same Time For A Cuddle Session
Couples who go to bed at the same time apparently have a closer relationship, because they're more likely to engage in physical touch, and this Avana Duo memory foam snuggle pillow makes things even cozier. It's designed to help you comfortably spoon with its ergonomic curves and support, so your head, neck, and limbs are comfortable (and not overtaken with pins and needles) while you cuddle.
6. Harness Your Wanderlust To Strengthen Your Relationship
Travel not only helps you get out of your comfort zone -- it encourages bonding and excitement between couples because of the new and challenging situations you find yourselves in. The Bucket List World Map has a scratch silver coating that, when removed, reveals amazing details and bright colors. The map is also filled with hidden gems and must-visit destinations all over the world, so you can inspire your next couple's road trip or international vacation.
7. Encourage Touch With Natural Massage Oils
"Touch plays a crucial role in generating and enhancing love," said Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D. to Psychology Today. "People feel more satisfied in a relationship in which physical affection is a significant part." This set of three Plantlife aromatherapy massage oils encourages relaxation and touching with 100 percent pure and natural ingredients. They use skin-healthy blends and essential oils to create soothe sore muscles and assist in relaxation, and they're all non-greasy and easily absorbed for a designated massage night. One reviewer said, "I am really picky with massage oils and I loved all 3 of these ones."
8. Stray From The Usual Netflix And Pizza Night
According to marriage and family therapist Esther Boykin, "We often have a romantic notion of fun — that it will just happen spontaneously if we are with the right person. And while that's true some of the time, in a long-term relationship it requires a conscious effort to make fun a priority." This date night bucket list set comes with a cute decorative can and tons of new and innovative prompts printed on birch wood sticks. "It gives us ideas and a chance to do something we most likely would not have thought of otherwise," says one reviewer. "It's got some great ideas."
9. Keep Your Sex Lives New And Exciting
Keep your sex life new and exciting by incorporating some toys, like the LuLu #4 Plus. It's a rotating wand that adjusts, so it can be used on any part of the body — even during penetration to stimulate both partners at once. It's also made of high-quality medical grade materials, recharges with a USB port, is entirely waterproof, and has five speed settings to personalize your experience to your bodies.
10. Find Time To Actually Communicate During The Day
A quick "How was your day?" might seem like you're making conversation, but actually taking time out to communicate could seriously deepen your bonds. Our Q&A a Day is a journal for couples that asks one interesting question every day, encouraging couples to sit down and create a time capsule of their relationship over the span of three years. It's a great daily exercise that reviewers can't seem to get enough of: "Not only is it fun, this journal has been the beginning of a lot of great conversations in our relationship...It has become a part of my daily routine, and I can't wait to answer the questions day after day."
11. Find A Way To Unplug Together
If you often find yourselves zoning out on your phones in each other's presence, take the time to unplug and get away. Plan a camping trip with the Winner Outfitters double camping hammock, which fits two people and comfortably supports up to 500 pounds. You can set the whole thing up in under three minutes, it fits into a small, easy-to-carry bag, and reviewers are saying that it's ridiculously comfortable, really high-quality, and the best hammock you can buy.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.