If you're in a long-term relationship, you may think you've tried every date in the book. But have you figured out which dates are truly suited to you? The best date to bring you and your partner closer is one that makes use of both your strengths. Hence, the concept of "strength dates," which James Pawelski, PhD and Suzann Pileggi, MAPP present in their book, Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts.
Strength dates are what they sound like: activities that incorporate both partners' greatest strengths. They're based on positive psychology, whose philosophy says that if you focus on the best things about yourself and your relationship, they'll grow. "Having strengths dates with your partner is an effective way to deepen your connection," Pileggi tells Bustle. "Exercising our strengths on a daily basis increases individual well-being. And when we acknowledge and help facilitate our partner’s strengths, we are happier in our relationships and experience greater sexual satisfaction." Strength dates can be especially powerful for those concerned that they're losing themselves in their relationships, because they let you bond with your partner while celebrating yourself.
So, how does it work? Here's how to plan the perfect strength date for you and your partner and continue exercising and celebrating your strengths, according to Happy Together.
1Find Out What Your Strengths Are
Many people love online quizzes, so this part can become its own date activity: Take the VIA Institute on Character’s free 15-minute strength survey to find out what your biggest strengths are, and have your partner do the same. Talk about your results and see if you agree with each other's or think any strengths went unmentioned. Then, decide which strengths you want to use to plan the date. They can be from the survey or just something you or your partner has observed.
2Tell "Strength Stories"
"Strength stories" are stories about you and your partner that illustrate times you used your strengths. Once you know you and your partner's strengths, tell a story of a time they used theirs and a time you used yours, then switch and have your partner do the same. This will boost both your confidence and make you feel mutually appreciated.
3Pick A Date That Uses Your Strengths
Figure out a date that combines both of your strengths. For example, if your partner is creative and you're outgoing, you might enjoy going to one of those wine-and-painting classes where you can bring out your inner artist while meeting new people. Or, if you're adventurous and your partner is a great problem-solver, you could make use of your strengths on a camping trip.
If you want to make the most of your date, savor everything enjoyable that happens on it. As you're enjoying your food or an activity, tell your partner how happy you are to be on the date. Or, even better, tell them why you enjoy spending time with them so much. Take a break from your conversation to get into the moment by attending to the sights, sounds, and sensations you're experiencing.
Show gratitude for your partner's strengths by complimenting them. Whenever you thank them for something, point out what strengths led them to provide it. And if your partner compliments you on your strengths, resist the temptation to brush it off. Instead, thank them for the compliment, really take it in, then ask them more about what they mean to get even more compliments. There's enough to go around!
6Remember Your Strengths During Rough Times
It's easy to appreciate you and your partner's strengths during the good times, but it becomes more challenging during conflicts. However, your strengths are your best tool in resolving conflict. So, in tough situations, ask yourself how you can use your strengths to build a more harmonious relationship.
The best news? Your strengths are a gift that keeps giving, because the more you exercise and celebrate them, the more they'll grow. So start practicing.