Keeping the relationship dynamic intact while going through the chores of everyday life seems next to impossible. Things change, for better or for worse, but we all somehow romanticize over the idea of keeping the flames up, trying to hold on to whatever chemistry it was that brought us together for dear life.
Relationships evolve. And that is putting it mildly; for what I’ve experienced things are never static but rather in a constant state of change and flux. And this is a good thing- as you change, as we all change, so does a relationship. The thing is to allow change while still partially holding on to whatever dynamic we previously had. Making sure things are always “the way they were”, and old flames are still burning, one perfect practice you ought to subscribe to is setting aside special days when you date your significant other.
Naively sounding, I’ve seen this practice adopted by many successful and long-lasting relationships and marriages. The concept of it is very basic and simple, and as long as you are dedicated to the idea and never miss a date, this habit will not only going to preserve the flames, but make them burn even brighter. Flowery prose aside, let us dig into it…
The habit of dating your partner
Many people, myself included, simply forget that they are not immune to what life brings along. For some this might mean responsibilities like raising a child, and for others the routine of everyday life and all the repetitiveness that usually creeps in. As we all react to these stimuli differently, our relationships follow a same curve- while some can easily adapt to circumstances others are used to a certain dynamic of things.
Time indeed takes its tool over long term relationships, and as with everything else in life, they are subjects of habits as well. The habit to be spontaneous, caring, curious for one another… or the habit to retrieve into your own world, into responsibilities, boredom…
Good relationships, as any other successful endeavor, depend on doing the right things over and over again. There are days when things appear to be rather blue, and others when it seems as though all hell is breaking loose, but as long as you continue to subscribe to the same policies that evolved your relationship into what both of you became satisfied with, such streaks of restlessness usually last shorter and are easily overcome.
One of the habits you ought to welcome into your life is the habit of setting some time aside each week where you dedicate only to one another.
How to do it right?
Not making any false claims, I must say I don’t know the best way to approach this. The truth is, for better or worse, that there is nobody on this planet that holds the answer to what dating should look like in a long relationship.
We all have our preferences, history behind us, and a specific and singular dynamic which only describes two partners at a time. Here is my advice…
Make this a weekly thing, say every Tuesday, and stick with it for whatever it takes. There will be times when you might not feel like doing it at all, but remember, habits work only if we stay with them day in and day out.
You can set rules- like not talking about work at all- or go with it as you deem appropriate. You can try interesting ideas, and do things you never experienced before, or you can return to old places and see whether your favorite restaurant still has that old dog you’ve found very cute back then.
Stay away though from replaying old dates for the sake of reviving old memories. Often times- and it depends on your relationship as well as the type of people the two of you are- this might provoke nostalgia or even depress you a tiny bit. Go out and have fun- like it is your first time together; like it is your last.
Here are couple of date ideas
If studies have shown that experiences make us happier than possessions, the same holds true for relationships as well. While fancy gifts can spoil us for a second or two, it is deep into an experience where we find ourselves swept away.
I will list few date ideas, but you can really open your imagination and let it roam wild. Enough chatter, here we go:
Have a date in the supermarket and see it with different eyes
I’m thinking Walmart and the likes. You see, circling the rafts for an hour or two without thinking about buying anything will make you come up with millions of funny and silly ideas and jokes… Me and my girlfriend laugh like crazy, and usually avoid hanging in there for more than two hours because we are called through the speaker. I know that this idea might seem borderline insane for many, but trust me, it makes for good times and good memories. If you are not the type of people who would feel comfortable doing this, well then, keep scrolling.
Try different foods together
Cooking is usually a good bet, but for starters you would like to avoid your place and hang out elsewhere. So go ahead and visit all foreign cuisine restaurants and activate your senses- it’s been proven that people connect more, and usually have a better time when activating their taste and smell senses. I would so much love to cite you a paper from one study or another, but you will have to take my word for now.
If you are tight on your budget and cannot afford to visit restaurants often, order some food and take the date to a park or someplace nice in the open.
Watch a show or any life performance
I’m more of a guy who wants to see an orchestra performance, and my girlfriend usually goes for the theatre. Make a compromise and go see any life performance in your area. You will feel uplifted, and have something else to talk about later on.
Go to the movies
Nothing makes us more engaged than seeing a movie together and then going over every little detail about it. Go and see something you usually won’t alone, and build some new experiences while being together. This, as well as the previous one, can be combined with a walk through the park or anything else really.
Bowling, table tennis, pool…
It’s not an eighth grade date, I hear you saying- I know that, but bear with me… Moving and being more physical is usually associated with higher degree of euphoria, pleasant feelings, happiness… So it does make sense to a degree, right?
You will have a great time, I guarantee you that.
Not to sound like I’m listing my earlier dates with my girlfriend, ice skating is indeed an excellent idea. You will move, sweat some, have fun, have a laugh at one another for making silly falls, the whole nine yards… It takes you away from the ordinary and repetitive aspect of everyday life.
The more immersed you are into your activity during the date, I’ve found it to be even better.
Weekend dates on a bike
Cross-country mountain biking is a favorite of mine. I’ve been wise enough to infect my girlfriend with the same bug that bit me and consumed me entirely, early into our relationship so we now go biking together.
Nature, adrenaline, scenic sights, fresh air, a lot of physical activity… Need I continue and say more?
Play video games together
The X-box, PS, or simply take two joysticks and plug them into your laptop…
I’ve never been an advocate for video games in recent years, though I’ve played some heavily during my junior high years. Regardless of the fact of whether you are into them or not, try and give this idea a spin.
The more things you have in common, and the more experiences you go over together, guess what? The further you will connect, stay connected, or reconnect…
I know that I preach about experiences over possessions, so one would wonder what the heck an X-box is doing into this list… When it comes to possessions, seek those that will supply you with opportunities to enjoy interesting experiences- like the X-box for example. Throw in the Kinect device, and you will thank me later.
My advice is to make these dates come later into the rotation, simply because you want to go out more in the beginning.
Play a sport, go for a run, do P90 together
This falls into another category entirely, since we are not talking about weekly dates anymore; Nonetheless- as you begin to practice your new habit for dating again, mutual activities might start to become more numerous than before.
Consider these – book a tennis court for an hour, go for a swim, and jog together each evening before retreating to the couch, or commit to go together over a workout program such as the new P90.
Having another “thing of your own” will make flames burn even brighter.
I can now go ahead and list every activity that involves two people and call it a date idea, but it is more fun leaving that for you to go over. For now, try and set the habit up and running, and commit to never break the chain.
Here is to fun dates and amazing relationships!