What if you took all the time you spent watching TV and used it to better connect with your partner?
Whether we’re in a new relationship or an old marriage, doing activities with your partner can increase your positive feelings toward them. They can help you communicate better, feel less lonely, and more connected.
Sometimes, we can get stuck in the same rut of doing the same old things. Exploring new activities can help create a new bonding experience. Or, looking at old activities through a new lens can create more meaning.
In theory, any activity a couple enjoys together can help them bond. However, there’s specific couple bonding activities that have been proven by science. Studies show that these can bring people closer together.
Read on to learn 10 science-backed couple bonding activities for better connection.
These couple bonding activities will help you better connect with your partner. Research proves that these things can bring people closer together. Whether you’re looking for a date night idea or something unique, consider the 10 couple bonding activities below.
Make a date out of the 20 questions game. Sit down with a drink, some snacks, and exchange questions. You can either prepare a list beforehand or pick from a list in front of you. Take turns answering the same question or ask different questions to each other.
I’m a big believer in the power of curiosity to learn about our partners and ourselves as individuals in a relationship.
One study found that curious people come off as more attractive. Others also say they feel closer to curious people, even after only one conversation. All in all? They say the trait promotes intimacy.
Asking questions is a great way to learn more about your partner: the big things and the small things. Asking follow-up questions can expand the dialogue and lead to things you’d never know otherwise. The deeper connection comes in moments of true curiosity for the asker and vulnerability for the answerer.
Like many of the couple bonding activities on this list, cooking with each other can be seen as a metaphor: Working together toward a goal or outcome. Whether you reach that goal perfectly or not matters less. Your seafood curry may taste like the bottom of the sea, but you’re still together.
If you usually cook with your partner, make it a date this time. Choose a new recipe that’s a little bit out of reach. Like, something that you’ll really have to work together to pull off.
In one survey, 88% of people in a relationship said cooking together was a great way to foster communication.
Hiking is another top choice on the list of couple bonding activities. When you’re hiking, there’s not a whole lot else to do but talk. I mean, you could be on your phone but you’re probably going to fall down a hill or walk into a tree so…
Maybe your partner isn’t much of a talker. Or perhaps you usually end up watching TV instead of connecting. Hiking can be the thing that gets you communicating. A walk could work too, but there are hills to fall down, which could mean more phone distraction.
Compared to walking in a mall, mothers and daughters who walked 20 minutes in an arboretum had more connection, more positive emotions, and fewer negative ones.
Take a night and plan somewhere you want to travel to with your partner — even if you don’t think you’ll actually go. Maybe you don’t have the money or your job is too demanding right now. Do it anyway.
Why? First, it’s fun to dream, right? But really, planning is saying something bigger. It’s implying you’re expecting to be with your partner that far into the future. For long-term couples, it’s showing you still have the interest to do new things. It can also revive your sense of exploration.
Studies show that travel is often used to improve communications within relationships and may reduce the possibility of divorce. You might think you won’t end up on that dream vacation but you could. There’s some research to suggest that visualizing can help you achieve something.
Massage is another great idea for couple bonding activities. It’s perfect if you’re looking to enhance feelings of love.
Research shows that massage increases your levels of oxytocin, the love hormone associated with bonding. It also decreases adrenocorticotropin, a chemical related to stress. But do we seriously need science to back this one up? I mean massage just feels good.
Make sure to take turns and use something for easy-gliding hands. Lotion would work in a pinch but for the best experience, grab some jojoba oil and your favorite skin-safe essential oil.
Come on, you knew this would be here!
Sex is one of the top ways to bond according to everyone who likes sex — and also science.
Being physical with your partner releases oxytocin, which increases feelings of trust, love, and bonding. This could be why the more some of us have sex and cuddle, the more we want it.
Learning how to dance together is a good way to spend time that forces you to focus on each other. As with other couple bonding activities, we can see dancing as a symbol for our relationship. As in life, you’ll learn to flow your movements together and take each step as they come.
If you’re not used to dancing as a couple, it’s also something that’s vulnerability-inducing. We don’t want to look stupid when we inevitably screw up in front of our partners or classmates. We trust our partner will be there and have our backs (sometimes literally).
Some research suggests that dancing, in combination with a reflective process, could be an effective form of couple’s therapy.
A lot of the things on this list involve talking. This one doesn’t. It basically involves nothing.
Meditation may seem like a weird idea for couple bonding activities. It can seems boring and that’s because, for people like me, it is. I can’t fight the benefits though — which include less anxiety, more happiness, and increased concentration.
For couples who meditate together, there are even more upsides. Research suggests that “dyadic meditation,” AKA meditating with another, can make us feel more socially connected and less lonely.
Whether you’re on the same or opposite team, gaming can bring passion into the night. Choose a video game or a traditional board game, it doesn’t really matter. The key is to focus on the game and enjoying intense or challenging moments together.
One study on 20 couples showed that playing games increased oxytocin levels. Researchers say we have partner touching and strategizing while gaming to thank for that.
Small caveat: If your partner is insanely competitive with sore-loser syndrome, this would be a bad way to connect.
If you’re looking for creative, couple bonding activities, try painting! Even if you’re not creative, taking a painting class together can make you better connected. You know the gaming study I just talked about above? Well, there’s more to it.
Gaming released oxytocin but the highest levels were found in men who took painting classes with their partners. Compared to women who painted, they released at least twice as much.
To get your dose of this love hormone, take a painting class or make a DIY one at home using beginner YouTube tutorials.
Want more ideas for couple bonding activities? Read our other guides:
These couple bonding activities are great whether you’re in a new relationship or marriage. In any case, you can learn more about your partner by diving into a shared interest. Whether you’re exploring a new activity—or an old one with new intention—keep an open mind.
Remember that you people enjoy different things. While some couple bonding activities may resonate with you, others may not. Discuss as a couple how you’d like to spend your time together.
So, what are you waiting for? Turn off the TV, your phone, your to-do list and do something a little more engaging. Use this list of couple bonding activities to find new ways to connect with your partner. Experiment with a few ideas and rotate them so things don’t boring.
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