Enough with the first-date freak-outs and flirting guidelines; anyone can find any and all of those on Google. How about figuring out the secret to long, healthy, and enjoyable relationships? What does it take to keep the spark alive once the monotony of life sets in and the butterflies go away? Thankfully, the answer is fun – literally.
Think back to the excitement experienced during the beginning of a budding relationship. New couples usually spend a lot of time “engaging in fun activities together and spending quality time getting to know each other,” according to Naomi Brower in her research article “Have Fun! The Importance of Play in Couple Relationships.” Naturally, the “new” aspect fades away, but the “fun” can remain constant and exciting if couples focus on keeping it around. (So, essentially, couples need to have fun to enjoy life together… Who knew?)
Research has found that couples are happier in relationships if they have a “magic ratio of 5:1 Positive to Negative Interactions” according to Dr. Michelle Gannon. This means every time there is one disagreement or misunderstanding there need to be five positive and fun interactions to counter balance it. Gannon explains that being playful in a relationship not only provides enjoyment but also serves to increase “bonding, communication, conflict resolution, and relationship satisfaction.” When life seems routine, everyone needs some fun spontaneity in their lives, so when couples experience that exciting whim together they grow closer.
Now the question is: “How does a couple bring fun into their relationship?”
I’m so glad you asked!
First, a few steps to remember before we get to the good stuff:
A few of Brower’s findings suggest…
- Schedule some fun.
- Get active. (Don’t be a couch potato, no wonder you’re bored!)
- Give yourself permission to be a kid again.
- Be open to trying new things.
- Protect fun. (Don’t get into fights during fun time; this is playful, careless, kid time.)
Now that that’s settled, here are some Fun suggestions:
- From amusement parks and art exhibits to Wii competitions and exploring the zoo, Examiner.com provides a “Fun list of things for couples to do together.”
General research recommends couples should:
- Learn something new together. (If you can’t agree, then learn TWO new things!)
- Get messy. (Go paintballing, bake something gooey, play outside, go spelunking, have a food fight, etc.)
- Be goofy. (Play pranks together, play pranks on each other, have a contest, attack with tickling, get a group together and have a scavenger hunt or play “Just Dance.”)
- Go on a “fun” date. (Make it special from usual dates, be weird together in public, etc.)
- Be creative!
-OKWU’s own provide some fun date ideas:
Jonieca Herrera says her favorite fun date has been turning a room into an art studio with tarp and going crazy with paint. They kept the splattered canvases and framed a favorite memory.
Kristen Thiessen’s most creative and fun date consisted of a boyfriend surprising her with a 50’s themed night out full of root beer floats and sock hops.
Andrew Smith (Smitty) finds enjoyment in connecting over a favorite book, discussing the story line, writing style, and so on.
Graduate Lauren Henderson suggests a double date with some “swell peeps.”
Josh Herrera enjoyed a citywide scavenger hunt that lasted all night long.**(What a coincidence, that’s my favorite, too!)
Graduate Shanae Leigh Gudmunson loves crossing off bucket list items with her beau, visiting national parks, and experiencing new hikes for a fun and adventurous date.
Lauren Manzella prefers cooking a new meal together or getting outside and trying new things she and her husband have never done.
Graduate Nathan Horton enjoys breaking the law with his lady by chasing cats in neighborhoods and trespassing into people’s backyard pools.
Graduate Nikolaus Prescott has fun drawing blueprints of his dream house with his lovely fiancé.
Morgan Bridgeford loves going for walks and picking out her “future” home with her guy, making up stories that might happen in the house.
So there you have it! Having fun and playing together doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; the point is to be carefree and goofy, focusing on each other and making memories that shine brightly and blind us from our more difficult obstacles faced as a couple. Stop being so serious and take fun seriously!
—–> Ask & Nominate for next time! <—–