Surviving lockdowns and the challenges of the past two years with your partner is something to celebrate, and with Valentine's Day almost here, if you’re sick of the usual date night on the couch bingeing Netflix, it’s time to mix it up.
While most couples know what their partner usually enjoys, research reveals that almost half (44%) of Aussies say they actually find trying new things to be the most fun.
Clinical Psychologist Jaimie Bloch tells Yahoo Lifestyle that when it comes to planning a date, consider planning something that your partner hasn’t tried before as it’s a great way to stimulate the brain and learn new things about each other.
Trying new things
Jaimie, who is a Carnival ambassador, says that when it comes to trying new things, it’s important to let your partner know how important it is to you.
“No one is a mind reader and if we don’t tell them what we want, we can’t expect them to know. Interestingly, Carnival’s research shows that although nine out of ten Aussies say they know what their partner likes to do for fun, only eight out of ten think their partner knows what they do for fun.”
Clearly, we have room for improvement when it comes to communicating.
Jaimie also says it’s important to be patient and supportive of your partner, as feeling ready to try something new can take time.
“We learn best from others. If you show that you are willing to move out of your comfort zone and try something new yourself, your partner will likely be more willing to as well.”
The benefits of trying new things
The benefits of trying new things together stack up, as Jaimie points out that research into relationships has found that trying new things and learning together is what strengthens connections and intimacy levels, because we can show our vulnerability to one another.
The research also showed that spending just seven minutes trying something new together is all it takes to see the benefits, so it doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
“Shared experiences are also very important for a happy relationship,” says Jaimie.
“Why? They create longer-lasting happiness, create meaningful experiences and memories, and broaden a couple's sense of purpose and fulfilment. A holiday such as a cruise is a fantastic opportunity to have multiple shared experiences together, especially when visiting new destinations.”
Nurture the relationship
Scheduling time where you are consciously having fun and enjoying each other’s company in new and novel situations, such as date nights or holidays, is also key to maintaining an exciting relationship.
This time should be spent engaging in an activity or experience together that promotes fun and excitement and can become a shared experience.
Jaimie says showing appreciation for your partner and being emotional available are important.
“Small comments, acknowledgements and little things we do in relationships show our partners that we care and see them and their efforts.”
Top tips for a fun date
1.“Make it a strength-focused date,” advises Jaimie. “A strength-focused date entails picking an activity or experience that will showcase each of your strengths and allow both of you to engage in something you enjoy. For example, if you like adventure but your partner loves learning, a bicycle ride through a historic area would showcase both of your strengths and support mutual fun and bonding. Remember to always take turns planning dates!”
2. Make it fun.
“Taking the time to plan a date for your partner is the perfect way to combat a fun deficiency. When planning the ultimate date, it’s essential to rediscover and reconnect with what you and your partner like doing for fun. “If you need some help getting started, Carnival recently launched a new Fun Type quiz which will help you discover what type of fun you really like and then match you to activities you’ll enjoy.”
3. Schedule it in. It’s easy to say you are going to plan a date with your significant other. However, despite our good intentions, we often forget to follow through. Life is busy and the weeks and months go by in a flash. We tend to follow through with our plans and are more motivated when they are regularly scheduled in.
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