Sometimes we all need a little bit of a kickstart to remind ourselves of how much we love and care for each other. If this sounds familiar, why not try out our 30-day relationship challenge? These activities are simple, fun, and mostly free. What’s more, research shows that they may actually improve your relationship quality.
For instance, multiple studies reinforce the importance of showing everyday kindness and consideration for each other (as in numbers 7, 8, 9, and 21). Demonstrating gratitude towards your partner, as in numbers 12 and 16, is also known to be a habit of successful couples. Learning or doing new things together, as in numbers 5, 18, and 24, can give us back some of those feelings of excitement and newness that make love thrilling. Walking and exercising together, as in numbers 4, 5, 29, and 30, boosts moods, making it more likely you’ll feel positive towards one another, and may possibly increase libido. And you might be surprised to learn it, but watching romantic movies and following the same TV series together (as in numbers 11 and 25) can build intimacy, keep people close, and start important conversations.
To make this challenge especially fun, try printing it out, cutting the list into strips, and placing them in a hat or jar. Each of you can then choose one to do each day. Keep your challenge a secret from each other until the moment is right, unless planning is necessary.
Of course, you don’t have to do all 30 of these in a row. Maybe you’ll pick one per week or choose one or two when the mood strikes. The point is to find deliberate ways to do something to connect and bond. Enjoy.
- Go somewhere scenic and watch the sunset together.
- Leave your partner a love note.
- Put the phones, computers, and tablets away for a weekend day and hang out together.
- Take time to exercise together.
- Go for a “penny” walk together (start at your front door, and at every corner, flip a penny—heads, go left, tails, go right!)
- Go out for lunch together in the middle of the workday.
- Do a chore for your partner.
- Give your partner a massage.
- Make your partner dinner while they sit and relax.
- Send your partner a racy text.
- Watch a romantic movie together.
- Compliment your partner in front of someone.
- Go to a pretty spot and take a good new couple selfie together (or, have a photo taken!)
- Arrange to do an activity together that your partner loves, but that isn’t your favorite.
- Give your partner a small gift
- Write your partner a card listing 5 things you’re grateful for about them.
- Watch something really funny together. It can just be a funny animal video on YouTube if you don’t have much time!
- Learn something new together from Instructables.
- Take time to sit together with a beverage to look at photos together of good memories from the past.
- Arrange to spend time together with other couple friends.
- Do a “random act of kindness” for your spouse (make them breakfast, pack them a lunch, etc.)
- Do something silly and ridiculous together that makes you laugh.
- Cook a nice dinner together with music playing.
- Volunteer somewhere together.
- Catch up on a TV series you both love.
- Get up early and go out for coffee together before work together.
- Schedule some dedicated snuggle time with no interruptions to just catch up.
- Put together a puzzle or play a game together.
- Make a playlist for your partner and spend 15 minutes dancing together.
- Go for a hike together in nature.
Looking for more ways to connect and get closer with your partner? Heading towards marriage? The SMART Couples project is offering ELEVATE, a free, research-backed relationship enhancement class for couples, and Before You Tie the Knot, a free marriage preparation course, in Florida counties across the state. All our programs are taught by trained professionals and are welcoming to all. Sign up today!
By Carol Church, lead writer, SMART Couples, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida