Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? How’s it going with your significant other? We’re finishing up a series on relationships to get you all fired up for the most romantic day of the year. We’re finishing off the series on a fun note, now that we’ve figured out you believe you can change things for the better and you’re paying attention! Now, pay attention to part three and get to work!
A slap on the behind, a nerdy secret language, ultimate frisbee on Wednesdays complete with your ultimate nickname and personalized heckling calls. What do all these have to do with love? They’re all examples of “couple play”. And couple play has been shown to be positively correlated with relationship satisfaction. Ooh, now you’re listening. Yes, that’s right, a better relationship from playing together!
How can you get a little more “play” out of your mate? Well, you have to ask of course. That’s part of assertiveness – a tried and true, effective method for communicating. It involves asking for what you need and describing how you feel. Once you’ve got a thumbs up, grab their hand and get started!
Together, start thinking about what you’re already doing together. You may not realize how much you call your partner, “babe” or that your communal mocking of your favorite reality TV star is bringing you closer together. The fact is, we grow closer and build intimacy when we have fun with our partners.
First, work on growing what you’ve already got. Ramp it up a little. Add in two or three more pet names and say them all at once, “Honey, baby, sweety-pie, sugar…. You ready to go?” Go as goofy as you like. Be playful. Have fun. You’ll also want to list out what you mutually love and make an effort to schedule some time in for it on a regular basis.
Next, be sure you’re interacting as part of your play-time and reacting positively to each other. If you get into an argument every time you play Canasta, then maybe another activity would be better. Be careful to choose activities that promote communication. Watching movies is fine, just converse when it’s over or make fun of it the entire time. At home, not in the theater!
Finally, grow together. Expand your list of play possibilities and get adventurous. Discovering new things together provides an opportunity for a “just the two of us” bond over that activity. Make memories. Put it on the calendar. Make it happen.
Need some ideas for play?
– Go to the local green market
– Go see a band playing live at a local bar or coffee shop
– Make it a point to visit the same place for certain things and make it “our place”
– Check out a local arts festival
– Volunteer together
– Work on a home project together – a fun one
– Play games! Uno, Canasta, Mad Libs, Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock…
– Pick a local sports team to root for and go all out, make up your own chants and cheers
– Take a dance class
– Learn to cook something schmancy together
Research shows that changing your behaviors and focusing on the emotional aspects of your relationship are empirically-validated and effective forms of treatment. I believe strongly in providing therapy for my clients that is effective and efficient. You have to do the work to make it work. Call me when you’re ready to get started!