The Child and Family Mental Health blog is pleased to present a guest post from Lindsey Hoskins, Ph.D., LCMFT, the founder and principal of Lindsey Hoskins and Associates, a couple and family therapy practice in Bethesda, MD. We hope this post helps you and your partner spice up your summer. Enjoy!
Summertime is in full swing, and with the long days and good weather comes the opportunity to get out and try new things with your partner. Too often, in long-term relationships, we get into the habit of doing the same old thing in our time together — and that can get a bit stale! So why not take advantage of this time of year to shake things up a bit? Experiencing new things together can be a real growth experience in relationships. You might even learn something new about the person you thought you knew everything about. Trying new things together is also a great habit to get into if you have kids, or before you start your family together. Having fun trying new things is a healthy behavior to model for children, and contributes to their feeling able and willing to try new things themselves. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Sign up for a race and train together. Even if you’re not a runner, there are short races for beginners that can be really fun to prepare for and run. Find a local 5K or 10K, sign yourselves up, and then create a training schedule that gets you out on the trails together at least three times a week.
Take an overnight trip to a nearby B & B. There are tons of charming places within easy driving distance of most cities where you can get away for a night or two to relax, unwind, and explore together.
Go camping. If you don’t have the equipment, borrow or rent a tent and head for nature. Cuddle by the fire, make s’mores, and look at the stars together — opportunities for romance abound.
Check out your local farmers’ market and try a new food. Go shopping together and find some interesting foods that you haven’t tried before. Then, go home and find a recipe that uses your new ingredient and have fun cooking a meal together.
Take a fitness class together. Your gym probably offers groups exercises classes that can be a great opportunity to enjoy working out together. Find one that both of you might enjoy (classes based on sports conditioning, kickboxing, or resistance training are often a good start) and give it a try.
Focus on making couple friends. Especially for young couples, finding other couples to hang out with can be a challenge. Work on opening yourselves up to new friendships, even using online networking sites like meetup.com or weneedfriends.com. Finding couples with whom you share common interests will provide you with lots of opportunities for fun and socialization.
Try a new kind of cuisine. Never had Ethiopian food? What about Brazilian? Caribbean? In the summer, when fresh food is plentiful and inexpensive, restaurant menus abound with delicious new dishes to try. Make a reservation at a place that looks good and take your tastebuds out for a spin. Bonus, you get to try double the amount of new things if you share!
Go on a picnic. Pack up a meal, a couple of good books, and a frisbee or football and head to the park. Spend a few hours just enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company.
What other ideas do you have for getting out and having fun with your partner during the summer? Please share in the comments!