Couples usually pass the most common break-up period after about three to five months, because affections that seem natural earlier on require work to maintain. Relationship-building exercises may be crucial for unmarried couples who have reached the first half-year mark if they want to stay to together. However, exercises specifically designed for building relationships can benefit couples at any time.
Togetherness Rituals; Growth Exercise
Many couples believe their relationship is fine but seek to get it to excellent. A considerable reach towards excellence includes achieving togetherness. In fact, togetherness was a top priority for 97 percent of happy couples, but only 28 percent of unhappy couples, according to national research conducted by David H. Olson, Amy Olson-Sigg and Peter J. Larson.
An activity that can help achieve togetherness is creating togetherness rituals; just decide on regularities that can bond you as a couple. For example, you might enjoy evening Bible reads via telephone or a walk in the park every Sunday morning. Get one ritual down and add new togetherness rituals as often as you see fit.
Confessions; Strengthening Exercise
When you fail to be honest about yourself you might simultaneously create dishonesty in your relationship, and you can end up building the relationship on shallow ground. A strong relationship cannot be built on a weak foundation.
A choice activity to strengthen the foundation of your relationship includes confessing fears to your partner. Set up a day and time at a quiet, neutral, location. Before you begin, decide not to respond in judgement or criticism. Then, face each other and begin by saying, “I’ve been afraid to confess that…,” before each confession. Only respond by saying, “Thank you for sharing your confession.” This activity is not about hashing through issues, but rather becoming vulnerable with baring yourselves to one another. Take a day or two before you discuss how you feel about your confessions; if a serious concern arises, talk to a Bible-believing counselor.
“Our Way;” Growth Exercise
Relationships cannot progress in a stagnant, complacent condition. In cases of stagnation or complacency, relationship building should include focus on growth—communication is an ideal place to start. One of the best ways to communicate better is by working towards solutions that represent an “our way” mentality, as opposed to a “my way” or “your way” mindset.
One activity to help you establish an “our way” mentality involves the use of flashcards and markers. Write out ten different conflict scenarios on each flashcard; five for each of you. Pull random cards from the pile and define one to two ways you can resolve the conflict with an “our way” mentality.
Marriage Quality; Strengthening Exercise
Many unmarried couples get to a point where they feel the quality of their relationship has hit a ceiling and there is no other level to explore but marriage. As a matter of fact, research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that relationship quality is higher in married couples and the quality gap between married and unmarried widened the longer the relationship continued.
Attend a premarital counseling session as an activity to help you determine the “marriage quality” of your relationship. Find a Biblical counselor you both like. Then, make an appointment and explain that you would like to discover how marriage-ready you both are. A good counselor will help you explore matters you may not have thought about, like roles and beliefs, so you can decide for yourselves.
Editor-In-ChiefZara Hairston is a modern-day renaissance woman who uniquely draws people to the Cross of Christ through teaching, writing and speaking. She holds a bachelor of arts in Journalism from Temple University, and a master of arts in Christian Counseling from Jacksonville Theological Seminary—where she was also ordained. Hairston's organizations include Love-Life, Inc., YourHeartShape, Moms In Christ, BComingMe, Sister Keepers and Arrow Spring Academy. Currently, she resides in the Atlanta area with her husband Anton "Eshon Burgundy" Hairston and their three children.