There’s something romantic about the last days of summer. The sunsets are more colorful and magical. Most professionals take vacations to faraway places (or even steamy staycations in their hometown.) Though you can build intimacy anytime, the end of the season lends itself to more creative opportunities to connect with your partner. As your weeks and weekends become busier and busier, make sure to carve out time for these special moments — all of which will help you remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Lean into the cheesy romantic stuff.
Sure, when you’ve been with your guy or gal for many years, you may roll your eyes at some of the traditional ‘romantic’ date ideas. You know: watching the sunrise or sunset, having a picnic, gazing up at the stars (and at one another). But there’s a reason we do those things at the beginning of a relationship: they force us to ‘pause’ and be in the moment with our person. That’s why psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., urges duos to lean into the cheesiness rather than resisting it.
“Experiencing moments like this with these kinds of romantic backdrops can help you be more present and focused on each other,” she explains. “Even the simplest of these kinds of experiences can strengthen intimacy, especially if there are little distractions with these moments combined with the joy or beauty of them.”
Get naked outside.
Yep, we said it: take it off. And while you’re welcome to remove your clothes if you’d like, what author and love expert Monica Berg means is getting naked emotionally. And better yet: do it outside in nature, where you’re forced to disconnect and be transparent. How come? This helps create the scene for true vulnerability and an open stage to talk about anything and everything. Yes, you can do this in the fall (spring or winter), but the weather is nice outside, so take advantage of it.
“I often encourage couples to find an outdoor activity that allows a long, honest conversation about feelings, emotions, and history,” she says. “Being out in nature can often help with perspective. If your partner finally admits they don’t like your signature recipe, the spark of annoyance is laughably short compared to the hundred-year-old trees shading your picnic in the park.”
Join together for a hobby you both love.
There is no ‘right’ way to partake in summer fun. Some couples enjoy mountain biking and camping in national parks. Others prefer the finer avenue of life, with a trip to Europe and dining at Michelin-star restaurants. Whether you’re chugging a beer or sipping champagne, the point is you’re doing something together that you both enjoy. Find your common point of interest and create frequent date nights for the summer season. The goal is to simply be happy… together.
For example, she says going to an outdoor sporting event or concert allows you to connect further because you’re experiencing it together. “By being able to relate to each other, and cheer, sing, or dance together, it increases the bonds of intimacy,” she continues. “By creating new memories together of genuinely enjoying each other’s company at these events, you can strengthen the intimacy and depth of your relationship.”
Work on a project together.
If you feel like there’s always so much to do in the summer, you’re right. It’s ideal for most people and families to schedule renovations, landscaping, and other household projects. Though you will probably take a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to much of the to-do list, Berg encourages couples to find one thing they can tackle as a team. “Life has a lot of responsibilities, and part of a successful relationship is feeling like you’re not alone in bearing them,” she says. “You want a partner who is there not only when it’s easy but also when it’s exhausting.”
That’s why couples who share responsibilities share the fun, too. In fact, she says couples who have an equal share in all their duties reported the highest relationship satisfaction.
Step outside of your comfort zone together.
How long have you been saying you want to go bungee jumping? Or get scuba certified? Finally, try and bake a cake entirely from scratch? No matter how big or small, Dr. Thomas says there is an excellent benefit in stepping outside of your comfort zone together and trying something completely new. “Whether you end up liking these activities or not, what helps build intimacy in a relationship is that you have experienced something new for the first time together,” she explains.
This shared experience and new skill sets create more intimacy and strength between you. And hey, if you took one pottery class and you both were surprisingly talented, you can create a new ritual together.
Take a trip together.
If you have children, ask a grandparent or friend to watch them for a long weekend. And if you have a pup (or cat), leave them with a sitter. Each year, Berg says it’s essential to get away together, just the two of you. Maybe it’s a road trip, a quick beach getaway or a longer trip, but the point is to work as a team to plan the adventure. You can search hotels together, score flight deals, book restaurants, and think of all of your ‘must-do’s’ for the vacation.
While you’re away, try to resist the urge to check your phone, and instead, keep your attention focused on one another. Even if you’re reading different books in the same room, you build intimacy by simply being together. As Berg says, however you and your partner approach it, there is nothing like the mixture of adventure and intimacy that you get from being next to each other. It is an opportunity for one-on-one conversation and connection.