If you want your relationship to last, get a hobby, and explore it together.
That advice comes from psychologist Dr. Diana Kirschner, who says a lot of new research shows that shared activities tend to make couples happier. First, because they bring newness to a relationship, and keep boredom from setting in. Plus, new experiences activate the brain’s reward system, which then floods us with chemicals that promote bonding.
And Dr. Kirschner says your relationship can get a boost from just about any activity. For example: One man recently agreed to take up beekeeping with his wife. He says he was nervous about driving home with hives full of 24-thousand buzzing bees in the trunk. But after he and his wife set up the hives in their yard, and extracted honey for the first time, he says he felt amazed at what they’d accomplished. Plus, it gave the couple something to talk and laugh about, while creating new memories together.
Just one thing: Dr. Kirschner says to get the biggest boost from a shared hobby, it needs to be one you both enjoy. Because if you enjoy bowling, for example - but your partner can only roll gutter balls - then resentment is going to build up, which can trigger distance in the relationship.
That’s why Dr. Kirschner recommends trying something that’s brand new to both of you.
But if you do try to introduce your partner to your favorite hobby, she says do it the right way. Meaning, introduce them slowly, and be prepared to heap lots of praise on your partner - just for making the effort. Just remember: The point isn’t to convert your partner into a master fisherman, or a sewing champion. It’s more about spending time together, and bringing your relationship closer.