It’s summer and the weather is great. One of the greatest predictor’s of whether or not a relationship will be successful, is your ability to turn towards your partner. This is something that happens on an everyday basis in a relationship. You should be making bids to connect with your partner emotionally and your partner should be receiving those bids. In our research in Gottman what we have found, is that what causes conflict in a relationship is turning away from these bids of connection in your relationship. Turning away is related to both, suppressed negativity (sadness, self-pity, stonewalling) and being in the attack-defend mode. Being playful and enthusiastic in your relationship will help heighten levels of positivity during conflict. It’s important to always finds ways to appreciate your partner. This can also help bring the fire back in your romance. Here are seven great dates for summer:
  1. Have a picnic. Grab a bottle of wine, pack a couple of sandwiches and a blanket and head for the nearest park. Even if it’s just down the street the change of scenery will be refreshing from your weekly routine. (Do your know your partner’s favorite sandwich or wine?)
  2. Go kayaking. Borrow or rent a kayak and visit the local shores nearby. This is a great way to explore the area. This will help reduce your stress level and will give you a chance to ask open-ended questions. 
  3. Go for a bike ride. It’s time to tune up your bikes and take advantage of the nice summer weather. Go on one of your favorite rides or try a new one. You can pack a lunch and make a day of it.
  4. Go on a hike. This is one of the best summer dates and is actually very simple. Whether you are visiting a waterfall, a hilltop viewpoint or some other destination. This is a great way to talk and reconnect with your partner. For turning towards, bring a list of specific questions to ask your partner.
  5. Attend an outdoor concert. Great music sounds even better outside, where their are no walls for it to bounce from. If you’ve never heard the group performing, then all the better. This is a great way to explore new types of music together. 
  6. Attend a baseball game. You don’t have to be a baseball fanatic to go to a game with your partner. The pace of baseball makes for a perfect conversation with your partner. Sit back, relax and engage in a deep conversation with your partner. For more turning towards, share stories from your childhood about your experiences in playing sports. What was your most proud moment? What was your most embarrassing moment?
  7. Visit a farmer’s market. The return of summer, means the return of farmers markets. Go early for the best selection of produce. While you are there sample the breads and olive oils. Take your time checking out all the crafts.
It’s really the small things that make a BIG difference in a relationship. Remember, to do the small things often, this will make the biggest difference. The next time you are out on a date with your partner, remember to make an effort to turn towards each other’s bids for emotional connection.

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