We’ve all heard how important it is to continue to date each other after marriage and we know that dating is important to finding and building a lasting relationship. Dating can also help maintain and build friendships and parent-child bonds. It doesn’t have to be confined to romantic relationships.
If we bust the mold of dating open to every relationship then we might as well crumble it and sweep it away. Previously, dating had a few fail-safe go-tos and they generally involved eating or drinking. Bonding over food is a symptom of society and well, we are creating something new here so let’s just rid ourselves of all the ideas we once had about all of that.
Here are some new ways to get out, interact, bond and just be with the people that are important to you:
1. See an exhibit. Fortunately our area is ripe with a wide array of things to view and enjoy. Even if it’s just an exhibit of incredible Lego feats it’s something to view, discuss and enjoy.
2. Arts and culture. Go to a new club and listen to music you’ve never heard before. Check out a Native American exhibit or Pow Wow. Go to a local museum for their featured exhibits. It doesn’t matter, but see or experience something you wouldn’t usually do and take someone important with you.
3. Go antiquing. People come from miles around to enjoy Spokane’s hoards of antique stores and bizarres. One trip up Monroe Street will have your heads spinning. Try it on, it’s fun discovering treasures in the old and tossed. Maybe rekindle a dusty relationship while you’re at it.
4. Go thrifting. Pick out clothes for each other and try them on, but one outfit picked by the other person. Buy seasonal weather wear and hand it out to the homeless. Pick a decade and find clothing to play dress up and then wear those outfits on another “time period” outing. Honestly, thrifting is fun even if you buy nothing. It’s like treasure hunting.
5. Go people watching. Go to a busy place and sit on a bench and watch people. Really watch them. Feel free to imagine their lives, their joys, their struggles. It brings your own blessings to the forefront. This also brings humanity into view. When you really slow down and watch people you realize just how connected we all are.
6. Volunteer at a food bank and bring a box of the healthiest pre-packaged food you can find. Spend an hour or two helping do the grunt work. Sorting, boxing, loading. Mundane tasks are meditative when we submit to them and get present to our own being around what we are doing. Doing that with a loved one makes it that much more therapeutic.
7. Go visit the elderly at nursing homes or in your neighborhood. This is another activity that will really give you perspective. We’re betting you will meet a lot of people that won’t say they wish they went on more “dinner and a movie” dates.
8. Go walk dogs at the animal shelter. Or pet the cats or clean up the kennels or anything that takes you completely into a serving state of mind. When we serve we open ourselves to love. When we serve together it creates a beautiful space for loving bonds to build.
9. Take a class together (soap making, crochet, painting, dance). Any class. Learning something new can be scary. Taking the hand of a loved one and overcoming that twinge of fear together can be seriously enlightening. Plus, who doesn’t want to learn something fun?
10. Recreate your first date but leave out the food and replace it with conversation about where you are now and where you want to be in x-number of years. This works with children and even parents, too. You may have to get creative but that’s the best part.
Life is all about living and being related. How we relate to others is a choice. Choose the path of deepened communication and service and the bonds will create themselves. Have fun!