Relationship affirming activities?
January 31, 2018 12:16 PM   Subscribe

For our anniversary a few years ago, my girlfriend and I did the 36 Questions That Lead to Love as a sort of discussion prompt and relationship affirming activity. We both found it really meaningful and heartwarming and we'd like to find something similar to do this year.

Ideally the activity would be something that would encourage discussion and emotional openness. One thing we both liked about the 36 questions is that while they examined somewhat difficult stuff ("Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die" or "Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life"), we were able to use them as a jumping off point for thinking about the way in which we appreciate each other and work well together. Less "work through your problems" and more "focus on what we love about each other."

We also enjoyed that the questions prompted us to discuss aspects of how we view the world in similar or different ways ("What does friendship mean to you" or "What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about") and allowed us to think in a positive light about what the future might hold for us.

Ideally this activity could be done in parts over the course of a day or within a few hours. Bonus points for something that is free or very cheap and doesn't require too much in terms of setup or gear.
posted by arcolz to Human Relations (9 answers total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
It might be more expensive than what you're looking for, but the Table Topics conversation game has an edition for couples. I haven't played it myself, so I can't speak to how good it is. It has a lot of positive reviews, though.
posted by Eevee at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2018

A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I adapted an exercise we got from our couples counselor where we simply recounted significant moments and experiences we shared in the previous year in our relationship and what those meant to us.

It was really meaningful; we both felt really appreciated on a deeper level.
posted by brookeb at 1:46 PM on January 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

My husband and I take a few days off and go on a retreat every winter where we basically hole ourselves in a room in a place we don’t know without WiFi or TV and go through how last year went, what we want to accomplish in the next year, goal setting for long term, etc. It works as a relationship affirming activity for us because we are both very type A personalities. YMMV
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 1:51 PM on January 31, 2018 [9 favorites]

I saw on Pinterest (!) some years ago the idea of writing a note about significant events through the year, then reading and discussing them on the next anniversary. My husband and I went so far as to purchase a jar and populate it with some notes and... that's as far as we got. But we've been married for twenty years, so YMMV.
posted by DrGail at 2:53 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

A while ago I googled something like "interesting journal questions," copy pasted a bunch of them, and then made my own little slips of paper with questions which I put in a bag. My partner and I take them out every once in a while and take turns choosing one and asking the other person and then answering ourselves. I liked making my own because it didn't take that long and was free!

On New Years Day we also wrote in a journal "My Wishes for You" for the year ahead and each wrote some wishes for the other person. That was really touching and felt really sweet.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 4:14 PM on January 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

The DingoWife and I have kept one of those 5-year journals (this one, actually) for the past three years. Before we go to bed at night we each write a line about our day. Sometimes it's pretty mundane stuff, sometimes it's a weird joke or conversation we've had, sometimes it's about really fun, cozy things we'd done together that day. The longer we keep it, the more fun it's been to see what we were up to a year, two years ago.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:28 PM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

We got this from a couples counselor and have been doing it for a few years. Every night before we go to sleep, my wife and I do a thing where each of us lists “a thing I liked about my day”, “a thing I like about you” and “a thing I like about me”. We alternate so we each do “a thing I liked about my day”, then in to the others. If we can’t before bed (asleep when the other gets home or something), we’ll do it the following morning.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:16 PM on February 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Art Aron took about half the questions from Stock's The Book of Questions (

It's also worth reading the original paper, The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness (
posted by hleehowon at 6:10 PM on February 1, 2018

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