Here’s a fun exercise for couples to do while in the corona ‘lockdown’ period over Christmas and into the New Year.

It is just as important to be able to deal with problems and disagreements as it is to have fun together. Little things that bring back the ‘spark’ and add pleasure to your relationship. Many couples say that after the first period of their relationship, the spontaneity towards each other has disappeared or diminished; the fun is gone! The place of pleasure is often replaced with boredom. This can be magnified if you find yourselves at home together twenty four hours a day seven days a week. Sometimes both partners are simply too busy and unable to find the time to do things together or do things for each other. Often a routine has set in and it just doesn’t occur to partners anymore, to consciously take time for each other and do fun things together.

So your task is to make a series of ‘treat cards‘ on which you write activities that you would like your partner to do for you. Examples include: relaxing together by the fireplace or taking an evening walk, going shopping together, taking pictures of each other, giving each other a massage, cooking a favorite dish, surprising the other with a wild bunch of flowers, eating ice-cream together, visiting friends, clearing out a part of the spare room or garage, buying theater or film tickets ….. and so on! Here’s an example of the front and back side of a ‘treat card’.

Take a few hours together to make your cards. It’s about things that you enjoy and that your partner can do (or that you can do together). Write each activity on a separate card. You should aim for about 30 cards each. You’ll be amazed at how the ideas start flowing once you get going. Make sure that the activities are as clearly described as possible (so not: choosing ‘something fun’).

Make sure too that they do not take too long to execute (so not: cleaning up the entire storage room and hanging up shelves). Then put all the cards in a box something like this.

The idea is that you each take a card written by the other, out of the box once a week and carry out the instructions on the card. If you’re not in the mood for that activity, or if the opportunity does not present itself, then return the card and choose another, until you find something that can be done within the week. Be sure to have fun with this exercise.

Notice how your partner attends to the tasks. Also pay attention to the way you react to your partners’ efforts. Does your reaction increase the chance that he or she will do this activity again? The partner who is doing the ‘surprising’ should also quietly pay attention to what effect the activity is having on the other i.e. what is the effect of his/her actions.

Have fun!