“Playing games” doesn’t have the best connotation when it comes to romance, but what if we told you games can actually make your relationship stronger? Relationship-building games, to be precise.
Playfulness brings novelty and fun into your relationship, which can stop you from growing apart or falling into a rut. Not to mention, relationship-building games can be a new way to learn more about your partner. If vulnerability feels a little scary to you, making it more fun can help you ease into deeper conversations that you might otherwise shy away from.
Research shows that couples who are playful in their relationship are more likely to feel connected, and have overall higher relationship satisfaction. They’re also able to communicate and navigate conflict better and trust each other more.
We put together a list of relationship-building games for couples to grow closer, or at the very least switch up your next date night.
This classic icebreaker game isn’t just a great way to relax and enjoy some laughter together, but it can also give you an interesting peek into your partner’s mind. And if you want to add a sexy twist to it, you can ask each other dirty “would you rather” questions.
The Paired app has a whole library of relationship quizzes and games for couples, designed — and proven — to help you feel more connected.
What better way to spend your evening than gazing into your S.O.’s eyes? All jokes aside, sustained eye contact might feel a little awkward at first, but it can also boost intimacy and emotional connection. If you’re in more of a silly mood, fill your mouth with water and try not to laugh.
Although this cult gameshow hasn’t been on the air since the mid-70s, it remains a favorite party game at weddings and engagement showers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play it as a couple — or that you need to be engaged/newly married, either. It’s a fun way to see who knows each other better and reminisce about your favorite relationship moments. If you need some inspiration, we put together 70 Newlywed Game questions for you.
Here’s another party classic, and this time one that will test your general knowledge and communication skills — without losing patience.
It’s the name of the game, literally. Take turns saying two truths about yourself and your life. Your partner has to correctly identify what the lie is. This is a great way for couples to see how well they know one another, and learn something new in the process. Whether you’ve just started dating or you’ve been together for years, it’s a chance to be really vulnerable with one another.
In the late 90s, psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron conducted a study exploring how intimacy between two perfect strangers could be achieved quickly (in under an hour) and for free. From that, he created a list of 36 questions that lead to love. You might not be strangers, but Dr. Aron’s 36 questions can still help you discover new facets of your partner and fall in love all over again. Get comfy, open a bottle of wine, and dive in!
Puzzles are not only a great way to unwind together after a long day or week, but they’re also a chance to see how you work as a team to achieve a shared goal.
Whether you tackle an escape room as a duo or as part of a bigger team, see how well you can cooperate under pressure. Solving clues can test your sense of collaboration, communication, and problem-solving — all skills that can benefit your relationship.
If you love baking together, take it up a notch and see how in sync you are. While one partner is blindfolded, the other one has to give the recipe instructions. It’s a real way to test your trust and communication (and culinary) skills. Just watch out for any open flames or hot ovens!
If you wanted a game that was a little sexier, why not try roleplay? Roleplay is a playful way to explore fantasies, being some excitement to the bedroom, and explore new ways to be intimate with your partner.
“Love maps” are a principle created by psychologist and marriage counselor Dr. John Gottman, who says the key to a successful relationship is in part staying curious about your partner’s inner worlds — the more you know about each other, the stronger your relationship. Holding mental space for your partner’s dreams, fears, quirks, and preferences make you better equipped at navigating conflict and staying connected in times of stress, says Dr. Gottman. Think of a love map is like an intangible GPS for your relationship, and a way to create a strong foundation for intimacy.
Sensate focus is a technique developed by Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, pioneers of sex research, used to improve intimacy and communication between partners around sex. Sensate focus consists of a series of mindful touching exercises with the goal of letting couples connect physically and deepen their intimacy while letting go of any preconceived ideas of what “should” happen during sex.
Download Paired for more relationship-building games, questions, and quizzes.