Happy Friday from all of us at The Gottman Institute! Having discussed some of the benefits that modern communication technology has to offer intimate relationships on Wednesday, particularly to those characterized by long distance, we’d like to continue today in the same spirit.  As your Weekend Homework Assignment, we give you this short and sweet list of ideas for building intimacy with your partner anywhere, anytime. Try one (or two, or more!) this weekend:

  • Check in regularly with your partner via text message. Show your interest in their daily activities and life. How did that presentation go? What did they have for lunch? Let them know how excited you are to share a 6-second kiss with them later! 
  • Send small, meaningful messages to cheer each other up, especially if your partner is stressed or having a hard day. Share funny things – text, pictures, videos – and make each other laugh. Send an inside joke. Send a funny video you found on Youtube. Send a SnapChat. Send a Lolcat. Be creative! Humor will bring you together. 
  • Share interesting things with each other – insightful articles you loved in the news, a piece of great writing that has been circulating through the office, a set of photographs someone found on BuzzFeed or StumbleUpon, whatever you think your partner would appreciate!

And particularly for those of you whose lovers are far away…

  • Play card games together via video chat. You can even watch movies or TV shows together! There are all sorts of activities that you can connect over online when you’re apart. If you can find something that you both enjoy, it can become a personal tradition for the two of you, an interest that regularly brings you closer.
  • Video-chat (Skype, FaceTime, etc) – see each other’s faces! If you are far apart, you can create a ritual – pick a time that works for both of you, and set it aside for Skype dates. The sense of continuity you can create by making your dates happen at regular times (say, agreeing to always connect at 8 pm on Saturdays) will give you and your partner something to look forward to. A stable, consistent connection you can rely on can overcome any distance.
  • Last but not least, remember that there are ways to connect without using the internet, even when you’re far apart – ways which trade convenience for charm, speed for sentimental value. You can’t go wrong by surprising your partner with something sweet and personal in the mail. Express your affection with a small, inexpensive gift like an inside joke, a silly handwritten poem or love letter, funny drawings, or flowers.

In this Digital Age, regardless of the distance between you, there’s something captivating and magical about receiving something by snail mail. To bake cookies and send them to your partner, for example, is to master the art of attraction. The sense of caring, time, and personal attention that is carried by these small gifts inevitably sparks romance and can strengthen your love and appreciation for each other enormously.

Technology can help couples to turn towards each other even when they are apart. Take advantage of this. Whether you are near or far away, take Mother Teresa’s advice: “Do small things with great love.” How do you use technology to turn towards your partner? Let us know on our Facebook page.


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The Digital Age: Building Intimacy
Ellie Lisitsa

Ellie Lisitsa is a staff writer at The Gottman Institute and a regular contributor to The Gottman Relationship Blog. Ellie is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Dissonance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.