Who doesn’t love playing games? Whether for the reminder of childhood, chasing the win or simply for a laugh, taking it back to ‘play’ is a great way for couples to spend their time. But when was the last time you played a game together? (And we don’t mean with the kids!)
As a couple, you probably spend a lot of your time together catering for the family, cleaning up after everyone, discussing or firefighting problems. Not to mention - let’s be real here - chillaxing in front of the TV while staring at your phones at the end of another long day.
But what if we were to suggest you play a game instead? You might laugh, but there are actually heaps of reasons why playing games as a couple is brilliant for building a healthy relationship.
That may sound like an obvious statement, but when you’re playing games together, whether that’s a card game, a board game or even one of your favorite video games, you’re spending quality time together. And that’s not something that’s easy to come by.
Taking on new challenges together or trying a new hobby can be a great bonding experience for any couple. It keeps things interesting and can give you a little bit of escapism from the monotony of everyday life. And the great thing is, the more you seek out new experiences, the more you’ll want to find.
Depending on the types of games you play, you may find out something you never realized about your partner. Are they particularly tenacious when it comes to digging for diamonds in Minecraft? Or do they cheat to get that Rummikub victory? (We didn’t say everything you learned would be good!)
If there have been little niggles appearing in your relationship, creating a more playful environment will give you a ‘safe’ space to discuss them. You may feel more able to bring up previously unspoken topics if you feel you’re both relaxed and have time for one another.
It stands to reason that the more we practice a skill the better we become at it, and playfulness is a skill just like any other. Learn to become more playful and you might find it seeps into other areas of your relationship. In the bedroom perhaps or even during a disagreement – a quick joke or funny face pulled can quickly take the heat out of a situation.
Sometimes, particularly as married couples, we can wake up one day and realize we’ve lost our connection with one another. That might be physically or emotionally. Playing together can be a bonding experience that helps us to find our way back. Whether it’s simply the eye contact made over the game table, or the shared adrenaline pumping as you fight to overcome a common enemy online. We feel closer when we put the phones down, shake the work day out of our heads and focus on one another. And it goes without saying that games can foster and build connection if you find yourself in a long-distance relationship too.
As a couple, the joy of simply laughing together is often overlooked. When life gets serious and we become overwhelmed with work, it’s important to take it back to basics and find little pockets of time to laugh together. And simple, fun games are one of the best ways to do that.
Here we’ll look at some of the best types of games to play as a couple. Hopefully you’ll get some great ideas to try and we can all start to see the benefits of living life less seriously:
From Connect4 to Checkers, Trivial Pursuit to Twister, there are a million and one games to choose from. Challenge your partner to your favorite or win them over to the idea by letting them choose what you play. And don’t forget you can always raise the stakes if it helps to keep things interesting! Over the past decade, there have been numerous new games that can be played with 2 (or more) players that are a lot more fun than the classics. Check out this list of 2021 People's Choice Top Games With Two (#1-200) by Ira Perkins on Boardgamegeek.com. There are also a bunch of board game YouTubers who make Top 10 lists of their favorite 2-player games.
Again, there are a wide variety of titles to chose from, so make sure you choose wisely. If you’re playing against one another, for example, pick something where you both stand an equal chance. Or if one of you tends to be a sore loser, best pick an adventure or puzzle game you can work through as a team.
If your partner plays video games regularly, sitting down together can be a great way to show you love them and want to learn more about their passion. Not to mention getting the adrenaline going a bit! Some fun co-op games to start with (so you can work together instead of against one another) are:
While playing games at home is undoubtedly cheaper and less time-consuming, heading out to find a new experience or shared hobby can be a great way to spend a free evening. Play a game of tennis, squash or another sport you both enjoy. Take part in a pub quiz or treasure hunt. Or consider trying an Escape Room together. It’s the ultimate bonding experience as you play games and solve puzzles to get yourselves out of a locked room. It certainly gets the heart racing as the time begins to tick down.
We often recommend The Ungame for couples looking to build emotional intimacy and improve their communication. It’s a great ice breaker game that is non-competitive and can help to break down some of the barriers to honest, open communication. It encourages conversation and may even be an eye opener into what’s going on in your partner’s mind. And if quizzes work well for you as a format, make sure to check out our article: Sex questions to ask your partner.
Slightly less of a game experience, but if you’re looking to boost intimacy and connection, check out the Blueheart app.
If you want to introduce game playing into the bedroom, there are heaps of ways you can do it. Challenge one another to find objects around the home to incorporate into foreplay – win points for the most inventive. Dress up and role play or act out a scene from a favorite movie or try using sex toys to spice things up. At first it can feel difficult to open up and be honest about what you would like to try in the bedroom, but with practice it will become easier to express your deepest sexual desires to your partner.
There really are many benefits to making life more playful - go on, we challenge you to give it a try!