Get ready for romance. We've found the latest dating trend - and for once it makes sense.
Say hello to “strength dates”. They’re actually a pretty simple concept - you select one of your top strengths and one of your partner’s and then organise an outing that lets each of you put that strength into practice. For instance, if you’re an avid reader and your partner is incredibly social, a date night to a writer’s festival is the strength date that dreams are made of. Make sense?
So why do this? Well “strength dates” are guaranteed to bring you and your partner closer, because they’re based on positive psychology - specifically, when we actively seek out strengths in one another rather than focusing on weaknesses, we continue growing as individuals and as a couple.
“The idea of a strength date is genius because it taps into our human need for acceptance and validation,” says psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada from Lysn. “We all want to be loved and celebrated for the things we are naturally good at, and strength dates do just that.”
These dates can be especially useful for anyone concerned that they're losing themselves in their relationships because they let you bond with your partner while celebrating yourself. They can also help out when the things that we first saw as positives in our partner start to niggle and drive us mad.
Here’s how to make them work for you:
Recognise your own strengths first
Of course first up, you need to figure out what your strengths are. Breanna suggests that as a first step, watch out for your own excitement about what you do. “When we do something we are good at and enjoy, our excitement is obvious. Watch out for this in yourself and then your partner - when do they seem the most animated?”
Next, is there something that makes you or your partner stand out from the crowd, something that makes you unique? Your sense of humour, perhaps? His calm nature or love of animals?
If you’re still not sure what your own strengths are, you can take an online test. The VIA Institute on Character has a great free one which takes about 10 minutes to complete. Find it here.
Discuss your strengths together
“Ask your partner and family and friends to write down a time when they thought you were at your best and why,” suggests Breanna. “Their responses are likely to reveal some similarities and themes, thus allowing you to better understand your abilities and pinpoint just what your strengths are for your upcoming date.”
Talk about your results and see if you agree with each other’s, or think any strengths went unmentioned. Then, decide which strengths you want to use to plan the date.
Get on to your strength dates
“So your partner might be very logical and good with numbers whereas you could be emotional and more connected to words. Things like Trivia nights and board games will allow you both to flourish and participate in some friendly competition,” says Breanna. “Activities like this also strengthen your connection because they require teamwork where you are both working towards a goal.”
You’re great at cooking but your partner prefers socialising instead of spending time in the kitchen? “Consider doing a cooking class over a glass of wine where it will give you an opportunity to refine your skills and allow your partner to enjoy the social aspect of the class,” she suggests.
And don't ignore the more, well, problematic strengths a person may have. “Maybe your partner is very good at arguing or you might lose it at certain times,” says Breanna. “Could this strength be better described as ‘passionate’, and if so, is there a way to utilise this passion in a fun productive way like going to a footy match where passion is encouraged?”
Do it all again… and again!
Overwhelmingly you’ll find that these dates are mutually fun - at the heart of them, of course, is that they’re planned to celebrate both of you and what you love. Look at your list of strengths and come up with a variety of ideas for future dates—the possibilities are endless, and your relationship will be a happier, healthier one as a result.