Since the film Bucket List came out in 2007, most of us haven't just heard of bucket lists, we've got one. Mine includes: traveling internationally, getting over my irrational fear of karaoke, and finishing a book I started writing years ago.
Bucket lists reflect our unique dreams and desires, which makes them deeply personal. They're also inspirational: They remind us of what we want to accomplish and of the qualities we hope to honor more fully before we die. In my case, we're talking about adventure, creativity and overcoming challenges, to name but a few. Viewed through the lenses of doing (what we want to experience) and being (who we aspire to be) bucket lists aren't just a boon to our personal growth. They also benefit our romantic relationships.
Research shows that trying new things together reinforces relationship happiness. Novelty not only provides more ways for us to connect, it gives us a new and renewed perspective on our partners.
How do you go about creating a couples bucket list? Start with these three questions.
- What new experiences and adventures do we yearn to have with each other?
- What do we want to create together as a couple?
- Who do I most want to be in our relationship?
Feel free to answer these questions jointly. Or you can respond separately and then compare notes, highlighting areas of overlap. Focus on the big picture if you notice differences. For example, don't assume that your wish for more romance and your partner's interest in a course on Tantric sex mean you don't agree. My guess is you share a desire for more intimacy, maybe passion, too. So ask yourselves:
What might be possible for me, and for us, if I tried what my partner suggests?
Unlike items on our most common to-do list — buy milk, pay bills, etc — it's easy to defer our relationship bucket list (and our individual one, too) to some vague future. "We'll explore our sensuality after our kids leave home," we tell ourselves, or "we'll take a cross-country road-trip after we retire."
It's true that financial, work and other factors mean we might not be able to do everything on our bucket lists right now, and it's also true that adjusting our attitudes and getting creative go a long way to fulfilling our dreams. In other words:
What can we do right now, whether today or next week or next month?
Why work toward creating and fulfilling your relationship bucket list now, and not in the future? Because the things you do now contribute to a fulfilled future together. They shift your focus from what could happen to what you can make happen.
The great news is that if you finish your relationship bucket list sooner rather than later, you get to create a new one to inspire more connection, more love and a more fulfilling future as a couple.
Let's help each other out. In the comments section below, please share one or two items you have, or want to see, on your relationship bucket list. I'll start.