Reading Together – A Relationship Building Tool
Being a part of a relationship that is steadily growing and being tended to is one of the most satisfying human experiences. By living mindfully and putting in the intentional time, thought, practice, and energy into building relationships, we can achieve that satisfaction. There are endless things to do to strengthen your marriage or relationship. Choosing approaches that best fit your relationship goals will ensure the growth your partner and you are seeking and working towards.
Why Reading Together Brings You Closer
Reading together as a couple can be an extremely positive relationship-building tool. We’re going to examine three unexpected reasons reading together can be your new relationship obsession and how you can get the most from your experiences reading together.
For the purpose of what we’re discussing today, what you’re reading together is up to you! This is not intended to be geared towards reading relationship or self-help books. These tips are geared towards reading whatever you choose as a couple. This could be novels, biographies, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, scriptures – whatever works for YOUR relationship!
Reason One: Reading Together Creates Topics for Conversation
While silence can be golden at times, other times you may find a lull in your conversations with your partner even though you’d like the engagement. Choosing a book or article to read together creates a natural variety of topics to discuss as a partnership. Nothing is off-limits or “wrong” here. Maybe reading created a new train of thought completely unrelated to the book. That train of thought is still worth discussing with your partner.
Let’s examine what some conversation topics based on your reading can be. For this example, we’ll say that you’ve chosen to read a novel together. Here are some topics of conversation you can have as a couple based on what you’re reading.
- Plotline – Starting your conversation by discussing the plotline will most likely end up with multiple branches of conversation flowing naturally.
- Characters – What do you like and dislike about the characters? What qualities do you admire in some of them? Are there any similarities between any of the characters and your partner or you?
- Lessons learned – What are your takeaways from the experiences in the story? How do they apply to your life? Do you agree or disagree with what the story may be teaching?
Reason Two: Reading Together Can Help You Connect in An Intellectual Way
In relationships, we often fall into patterns, we create habits, and we repeat cycles. This isn’t intended to be a negative observation. People are drawn to consistency for many reasons, but when we want to experience a surge of growth in our relationships, a unique experience needs to occur to initiate that surge. Reading together can be that spark.
When we choose to commit to our partner, it’s not because we know EVERYTHING there is to know about them. It’s more because we are intrigued by learning more about what makes them, well, them. Connecting on an intellectual level is one way to explore and experience our partner in new ways. Reading together can pull out our partner’s intellectual characteristics while simultaneously pulling out our own.
When we read, we are stimulating our thoughts. When we observe and discuss our thoughts, we are stimulating our minds even more. Doing this together can be a very connecting experience. Engaging in conversations beyond the plot of a story can open critical thinking pathways that you usually don’t explore together.
Gaining an understanding of how your partner gets from point A, to point B, to point C, and so-on in a thought process can help you understand your partner more profoundly. Regularly engaging in these conversations can help you establish patterns in the way your partner thinks and perceives the world; therefore, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your partner.
You don’t have to agree on your thoughts and observations about what you’re reading. In fact, disagreements over opinions can spur great intellectual conversations that can also lead to a sense of closeness. After all, part of relationships is learning how to disagree effectively.
According to Psychology Today, there is even scientific research behind being attracted to intellectual experiences. So when your husband is analytically conversing with you about his thoughts on what you’re reading, you may find that really sexy. Or when your girlfriend is explaining how something she read has enlightened her in a new way, she may be especially hot to you during that moment. It’s normal. And it’s another benefit of reading together 😉
Reason Three: Reading Together Creates an Interpersonal Experience
When you read together, you’re sharing something that’s just “yours.” Chances of your friends or family reading the exact same media at the same time as you are pretty low. Having an experience that is personal to the two of you creates a bond. It’s almost like a “secret” between the two of you, even though it’s something that does not require being secretive. It feels special to engage in an activity that the two of you have decided to participate in together.
I had a desire to write on this topic because of the many positive experiences I’ve had reading with my partner. At the beginning of our relationship, we read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. For us, we read independently and then discuss what we read together. Some couples may choose to read aloud to each other, and that would work great too!
Reading this particular book was a very personal experience for us. The main theme and lessons we learned from this book are based on the concept of what love is. At least that’s what we pulled from the pages when we read it! I say it was about love because that’s what we wanted it to be about, but I’m positive there are other amazing themes in there as well. In fact, I’ve been itching to read it again to see what I missed the first time.
When we discussed our reading almost daily, our conversation centered on the author’s perceptions of love and how we related them to our relationship. The characteristics of how the author viewed loved were very similar to our own views. It felt reassuring to feel love in our relationship as described in the book, and it felt encouraging to continue on our path to understanding love more deeply.
Reading that particular book together created an intimate experience that I still treasure. We talk fondly of our conversations about the first book we read together. I am absolutely sure of the deeper connection I felt with my partner after completing the book and our conversations on it that have never ended. Thoughts still arise over a year later that are centered on what we learned from those pages.
Have you read together as a couple? What have been your most favorite reads? Leave a comment below and share your tips with our community! If you enjoyed this article, please share on social media using the buttons below and sign-up for our newsletter to receive advice straight in your inbox.