Falling in love is thrilling and exciting. In the first stages of the relationship, you want to learn everything about this mysterious new person. Their favorite song, their favorite food, what kind of music they like.
As time goes by, and we get to know our partners better, they become familiar to us. We can lose that feeling of connection and sometimes feel like we’re getting more distant. Maybe we start to take them for granted.
Language learning to the rescue!
Learning a new language with your partner can be a great way to reconnect and bring some more depth to your relationship. It helps you develop your communication skills, it’s a way to enhance the excitement in your relationships… and it can even make you sexier (I’ll explain).
5 Ways Learning a New Language Can Improve Your Relationship With Your Significant Other
Here’s how learning a new language with your partner can improve your relationships and how you can get started learning one.
1. Learning a New Language Can Inject Some Excitement Into Your Relationship
It turns out that doing new, exciting things together is one of the best ways to improve our relationships.
Research has found that one of the best predictors of happy and passionate long-term relationships was doing challenging and novel activities together. Another experiment found that couples who engaged in exciting activities together felt more satisfied in their relationship.
Learning a language could be your key to an exciting activity together—especially if it ends with backpacking around South America or chatting with the locals in rural Japan.
2. It Exercises Your Brain
Language acquisition is associated with the growth in several areas of the brain, including the hippocampus and parts of the cerebral cortex. Several studies have also found bilingualism can improve memory, problem-solving, the ability to multitask, and concentration.
With all this improved cognition, you’ll be in a better position to work through any relationship issues (and, hopefully, with better memory, you’ll never forget an anniversary!).
Learning a language has also been found to protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mental faculties healthy into old age can protect against relationship difficulties that cognitive declines could cause.
3. Learning a Language Can Make You More Emotionally Sensitive
Aneta Pavlenko, a Ukrainian-American linguist who specializes in bilingualism, has explained that people interpret their own emotions, as well as other people’s feelings, through the vocabulary that they have access to.
Her research has found that learning a new language can provide you and your partner with new vocabulary and even a new way to interpret and understand emotions. It can help you deepen your empathy and ability to understand your partner’s feelings.
But more than just vocabulary, when we learn to speak another language we actually learn about more than just words. We learn to pay closer attention to body language: to facial expressions, gestures, intonation, and more. This entire package of communication skills and practice will improve more than just your second language—it can also improve how you communicate with your partner.
4. It Helps You Think Outside the Box
It turns out that bilingual people tend to be more creative; they’re able to use more original problem-solving skills and respond better to challenging situations.
Relationships bring up a number of challenging situations that require effective and creative problem-solving. The flexibility and creativity that you develop along with your language skills could be a boon to the way you handle everyday relationship conflict.
5. Language Learning Makes You More Attractive
It’s true: a2013 survey found that 79% of adults report finding people that are bilingual more attractive than their monolingual peers. The study also found that people view bilingual individuals as more intelligent.
Learning a language could be just the thing to rekindle the spark between you and your partner.
How to Learn a Language with Your Partner
Have I convinced you to start learning a language with your significant other? It’s not hard to get started.
We’ve got everything you need to design your own home language immersion program, but here are some quick tips to help get the relationship benefits out of learning a language.
1. Make Your Goal to Have Fun
The best part of learning a language with your significant other is spending time with them. It’s an opportunity to introduce something new into your routine and rediscover each other. Learning a language doesn’t have to be—it shouldn’t be—boring. Believing that learning a language has to be boring is a common misconception.
In fact, the chances of you successfully learning a language are much greater when you make it fun. And that’s how you’ll get the best relationship results as well.
So start by committing to the idea that this is fun. Make that your foundation and then build from there.
2. Figure Out What Language You Want to Learn
Depending on your circumstances this may be obvious. Maybe your boyfriend’s family is German, or maybe your best friends live in Norway and speak Norwegian. The language you should learn might be obvious.
But if it’s not, you’ve got a chance to think about what would be the best option for you both. Maybe you have a strong interest in Japanese cuisine, or maybe you’ve read a travel book about Greece and are now inspired to sail through the Greek Islands.
Another way to choose is simply to choose the language that’s easiest for you. According to the Foreign Service Institute, Spanish and Italian are among the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and French. Choosing a language that shares the same etymological roots as English may make it a bit easier and a bit more satisfying for you both.
3. Make a Study Plan
To learn a new language you need to devote quality time to your studies—at least 30 minutes a day is ideal to make some real progress. But it shouldn’t be hard to do that if you’re doing it together: your studying won’t really be studying, it’ll be spending quality time with your partner.
4. Learn Using Fun Activities
Skip the grammar exercises—you don’t need them. And you don’t need to waste your time on expensive classes, either. Instead, start off with an engaging language app, like Pimsleur, and then complement it with a bunch of fun, engaging activities.
Ideas for Fun, Engaging Language Learning Activities
- Watch Netflix in your target language. If you are learning Portuguese, for example, try out Brazilian TV shows. Or, if you’re learning the “language of love”, try these Netflix shows in French. Make some popcorn and enjoy your partner’s company while you both learn.
- Cook together. Cooking for others is an act of love, and cooking together more so. It’s a great way to increase intimacy. Plus, recipes can be a great way to learn common food vocabulary, kitchen objects, and cooking verbs. And the best part is, in the end, you can enjoy a romantic dinner. Try making French winter soup, classic Spanish dishes, Brazilian feijoada, Italian pizza, Japanese food… Google’s the limit.
- Plan your next vacation. Planning a trip can be a great way to get excited about learning a language. Maybe you’d like to wander around the canals in Amsterdam or take a motorbike through rice fields in Vietnam. Plan your trip, buy the tickets… and then feel that extra motivation to learn a language.
- Play video games together. Yes, you actually can learn a new language by playing games. I know two couples that have video game dates and really enjoy how they’re both fun and collaborative. They even prompt effective communication. Why not play video games together in your target language?
- Discover new music. Search for playlists and discover new artists in the language you are learning. After that, try learning the lyrics and sing them on a karaoke date. Or, even better, learn to dance to the music you’re discovering. Dancing has been shown to increase emotional closeness and trust.
Learning a New Language Can Improve Your Relationship and Develop Intimacy With Your Partner
There are tons of reasons why learning a language can improve your relationship with your significant other. And, as a happy byproduct, you’ll end up with a new, useful skill.
Want to get started? Try a free lesson on Pimsleur.
Pimsleur can give you the conversational basics you need to get talking with your partner. Then you can complement Pimsleurs lessons with some of the fun activities listed above. And don’t forget to share your experience learning with your partner in the comments below!