By Cris Merz and Sally Camm
It is Valentine’s Day and you are looking for something fun and different to do. Most couples have a nice dinner out, maybe a movie as well. Why not find something out of the ordinary? Be original and show your partner a little spontaneity in life – get certified and go diving. In 1993, Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at Stony Brook University, and colleagues published a study that found couples who spent time jointly doing new and exciting activities were more satisfied with their relationships.
Sally and I have been diving together for almost 5 years and we love it and these are the reasons why.
We get to learn to communicate in a different way – hand signals rather than talking. Learning how to effectively communicate with your partner will strengthen the trust, honesty, and respect you have for each other and the relationship. Being able to take that communication to a whole new level while scuba diving can make your relationship that much stronger as a couple. “Are you OK?’ “Do you want to go near that wreck?” “Do we go deeper or shallower?” “Did you see that shark?” Yes, there is a sense of quiet while you are both underwater but the “conversation” doesn’t end – it simply carries on in a different “language”.
Planning toward common goals – from what you pack to where you go when you’re underwater to who will drive home after the dive because one of you is zonked out from the Bonine – is part of the fun. Scuba diving doesn’t start the moment you get in the water; it starts the moment you decide to go. We usually start planning a few days before on logistics like snacks, cash, and where we will go for lunch after the dive, but the afternoon before is when we whip out our checklists and pack our gear. That can be a lot of fun as we do a double check on our partner’s equipment and our shared “save-a-dive” kit. This is also a good way to understand your partner’s “needs and wants” and because of the planning and communication of what you hope to accomplish on these particular dives and what gear you need to do this, you can ensure both are going to have a great time because you have both planned and agreed on what to get out of this adventure. Win-win.
Working through problems
Scuba diving gives couples an opportunity for problem-solving – with the post-dive debrief and how issues that cropped up will be addressed in the future. Yes, the dive was great but it could have been better. “Why did we swim against the current toward the end?” “I don’t know, how can we avoid this in the future?” Relationships take work and problem solving together is a great way to work through those problems together as a team, not individuals.
Scuba is fun and having fun together is imperative to any healthy relationship. Scuba brings you close to some really great marine life as well as historic artifacts like shipwrecks. The water is about 75% of the planet’s surface and, by becoming a scuba diver, you and your partner get to explore a world that so few people have been able to see with their own eyes. It also opens new adventures for you when you and your partner go on vacation. Heading to Cancun for a quick vacation to enjoy a margarita on the white beach? Take a morning and visit MUSA, the underwater museum with over 500 permanent life-sized and monumental sculptures. Heading to Hawaii on a weeklong getaway? Take a night dive on the Big Island and explore the magical dances of the giant manta rays hovering over you as they come into the reef to be cleaned by the Hawaiian cleaner fish.
One of the best things about being in a relationship is sharing adventures and experiences. One of the best moments immediately after the dive is getting out of the water and yelling, “OMG, OMG…did you see that turtle swim right by me?” “Are you kidding me? I think I got an awesome picture right as it swam above your head!” Yes, scuba diving is fun but sharing it with someone special makes it so much better. And in the end, it doesn’t have to be just your partner. If you have children age 10 or older, they can get certified too and you can make it a family thing.
It doesn’t matter if your relationship is new or old, going great or sorting through some ups-and-downs, scuba diving will strengthen your relationship in ways that a week of bingeing Better Call Saul won’t be able to do. Increasing your communication with your partner, enjoying planning an activity together, finding the benefits of problem solving as a couple, having fun doing what few people do regularly, and then sharing that fun is a great way to spend time on a Valentine’s Day weekend, honeymoon, or any time you want to spice up your lives as a couple.
If you aren’t certified already, find your nearest SDI Dive Center and get started today.
To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.