It happens in every relationship. The more time you spend with your (beloved) spouse, the more you find you can look at them without seeing them, the more you realize you are hearing them without listening. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad match, it’s simply the effect of the ins and outs of everyday living that, once traversed with someone you used to put on a pedestal, knocks that pedestal down to size. There are a dozen names for the ultra giddy, goofy, joyful desperation you felt when you first met your spouse: puppy love, the honeymoon period, infatuation, new relationship energy. No matter what you call it, don’t you wish you could go back to those days and figure out a way to bottle that feeling?
So far no one has successfully figured out how to build a time machine, but if you make time to be alone with your spouse in the form of ‘date night,’ you can recapture some of that fresh love feeling. You might start slow and ease into it, setting aside a night once every two weeks, then move onto once a week. Whatever works to get the two of you into a place where looking into each other’s eyes is more important than checking your Smartphone. Bonus, not only will you have fun on your date, the positive effects of remembering what brought you two together in the first place will radiate into your everyday lives.
What To Do?
Sure, you could go super fancy. That’s what they show in the commercials, right? Sexy couples with knowing smirks, dressed to the nines, cruising in a shiny car toward the valet of an exclusive five-star restaurant or some sort of extravagant theater event. But date night doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or find you and your mate in some sort of manufactured ‘romantic’ liaison. Here are a few ideas to get back to the fun, carefree excitement that you shared when your love was new, when you were caught up in the swirl of obsessive crushing that laid the foundation for the relationship you share now.
Get Hot For Teacher
Is there something your spouse enjoys that means nothing to you? Or vice versa? Say, for instance, your spouse played baseball in school and you’ve never been to a game. Have him take you to a game and explain what’s going on over hot dogs and Cracker Jacks. Or better yet, have him take you to a batting cage and let him show you ‘good form.’ Take turns. Take your spouse to an art museum and explain the process of Andy Warhol’s screen prints. The key here is to open your mind and really get interested in something that is meaningful to your spouse. This is also a good way to practice really listening to each other.
Learn something brand new together. Pick an activity that neither of you have ever tried before. Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon have ideas and huge discounts on things you’ve probably never dreamed of trying, from distillery tours and sushi making/sake tasting event s to flying lessons. This will give you a chance to work as a team, exploring new territory and being in a position where it’s okay to make mistakes or look silly.
History 1 “on” 1
With your spouse, make a list of favorite moments in your early relationship. At what moment did you know you were in love? Was it at a specific restaurant? Were you walking along a beach? Where did you decide to get married? Where did you first, you know, do it? Choose one of these moments/locations for a date and go back there. Talk about it, relive it. If you’re feeling really ambitious, reenact it. Wear the same perfume, put songs from that year on your playlist and listen to them on the way there. Get back in that space, literally and emotionally.
Whether or not you and your spouse dated in high school, you can pretend you did. Get pizza and see a cheap movie that neither of you care about so that you can make out and hold hands the whole time. Get ice cream instead of heading for the bar. There is an innocence and excitement that comes with not putting too much thought into what you’re doing or where you’re going, when you know that the real fun is in wondering if you’re going to get to third base that night or not.
Be ‘Good’ Lazy
There are two kinds of lazy. There is the lazy where you don’t bother taking time to work on your relationship and just go about your everyday business. Then there is the good lazy, where you specifically take time with your spouse to do absolutely nothing. When was the last time you and your loved one had spare time together? Get in your pajamas, order dinner in and play cards, watch guilty pleasure TV, make prank phone calls. Whatever it takes to get you laughing and get you back in the place where it feels like the moment will never end.
There is truth to the hackneyed expression that ‘relationships are a rollercoaster,’ but, remember, people stand in line for hours at amusement park to get on rollercoasters. People board a rollercoaster simply for the fun and terror that comes with riding it, as long as the rollercoaster has a strong foundation and doesn’t look like it’s going to collapse. Maintaining that foundation is of the utmost importance. Consider ‘date night’ part of that maintenance schedule.