Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows that those beautiful routines we build together can sometimes put limitations on the romance we share as a couple. Throw kids into the mix and it can become even more challenging to keep the spark alive – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
While I love our routine, I’ve learned that breaking it up can be key in keeping our relationship fresh and the romance alive. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day routines as well as fall into a rut when it comes to date nights out.
Many of us have a tendency to return to that restaurant we both love (over and over,) our annual vacation spots, or even that same little black dress, but stepping out of our comfort zones and into a more connected, exciting relationship can be key to keeping life together as a couple interesting. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Try a new restaurant.
Seems simple, but sharing a new experience can be such a great way to shake up your routine. I tend to lean on sites like The Infatuation for restaurant recommendations, but there are countless blogs and apps that can help you find the perfect place for your next date night. Make a reservation, possibly in an area of your city you don’t visit enough, and let the rest of your night play out. This is how we consistently discover new bars, coffee shops, parks, book stores and what not in NYC.
Get out of town.
We’ve rounded up best towns for a romantic getaway here before, but I cannot speak to the volumes of just how special a weekend, long weekend, week or any chunk of time is as a couple when you’re in the thick of parenting. Every parent deserves a break every now and then, but there is something so special about how taking that break together that truly ignites that spark and leaves you refreshed when you return to the routine.
Surprise happy hour drinks.
Maybe getting a sitter for an entire night isn’t an option for you, but you’ve got a trusty neighbor or friend who’s willing to watch the kids until bedtime, take advantage. I’ve done this a handful of times and it always brings us back to our dating days pre-marriage and parenthood. Get a gauge on when your partner might be off, meet them at work and have a bar in mind to grab a quick glass of wine before you’ve gotta rush home and dive back into real life. We’re big surprise people and these thoughtful gestures always go such a long way!
Pick up a thoughtful gift.
Have you read The 5 Love Languages? One of the love languages the author discusses is gift giving and in all honesty, it’s one I have a harder time remembering to do regularly. Here’s what has helped me to stay on top of thoughtful gift giving outside of holidays – keep a note in your phone and anytime your partner mentions a book they’ve been wanting, how they really like this particular store, that bottle of wine they’ve been dying to try or maybe even how they lost their only umbrella, write it down and find ways to take action. It’s always sweet to hand deliver a gift like this, but on occasion I’ve even Amazon Now’d a gift to my husband’s work and it’s always so appreciated.
I know what you’re thinking… duh! But any other parent out there knows how easy it is to neglect your sex life when you’re juggling everything else. A word of advice, don’t neglect it. We recently shared 5 reasons why sex is good for your health (which I highly recommend reading) and what’s right near the top of the list? Increased intimacy!
Book a one-night staycation.
Maybe leaving your city isn’t realistic with your kids, at least right now, and that’s totally understandable. One way we have tried to get some extended alone time is by having one of our siblings stay with our son overnight so we can do a one-night staycation somewhere in the city. I always turn to Hotel Tonight for affordable, last minute deals. And then depending on where we are at the moment, I’ll either book a reservation or make no plans but simply lounging in those hotel robes, ordering room service and sleeping in!
Plan a date night in.
After the kiddos are in bed treat your evening like a true date – no chores, work or phones. Tuck technology away (unless it’s a movie) and dedicate a night to enjoy each other’s company. Here are some ideas we’ve shared before to shake up a regular night at home!
Try a new recipe at home.
I’m not sure about you guys, but I get in the habit of making a lot of the same dishes over and over again. Life is busy and sometimes it just feels so much easier to stick to what I know than it does to venture out, but if you’re food lovers like we are, it’s always, always worth it to try something new. Because I’m a big Pinterest nerd I’m always pinning recipes and when I’m in need of something special I’ll turn back to my boards and start there. There are so many food blogs out there that make experimenting less intimidating and fool proof.
Leave little notes.
When life is busy and there hasn’t been time to connect with your partner it can feel lonely and isolating. One way we combat these feelings when we don’t necessarily have the time that day to sit down with each other is by leaving one another handwritten notes. Leave one on your partner’s nightstand, in the book they’re reading, on the bathroom mirror, in their work bag or even just shoot them a kind text. We all just want to be seen sometimes and I think that our routines can oftentimes blur everything too much!
Schedule an early morning together.
When relationships are new and exciting it’s easy to pass up sleep to spend time together. As we get more and more comfortable that extra hour of sleep just sometimes feels like the better choice, and as parents is sometimes the healthier choice, but there’s always an opportunity to make an exception. When date nights aren’t in the cards for us, one way we make time for each other is by waking up an extra hour early and having our coffee together at home. It’s simple, it’s free, but it’s a great way to start the day feeling more connected!