In a Relationship Rut? These 18 Activities Will Reinvigorate the Spark

First-date energy.

By Stacey Lindsay
man holding woman on beach

One of the toughest realities of partnership is that the honeymoon phase will end. For many, the spark fizzles after a first few whimsical months. For others, the time of flushed cheeks and secret kisses never wanes. Being a self-proclaimed romantic, I’ve found there to be a key to the latter: proactivity. The honeymoon period may close but some whole-hearted determination in the guise of unique date ideas and a shared commitment can keep the spark alive. Heck, it can grow stronger—and sexier.

What I’m suggesting isn’t revolutionary. But to be honest, I’ve found ways to stay intentional to be some of the best tools for living a considered life. Because time passes quickly. We get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines and quotas that we overlook the good stuff, and this hurts relationships. Making the time to connect with your loved one can sometimes be the ingredient to keeping it exciting. As lauded psychotherapist Esther Perel believes, taking risks and doing things together outside your comfort zones is requisite for keep things sexy.

Featured image by Lauren Riboldi.

Man and woman holding each other.
Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

The coolest part is that the ways to keep a relationship exciting don’t always take grand gestures or epic trips across the world. Some of the best, sexiest moments I’ve had with my boyfriend are simple, goofy, and free. So in that light, here are 18 unique date ideas—or you could even say activities to do when you’re bored together this winter—to help nurture your connection. Each will help keep the spark as bright as it was those first few months of being together. 

18 Unique Date Ideas

1. Throw a Dance Party

Nothing screams hilarity, fun, and vulnerability more than getting down with the person you love. Be it at home or at a local bar, put on some of your favorite songs and let loose. It’s medicine.

2. Go for a Walk and Talk

Google “walk and meetings” and droves of articles will pop up touting the benefits of hitting the pavement for intense conversations. Just as this exercise helps us in the work world, it does wonders for our personal lives. Research shows the action of walking next to one another helps put the mind and body at ease, lowers stress, and increases engagement. So pick a walk topic and intention, be it light or intense, and get going with your partner. Not only is this one of my favorite unique date ideas, it’s an incredible workout for the body and heart.

3. Watch Each Other’s Favorite Films—and Then Discuss

This is likely a two-night activity. Give your partner the freedom and support to choose one of their favorite films of all time, ideally one you haven’t yet seen. Watch it together and follow the screening with a fun conversation about what the film evokes for them. Switch it up and do the same for you. It’s incredible how art can bring out the deepest layers of someone.

4. Play Your Favorite Songs

Much like the above, pick several songs that you love and play them for your partner. Tell them what you love most about each one and how it makes you feel. Then switch it around. 

5. Meditate Together

It’s relaxing, healthy, and so therapeutic. Meditating is also beautiful to engage in as one of the healthiest unique date ideas and an act of self-love with your partner. 

Two women sitting on sofa.
Image by Balathée Photography

6. Hold a Relationship (or Marriage) Meeting

Just as it sounds, this concept takes setting a date, sitting down, and chatting about your connection. It’s an antidote to complacency because, as Brittany so aptly puts it, we may talk to our partners all the time, but having a relationship or marriage meeting means there’s an intention behind what we’re communicating at that moment. Explore things that are working, pain points, and what you’d each love more of in your relationship. Doing this can open the doors to deeper connection and commitment to each other and the bond you share.

7. Go to a New Old Restaurant

You know those places you drive by day after day, year after year, and never try? It’s often a result of our habits. Choose a restaurant that’s been around for a while and make a date night out of it. Ask to speak to the owners to learn more about their story. While it’s fun to make a reservation at the hot new restaurant, it can be rewarding to learn more about the institutions that have served a community.

8. Read Passages Aloud 

A favorite book is a window into someone’s inner mind and soul. Ask your partner to choose their favorite book and read a passage or two aloud to you. Do the same for them. Talk about visions, emotions, and ideas that come up for each of you.

9. Volunteer in Your Neighborhood

Whether it be at an animal shelter, a food bank, a local Boys and Girls Club chapter, or a neighborhood cleanup—giving back is unparalleled for our souls. That’s doubled when it’s shared with your love.

Couple holding hands in living room.
Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

10. Take Out a Single Friend

When we’re partnered up, we often don’t spend as much one-on-one time with our single friends. And why do we reserve sharing fun dinners for other couples? Push this idea aside by taking out a single friend. It’s so rewarding and inspiring to give a dear friend your undivided attention, and even more so when it’s you and your partner shedding all the light on them.

11. Explore Your Love Languages

Dr. Gary Chapman was on to something: The author and therapist believes that every one of us speaks what he calls a “love language.” Essentially, it’s a specific way we all communicate our love to people, mainly intimate partners. There are five, and each one of fascinating and telling. Spend a night going through the various love languages to discover how you and your partner express your feelings. This has been life-changing for me.

12. Cook a New Meal from Scratch

Aim to make a dish neither of you has ever made or eaten. If you need inspiration, pull out a cookbook and open it to a random page. Make your shopping list, grab your ingredients at the market, then head back to get cooking. Lean into every minute of the process. This is a Saturday turned blissful. 

13. Do a Speed (or Slow) Round of Questions

First, set some parameters. Do you want the questions to stay within a topic? Is anything off-limits? Can you pass on a question? The rules are yours to create. Just keep your eye on the goal here, which is to learn more about the person you love. Consider this a direct line to the good stuff.  

14. Rearrange Your Furniture

Freshening up your space(s) can be invigorating. Spend the afternoon moving the sofa around, re-hanging art, mixing up lighting, and weeding out any décor pieces that no longer serve. If you don’t live together, dedicate time for each of your spaces.

15. FaceTime with Family

When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with Aunt Ann? Or has your partner ever met your Uncle Bill? Have a video chat with a beloved extended family member—on your side, their side, or both—for no other reason than to say hi, share memories, and connect.

Man and woman kissing.
Image by Wynn Myers

16. Begin to Plan an Exotic, Wild, Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip

Begin is the operative word here—and this can mean simply exploring the ultimate destination and activity you’d love to go on. Explore ideas. Talk about the why, how, and where of the trip. Discuss the obstacles. Be open about your fears. The mere act of saying aloud ‘I want to go to the Arctic’ makes it more of a reality that you both can work to make happen one day. 

17. Share Old Photos

Pick a handful of photos from each of your pasts and tell each other about the context of each: Where were you? What do you remember feeling at the time? Who took the photo? How do you feel looking at this now? Looking back at our past is a beautiful way to tap into vulnerability for a more connected future.

18. Write Letters to Each Other

Set the mood for this one by lighting some candles and putting on jazz. Then grab sheets of paper (no computers or phones!), sit down, and write letters to each other. Get deep. Divulge how you felt when you met, what you love about your relationship now, and where you want it to go. You can read them to each other when you’re done or mail them. Don’t hold back. After all, getting out of our comfort zones sparks the good stuff.