By John and Wendy Godfrey of Marriage Rescue Associates.
It happens to almost all married couples at some point or another: regular romantic dinners turn into lazy, boring weekends on the sofa. Your life falls into a predictable routine. You look around and realize you don’t know how you got here, but now you’re in a rut.
Does this sound familiar?
Have you been letting weeks go by without giving each other much attention?
Are you sick of planning those same old, thoughtless dinner-and-a-movie date nights?
If so, take heart: reconnecting with your spouse doesn’t have to be complicated. And to prove it, below, consider five fun, unexpected, off-the-wall date ideas sure to get sparks flying again in your marriage.
Jumping into a new experience can be exhilarating and terrifying — but feeling the rush of adrenaline becomes a bonding experience when you take it on together. Find an activity that neither of you has ever done before, whether that’s ballroom dancing, taking a photography class or tasting Ethiopian food, and decide to make it your next date night.
Always keep your ears open for new ideas of things to try, and then commit to being regularly adventurous together. In the process, you may just discover things you never knew about each other or even a shared love of weekend road trips — you never know.
2. Attend a Conference
There are few things that can jump-start the path to re-connection faster than a concentrated set of hours or days listening to marriage-focused advice. Pay attention to conferences and retreats hosted by your community center or church. Attend one of these events together and plan to go out for coffee or dinner afterward to discuss what you’ve heard.
Remember when meeting your spouse for dinner sent butterflies through your stomach? When was the last time you got dolled up for one another and did something special, just the two of you? Re-enact the early days of your relationship by reliving one of your first dates: get ready separately, the way you used to when you were still single, and make a night of a concert, show, dinner or walk around town.
Rehearsing some old experiences can be just the thing to stir up old feelings, including those warm and fuzzies that once made your relationship so fun.
Think outside yourself as a couple and reach out to people who are hurting; this can help you enlarge your perspective and gain a sense of purpose in your marriage. Ideas include volunteering at a local homeless shelter, tutoring area kids, visiting loved ones in nursing homes or hosting a dinner party with another married couple you both know and enjoy.
The point is to get involved in something bigger than just you and your relationship in order to see who you can serve and love together.
5. Go Big
When it’s wow factor you’re after, think big and plan a date neither of you will forget for a while. Book a helicopter ride around your city. Surprise your spouse with a key to a fancy hotel. Spend a few weeks planning an epic scavenger hunt that ends with a picnic in the park. Think about activities that will feel special and unusual to both of you, and find a way to make a big splash.
Going through lackluster periods in your marriage is pretty common — but how you respond to those periods is up to you! Use the ideas above to breathe fresh life into your relationship and enjoy the closeness that comes as a result.
Pastoral Counselors, John and Wendy Godfrey, run a crisis marriage counseling practice, Marriage Rescue Associates, that is created to help couples enhance their relationship. They offer everything from counseling to marriage retreats, which attributes to their 90% success rate.