Since when did life, relationships, and fun have to be so serious? Our expectations can make date night feel like work. It's time to take a cue from the kids and remember how to play.
Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling...
1: PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD
Try a new recipe or create a signature cocktail together.
If you don't feel like cooking, have one person order takeout and then blindfold and feed the other. See if they can guess what they're eating. Be nice, no wasabi paste please!!
2: GAME NIGHT
We typically think of game night as a friends and family affair, but if you’d prefer a quiet night in, or have young children that can’t play difficult games yet, then game night with your partner is a great option.
Looking for something spicier? Have fun looking for bedroom board games. Have more fun playing.
3: TRY SOMETHING OUTSIDE YOUR ZONE
Because children have limited experience, they are always trying new things. Think about something you’ve seen or heard about that was intriguing but didn't sound like it was up your alley — from a pottery class, to an avant-garde movie, or monster truck exhibition — and give it a try.
Interested in physical challenges? Try indoor skydiving, hang gliding, scuba diving, a hot air balloon ride, driving a race car, mushing or snowmobiling, hitting the rapids in a kayak, or rafting, or... well, you get the point.
4: STORY TIME
Listen to an audiobook or podcast together. For a change of pace, just sit holding hands and enjoy the story.
Reading to one another can be very intimate too. Pick a book you've both wanted to read for awhile, or get really crazy and read each other poetry, the book Wildly Into the Dark is particularly wonderful.
5: PRETEND YOU'RE IN COLLEGE
Get drunk and play video games… ok, well not really. Since most of us aren't in college anymore, this probably looks more like "have a glass of wine or coffee and try not to fall asleep while playing on our child's xBox". But no matter what you call it, it's fun.
While you're at it, blast your music and eat a really heavy midnight snack in bed.
6: HEAD OUTSIDE
Don't limit yourself to a per-arranged hike or game of tennis. Jump outside for a spontaneous game of badminton, bocce, or croquet; or simply banter back and forth with Ogo Sport paddles, a Frisbee, or soccer ball.
Run through the sprinklers, take your coffee break in the tree house, push each other on the swing, or jump on the trampoline. Not only do these outside forays need not be planned, they can be short — fifteen minutes is enough for some smiles and a refresh.
7: ASK QUESTIONS
Children are always questioning, but as adults we just assume we know. Also, even as adults we can change, so what was true for us five years ago may not be what’s true for us now.
8: PLAY SPA
If you have long hair, have your spouse learn to braid it. (Sailors of yore used to have plaiting partners and they would take turns braiding each other's locks while at sea.)
Too complicated? Just wash each other's hair with a relaxing massage like they do at the salon. Use mint shampoo to make it tingle, or coconut so it smells like the beach.
Not into hair, paint your wife’s toes. Give your hubby a MANicure. Learn to shave one another, in all the places. Take a couples massage class.
9: GO ALONG FOR A RIDE
Kids are often along for the ride. They know when they have to be ready to leave but often they’re not involved in deciding much about their outings. While kids may not always like this, as an adult it’s a fun switch from being in charge.
Take turns coming up with secret places (like a new coffee shop or museum) to take each other. If your destinations aren't too far from home you can even blindfold each other for the car ride to add more suspense.
10: LAUGH WITH ABANDON
Laughter is priceless. Kids know this instinctively and are naturals at falling into piles of giggling lumps. As a toddler my daughter would ask, "Mom, how can I make you laugh?" What a wonderful question!
So, how can you laugh with your partner? Watch a TV show with the volume off and make up your own dialog.
Find a good joke book, or website to read. Go to a comedy club, or rent a DVD of a comedic performance. Watch completely sophomoric movies and don't worry about what your friends might think of you watching them.
If all else fails — have a naked pillow fight!!