Ways to keep date night exciting

Jan 3, 2012 at 4:05 a.m. ET

When a relationship transitions from new to comfortable, date night can lose its luster if you start to take it for granted. Keep date night exciting and rekindle the excitement you felt when you first started dating.

Couple at playground

Set the mood

Remember when your relationship was brand new and you spent hours anticipating your dates? Recreate those early-dating preparations: Carefully select an outfit that shows off your best assets, spend time on your hair and makeup, and spritz on your favorite perfume. Make sure you both turn off your phones so that you can stay focused on each other. Practice good first-date behavior by paying your partner genuine compliments and asking him questions about himself and his interests.

Spice up old standbys

It's easy to fall into a date-night rut. Busy schedules, parenting duties and work responsibilities might prevent you from taking that last-minute weekend trip or spontaneous spa day. You still can channel the fun and excitement, though, by adding a little spice to your standard date night. For example, if you always grab takeout and a movie on Friday nights, switch it up by cooking a gourmet meal together and eating it in front of the fire instead of the television. If game night is your old standby, play in your lingerie or play for stakes: Whoever wins gets a massage, or whoever loses has to do the dishes.

Trade dating responsibilities

After a long week, planning a date night can feel like a pain. Instead of leaving all the responsibility with one person — which can create resentment — switch off planning duties. To keep this exciting, the date planner should keep the evening's activities a secret, and the other person isn't allowed to complain.

Date outside the box

While movies and bowling can be fun, they can get old. Fast. Toss out those old ideas and try more creative dates. Consider taking dance lessons, volunteering, hiking or even going out for dessert instead of dinner. Date night will be much more exciting if you're both stretched beyond your comfort zones. Plus, doing something new gives you the opportunity to get to know different sides of your partner.

Channel your inner children

Date night should be fun. Checking your phones at the dinner table or dozing off in the movie theater don't make for fun dates. Keep it fresh by kicking up your heels and acting silly. Mix up martinis and sip them as you draw sidewalk-chalk portraits of each other in your driveway. Dust off your old rollerskates and zip around the neighborhood holding hands. Make date night exciting again by making it fun.

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