Keeping the Relationship Spark Alive

35 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Spark Alive

Standing on a lookout point on top of a rock, with calm waters glistening like diamonds in the warm sun and Long Island Sound gracing the far horizon, my husband and I stood over our favorite little beach, saying “forever I do”, surrounded by our closest family and friends, including my three incredible stepsons and an 8 month belly baby.  At a short moment’s notice, we decided to forgo our plans for a large wedding in the year ahead and gathered our family to join us in tying the knot at our favorite spot.  Our ad hoc wedding pretty much summarizes our craving for living life in the moment…amidst all the life’s planning, it’s those sporadic “let’s do this today” decisions that end up being super special, memorable, and fun.  Our view on life and love is that if it’s not fun, then you gotta make it fun.  So we invite and welcome you to join in on the fun of keeping the spark in your romantic relationship alive.

  1. Department Store Dates. As much as we vow not to shop at Walmart we keep finding ourselves strolling through the aisles because, quite frankly, it’s the only department store near us and you just can’t beat the deals on diapers.  Yet shopping for diapers with a toddler in tow isn’t very sexy, but it can be fun.  Get a little inventive and even a Walmart run can turn date worthy.
    • Walmart date 1: play hide and seek from the opposite end of aisles…now you see me, now you don’t.  It’s helpful if you have a toddler giggling on the other end, so people don’t think you’re completely deranged.
    • Walmart date 2: those huge wire cages at the end of the toy aisles can be so much fun! On our last trip, we got our hands on some hula hoops and were showcasing our hip skills (or lack therefore) to our very amused toddler.
    • Walmart date 3: Small shopping means no cart means holding hands and giggling over strange products like teenagers.  
  2. Let him buy you lingerie. Give him your sizes and dimensions (no cheating here ladies, this is your man we’re talking about here, he knows and loves every inch of you), or better yet, let him grab the measuring tape and measure your bra size together.  Then let him loose…keep your opinions to yourself and let his imagination lead the way.  When he returns with the bag of sexy goodies or when the package shows up at your door, it’ll be like Christmas all over again.  Make the unwrapping that much more fun by modeling his picks for him.
  3. Flirt daily.  This is so important, I’m going to repeat it…flirt daily! Just because you’ve been together for eons and know the schedule of each other’s burps and butt scratches, doesn’t mean you get to stop dating and flirting.  Romantic relationships are an ongoing process, and if you quit being romantic the relationship will quickly quit you or will turn into a “living with a roommate” situation. Flirting can be subtle, it can be unnoticeable to the world around you, it can span merely a second.  But if you do it a lot, those seconds add up to moments that anchor your love for each other. So next time you have kids yelling at each other across the dinner table, the toddler mashing bananas in his hair, and the dogs howling over table scraps…take a deep breath, tune your ears towards your partner, lock eyes and just get lost in each other’s stare. Once you end up with a goofy smile on your face you’re free to go back to your normally schedule chaos. 
  4. Cheap shots – my husband and I have an ongoing game of cheap shots that started somewhere around the first date and has no end in sight.  We pretend to keep score, but in reality we’ve lost count and just like to keep things even…with playful slaps on the butt. Trying to keep our butts safe as we walk past generally means we end up dancing in circles around each other, fighting off that twitchy hand.
  5. Get in the car and go – we absolutely love impromptu trips to nowhere.  We pick a direction, get in our car, and go.  Sometimes we do it by ourselves (thank you grandparents) and sometime we’ll let any willing kids tag along (toddler kinda has no choice, if we want the teenager to come along we generally have to drag his butt out of his room).  Past impromptu trips took us to places like The Yankee Candle village, some quirky little vintage shops, Kent State Park, and the majestic Gloucester in off season (finding a place to stay overnight was a challenge and we almost resorted to sleeping in our car, alas we found a nice little hotel on the side of town that was already open for the upcoming tourist season).
  6. Dance together
  7. Share 2 hobbies – one hobby that you feel super motivated about, and one that your partner feels super motivated about, so that on the days you feel drained and like hiding from the world, you can support each other and do it anyway
  8. Sneak around – buy a couple single serve ice cream cups and after the kids go to bed, sneak out to eat it at your favorite spot.  If your kids are too young to stay home by themselves or might freak out if you’re not there, sneak out to your back yard and lay on a blanket under the stars (just watch out for dog poop if you have dogs)
  9. Create a fun tradition with your hunny – my hubby and I have a very laid back routine every other Friday, when the step-kids go to their mom’s for the weekend, but we look forward to it as our biweekly sanity.  We get a tray of sushi from our local Big Y grocery store (please don’t judge us) and two mini tubs of our favorite ice cream (yes, our stomachs surprisingly handle the combination), settle in on the couch in our room and watch Shark Tank together.  And trust me, after two weeks of keeping up with a house full of boys and dogs, and working what feels like around the clock…a Friday night in on the couch feels like a vacation.    
  10. Get sick together – ok, I definitely don’t recommend anyone getting sick, but if you do, get it over with at the same time, hehe.  Recently both my husband and I caught a very nasty stomach bug from our toddler and ended up spending the entire weekend in bed.  Not quite how we imagined a weekend in bed, but it definitely kept us close.
  11. Hang out with other grownups – we went to our friends’ house for New Year’s this past year, minus the kiddos (step-kids went to their grandfather’s, baby went with my parents).  It was so refreshing to spend some fun, relaxing time with other grown ups, and NOT talk about nap time and diaper schedules.  If your schedule revolves around kids, I highly recommend taking some time off for grownup talk.
  12. Make believe – who says only kids get to play pretend.  Keep sharpening that imagination of yours and play make believe.  Plan fun fictitious trips, down to the color of your exotic cabin walls and the details on your flip flops.  Budget has no limit in pretend planning, and neither does the imagination. And who knows…maybe someday your pretend trip will become reality, in that case, you’ll be prepared.
  13. Cook together
  14. Turn running errands into quality time
  15. Go for a ride and listen to podcasts or audio books together
  16. Hide your partner’s favorite candy and make them do silly stuff to find it
  17. Find new tickle spots (when we first met, my man told me he wasn’t ticklish…boy was he wrong)
  18. Tease each other (kindly! no bullying allowed)
  19. Have each other’s back, especially in public (ex. poker room, the macho guy dissing his girlfriend)
  20. Do whatever you need to do to keep feeling attractive, sexy, and healthy – get up five minutes early to iron that special shirt instead of wearing another tshirt, put on makeup, prim your hair, go for a morning walk.
  21. Take time for yourself – not everything has to be done together.  Spending time alone, or away from each other, is just as important to keeping the relationship flourishing.  You are both unique people who were attracted to each other because of who you are, your interests, likes, hobbies.  Continue to nurture that part of you.
  22. Talk about the gritty stuff – no topic is off limits in our relationship, and it not only keeps the conversations fresh and interesting, it helps us understand each other better.
  23. Push each other’s limits – we all have our strengths and weaknesses, understanding and respecting those strengths and weaknesses can be a great way to push each other’s boundaries to try new things, and get better at things we’re afraid of.  Both my husband and I are adventure and travel junkies, however his craving for risk far outweighs mine. Yet he knows how far he can push me to try new things, because he knows the exhilaration I will feel will be worth it. 
  24. Surprise each other
  25. Go to a paint nite together
  26. Respect each other’s in-laws and ex’s (if they’re still in your lives by necessity, such as through kids)
  27. Understand each other’s love language
  28. Try something new for both of you
  29. When the going gets tough, support each other.  When the going gets tougher, keep believing in each other.
  30. Be proactive – you got a busy life, and if you got kids you also got an unpredictable life.  One of the best ways we’ve learned to take on challenging days is to be proactive and prepared for those moments, rather than reacting to them and getting stressed.
  31. Bookstore dates – yes, a bookstore date, remember those?  A physical building with real books with pages you can flip through? Yeah, one of those.  And it’s even better if yours has a Starbucks in it.  We walk into our Barnes & Noble holding hands, split up into our favorite isles, then meet up at the café for coffee and dessert and compare the books we got.  Mine are usually art related, his are usually about hot shot real estate successes. 
  32. The usual – sometimes, it’s as simple as coming home with your hunny’s favorite “usual”. Know each other so well, that you don’t have to wonder if what you’re picking up for dinner or snack will be well received (with kids, it’s a totally different story).
  33. Remember when – …you first met, then started dating…those stolen moments together…those coy glances from across the room…the feeling as your hands accidentally brushed against each other.  Keep revisiting those moments. If he’s busy with something and distracted, sneak up behind him and run your fingers across his neck, then quickly nibble on his ear and run away, preferably giggling.  If she’s having a stressful time with the kids at dinner after a long day at work…embrace her with the gift of silence and a long, heartfelt hug she can get lost in.
  34. Take care of each other – at the end of the day, you come home to each other, not your friends, not your parents, siblings, or roommates.  
  35. Greet each other like you greet your dog or cat (or bird, or pet snake, or lizard…whatever your pet fancy).


What are your favorite ways to keep the romance alive and relationship fun?  Share your own tips in the comments below!


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