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Just because you’re married doesn’t mean your dating life is over. On the contrary, dating your spouse is one of the most important things you can do to have a happy and fulfilling marriage, whether you’re newlyweds in your early twenties or you’ve been together for decades.
If you’ve been with your partner long enough to commit to marriage, chances are you’ve had the same date night multiple times over. You go to the same restaurant on a specific night of the week and order the classic dish you’ve had too many times before. There’s a comforting level of stability and security in doing the same thing, but after so many repeat date nights, it starts to feel about as exciting as a doctor’s appointment.
“Variety, a sense of adventure, and newness are hallmark characteristics of what makes new love so exciting in the beginning,” says dating coach and relationship expert Nicole Moore. “Many married couples often fall into a routine, doing the same thing over and over again and forgetting romance along the way.”
Meet the Expert
Nicole Moore is a dating coach and relationship expert based in Encinitas, California. Nicole has three life coaching certifications, including certification from New York University. She helps powerful, influential women find their ideal partner. Using her signature Love Works Method, she’s helped thousands of women find lasting love fast.
Date nights are the perfect opportunity to rediscover what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place. It’s so important to foster that novelty in your relationship if you want to keep feeding the flames of love over the years, and what better way to do that than to surprise each other with fresh new date night ideas?
“Going on dates forces a married couple to think of new ideas for connection, bringing them outside of their comfort zones which is where the feelings of energy, passion, and excitement are,” says Nicole. “Ditching the sweats and getting all dressed up for a date can make each partner feel that jolt of physical attraction again.”
If you’ve exhausted all your standby date night ideas, we’ve got you covered with our ultimate guide to date night. Here are our favorite date night ideas for every couple.
At-Home Date Night Ideas
Eat around the world.
Pick a country or region and plan the entire evening around that theme. For a Cuban date night, put on some Spanish music, make a couple of Cuba Libres (cola, rum, and lime) to sip on while you prepare a traditional Cuban dish, like arroz con pollo. End the night outside with Cuban cigars and Cuban coffee. Learning new things together is a great way to bond, and you might just end up with a new favorite weekly dinner.
If you enjoy theme night, take it to the next level by trying out a new country or region every week. It’ll keep your cooking skills sharp and your relationship spicy.
Recreate your third date.
One of Nicole’s favorite at-home date night ideas is what she calls the “third date” dinner. She suggests pretending like it’s your third date and one of you has invited the other over to cook dinner for the first time. One person prepares the impressive meal at home while the other goes out and gets flowers, wine, or a gift that they would bring over on a third date. “Really get into the role play here and pretend your connection is just starting out, because if you do, you may just feel those butterfly feelings again,” says Nicole.
Prepare dueling desserts.
Nothing keeps a relationship fresh and exciting like a little friendly competition. Turn your kitchen into a Food Network set and challenge each other to make the best dessert. To make it even more interesting, have each partner surprise the other with a last-minute ingredient that must make it on the plate in some form of fashion. At the end of the night, you’ll end up with two (hopefully) delicious desserts, which makes you both winners.
Show off your art skills.
Grab some paint brushes and canvases and project a famous landscape or still life-image onto your TV. Both spouses try their hand at recreating the image on their own canvas. It’s more fun if the couple faces each other so their masterpieces are hidden until the big reveal at the end. Friendly trash talking is definitely encouraged.
Outdoor Date Night Ideas
Rent a motorcycle or fast car.
Borrow a new set of wheels for the day and get out of town. Rent a motorcycle or convertible car and let all your cares blow away in the wind. Pack a lunch and enjoy a meal with a view, or even on the hood of the car. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you go together.
Pack a tent and a sleeping bag and go camping. As a couple, you’ll have to work together to prepare for the trip, packing all the necessary food and camping accessories you might need. Once you get there, you’ll depend on each other to make camp, build a fire, and clean up in order to avoid a visit from curious woodland creatures. Make it a point to stargaze at night and get up early to watch the sunrise in the morning. The entire experience will bring you closer together, knowing that you can depend on each other, and there’s no one you’d rather be alone in the woods with.
Face your fears together.
This date night is almost guaranteed to bring a couple closer together. Do something that one or both of you are afraid of and overcome your fears together as a team. The mix of emotions paired with the success you feel after facing your fears will help strengthen your bond. “If one partner is facing their fears on the date and the other is there to comfort them, it's going to create feelings of safety and support, which draw a couple closer,” says Nicole. “If both are afraid, it's going to feel like a fun adventure.”
Free Date Night Ideas
Learn a new language.
When you learn together, you grow together. Pick a language you both want to learn and start studying. Learning a language with someone else is extra motivating, and you can both hold each other accountable and challenge one another to speak the language at home. You can help teach each other and bond over the mistakes and mispronunciations without fear of judgment.
Read the same book.
Start a two-person book club. Read the same book at the same time together, stopping at every chapter or major plot twist to talk about your favorite parts or speculate about what you think will happen next. Reading is normally a mentally stimulating solitary activity, but when you do it with someone else, it can be a powerful emotional and spiritual experience that brings two people closer together.
Take a bath together.
Turn your bathroom into an at-home spa with healing bath salts, bubbles, and a fragrant, flickering candle. Reconnect with each other physically and emotionally by taking a warm, luxurious bath and let all the stresses melt away. Put on a relaxing playlist and leave your phone in the other room. Get naked, get vulnerable, and unwind in the comforting presence of your partner.