1. Go on your first date… again. Couples that reenact their first date with as much detail as possible bring back the same sweet (or smokin’) feelings they had at the beginning of their relationship. “By reliving your memories, your emotions go back in time,” says Guy Winch, Ph.D., author of Emotional First Aid. Hey, pizza and beer worked once, didn’t it?
2. Get a little handsy. PDA is what turns dinner into a datedate. No smooching over the appetizer required—experts say a little hand-holding or a hug as you walk in the door releases oxytocin into your system. That’s the stuff you need for some private displays of affection later.
3. Take two, and we’ll see you in the morning. If you’re feeling like your relationship is tipping from comfy to too comfortable, Deidre Guillory of the blog WifeMomSuperwoman suggests throwing a few low-key date night ideas into a jar whenever you come up with them. Should a few free hours present themselves, pick two and just do them, no overthinking! “Sometimes a random night of takeout Chinese and a round of mini golf is just what a marriage needs,” she says.
4. Watch and learn. Dinner and a movie is a great date, especially if you time it right: Elly Klein, author of Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, says having dinner after the movie means you’re guaranteed more exciting conversation topics than kids and bills. Plus, experts say that when couples discuss what they loved and hated about movies they saw together, they get more in tune with each other. Now just decide: Are you a rom-com or Ride Along 2 kind of couple?
5. Go low-tech. The biggest date night ruiner: distraction. Studies say our phones are sapping the spark out of one-on-one time. Turn them off, pour a glass of wine, and cozy up by the window to catch the awesomeness of the brilliant full moon.
6. Make it a double. The most counterintuitive thing your couple time needs: more people. Invite friends along on your date (just for the dinner part—what did you think?!). University of Maryland researchers found that maintaining friendships with other couples solidifies your relationship with your partner and intensifies your attraction to each other.
7. Leave a note… or three. Take it from a true love expert: The Bachelor veteran Sean Lowe and author of For the Right Reasons turns date night into date day. “I leave [my wife] Catherine Post-it notes on the bathroom mirror about our date that night. They keep the romance alive.” Works for us normals, too: Experts say anticipating something fun is a big part of happiness.
8. Make him blush. Give your partner a sweet—or sexy—compliment. “Focusing on the positive immediately strengthens the relationship,” say (married) marriage experts Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz. And he does look good, don’t you think?