You haven't had any time together since the baby was born -- 16 years ago-and you finally have a free night alone together. The kids are all at Grandma's and you want to wow your wife with a nice romantic night -- what can you do to get your heart to help her have that "lovin' feeling"? Or how can you set the mood so that when he walks in the door, he'll know this will be a night to remember?

Create anticipation: Send roses to your sweetheart with a note saying how anxious you are to hold her. Call your loved one on the phone and leave a message on voicemail of how much you long to be with her. Send a card each day for a month, two weeks or even one week prior to a big vacation or anniversary.

Buy a new outfit, new cologne or perfume--or better yet, wrap up one of these items, or something even more personal, and deliver it with a note that again proclaims your desperate yearning to be with your love.

Create a plan: Think out your special date or getaway. Try to plan ahead and pack the items that would make life easier once you get there. Think of the small touches. If you take a midnight picnic to the beach for a fire and a snuggle under the moonlight, bring a warm blanket or sleeping bags, firewood, matches and kindling or newspaper to start the fire, and some romantic music. Don't forget towels and some extra water to wash off your sandy feet in case you decide to go in the water!

Even if your date is at home while the kids are away, if you plan ahead you can create a mood by walking the steps that your spouse will walk as he or she enters the house. Place a note or small gift on the front doorstep, sprinkle a path of hearts, Valentines or rose petals to create a walkway to the dining room. You can also create a path using luminaries (paper bags filled with sand and a small candle) or candles, or balloons. Use your imagination. A variation of this theme is to place notes with clues leading one to another that leads the person to you, or to a gift or to the romantic setting--like dinner on the roof.

Plan topics of discussion, choose a few poems from a poetry book to read aloud--or better yet write one! It might be more comfortable for you to use some of the "date night" questions in the back of our book, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti., like: If we could rendezvous anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and why? If they were to write a story of our love, what would you title it? If your spouse was a car, what kind of car would he or she be and why?

Create a sensory experience

Smells so good! Using your five senses, prepare the setting. How can you make it smell beautiful? Try scented candles, potpourri in a bowl, fresh flowers, scent rings that are placed on a light bulb, or potpourri burners. Another great smell is of a great meal or food. Bake some cookies, fresh bread, brownies, or a gourmet meal! On a trip to the Hawaiian islands, we stocked up on cocoa butter tanning sticks--just because we love the smell!

Looks so good! Scan the surroundings. Is it clean? Things don't have to be perfect--just comfortable. Everything always looks better in soft lighting. Decorate a room with candles, invest in sconces for your walls or hurricane lamps for the dresser. Tiny white Christmas lights make a great addition to any setting. Weave a few strands of lights on a tree, or string them on your ceiling to create that "starry night" effect.

In the daylight, plants and fresh flowers go a long way in creating a romantic setting, as do lots of pillows, or fresh white linen with china and crystal. If you can't create the setting--go to a romantic setting like a lake, beach, mountain resort, a garden or fine restaurant for at least a portion of the date.