If you live in a larger city, you probably have ethnic neighborhoods called Little Italy or China Town. A German village lies less than a mile from our house, and Ron and I love to go there. We usually consume mass quantities of schinkenwurst and streusel, then waddle down the cobblestone streets and pretend we're on vacation in Düsseldorf.

Some other theme dates might include "Hawaiian Paradise in Our Own Backyard" or, if you haven't pulled weeds in a while, "Jungle Adventure in Our Own Backyard." The man of the house would love a date night called "Baseball Fever" or better yet, send the kids to grandmas and build your theme around "Touch Football"!

Educational Dates

Ron and I both love to spend the afternoon browsing through art galleries and discussing what we like and don't like about various pieces. If you don't like art, museums are wonderful places to learn about history and science. Most men would enjoy a train museum, a history of hockey exhibit, or a classic auto display.

You could choose to get a more formal education together, too. Most cities and junior colleges offer a variety of adult evening classes, usually lasting only a few weeks and having low tuition costs. The two of you might want to take a class in photography, computer skills, or gardening.

Many churches offer Bible study courses. If you take one together and do your homework together, your spiritual relationship will grow along with your emotional and educational connection.

Surprising Dates

One of the differences between newlyweds and "oldlyweds" is that people who've been married for a long time usually stop surprising each other. It's not that they can't do it; often they just get lazy. But you can change that.

If you know that your mate would love to go to a certain event or concert, surprise him or her with tickets. Ron knows that, as a teenager, I had a mega-crush on Paul McCartney, so he bought two tickets for his concert as a surprise. Wow, did he get a big reward for that! (Ron, I mean, not Paul)

You could also plan a less expensive "mystery night." Make all the arrangements, then call your date and say to him or her, "Meet me on the corner of Fifth and Main at six o'clock."

Ladies, you could plan a free surprise by calling your husband just as he's leaving work, and whispering, "I'm cold and lonely, come home and warm me up!" After he breaks all the speed limits, arriving home in half the usual time, greet him with a kid-free house, a warm backrub, and a hot bath. It won't cost you anything except your time and attention, and those are the most valuable things you have to offer.

If you experience new things as a team, you'll have completely new topics of conversation and each of these experiences will help you climb up and out of your rut.

Don't forget to have fun in your marriage.

"REJOICE with the husband/wife of your youth."
~ Proverbs 5:18

Adapted from Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage (Kregel Publications, 2004).

Nancy C Anderson is an author and speaker who encourages couples to "fall in like" with each other. Nancy and Ron (her husband of 26 years) often speak at couples' banquets and retreats. They share their marriage testimony "The Death and Resurrection of our Marriage" and the Biblical principles of guarding our hearts and protecting our marriages. Visit their web site at www.RonAndNancyAnderson.com.