Too often, couples allow life's demands to suck the fun out of their lives together, draining the romance out of their relationship. But pressures such as budget constraints, limited time and a lack of babysitters don't have to stop romance.

Here are some ways you can put the fun back in your relationship by dating each other in creative ways:

  • Schedule a regular time each week for a date, no matter what. Remember that you don't necessarily have to go out for a date; to make it more convenient, you can enjoy a date at home (for example, a bubble bath together or a picnic in your bedroom after the kids have gone to bed).

  • Brainstorm ideas for your dates. Write down a list that details your goal for each date, different options for activities, and all the logistics involved. Try to think of new experiences that would appeal to your partner. Think of your dates as valuable investments in your relationship, and allow adequate time to prepare for each one.

  • Incorporate some surprises into your dates - perhaps by taking your partner to a secret location, dressing up in a costume, or serving an unusual food.

  • Remember that simple dates can be just as much fun as elaborate ones. The key is giving your partner your full attention. If you both focus on each other, you can enjoy taking a walk through a local park just as much as playing golf at an expensive resort.

  • Laugh together! Humor always rejuvenates your sense of fun.

  • Ask each other questions, keeping in mind that there will always be plenty of new things for you to learn about your partner (even if you've been married for years).

  • If you have to be apart from your partner for an extended period of time (due to a business trip, for example), leave romantic gifts - such as cards, tape-recorded messages, chocolates, flowers or stuffed animals - for him or her to enjoy while you're gone.

  • Take pictures of each other on your dates, then place them in keepsake albums.

  • Compliment and encourage each other whenever you get an opportunity to do so, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you be gentle and patient with each other whenever you talk about hot button issues. Don't talk about controversial issues or chores on your dates; reserve the time for fun together.

  • Take a vacation together, even if you can only get away for a day or overnight trip.

Adapted from Creative Romance, copyright 1991 by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepubl.com, 1-888-501-6991.

Doug Fields is the author of many books. He also has served on staff at South Coast Community Church in Irvine, Ca., taught college classes, and spoken to audiences nationwide.

How do you and your partner keep romance alive in your relationship? Why is it important to you to schedule regular dates together? What is one of the most fun dates you all have ever shared, and why? Visit the Books Forum to discuss this topic. Just click on the link below.