Remember the excitement you felt when you were first dating your spouse? The amount of care you put into your outfit and your appearance? The anticipation of seeing each other and the strong desire to reach out and connect again?

Going on dates isn’t something only new couples can enjoy. In fact, even though there appear to be temporary physiological changes in the brain associated with the so-called honeymoon phase—suggesting that the thrill of early romantic love doesn’t last indefinitely—long-term couples can still benefit from taking each other out on dates.

That doesn’t mean the goal of these dates is to recreate the way you felt at the beginning of your relationship. Instead, it’s more about helping your relationship continue to thrive by building a stronger sense of connection, intimacy, play, and friendship.

If you’re ready to bring dating back into your marriage, here are three ideas that can help.

1. Plan dates regularly.

Work commitments, packed family schedules, general end-of-day exhaustion—all of it can sap up the time and energy you need for a date with your loved one. Do your best to plan these dates in advance and stick to them like you would any other important appointment. Just be realistic and start with a frequency (e.g., once a month) that’s doable for both of you.

2. Sorry, no kids allowed.

Family outings are excellent—but they’re completely different from dates with your spouse, where quality one-on-one time is imperative. (Same goes for double dates.)

If you have kids, arrange a sitter ahead of time so you and your spouse can head out sans distraction. Consider asking your married friends to trade babysitting duties!

3. Don’t be afraid to splurge.

There are plenty of wonderful dates you can go on with your spouse that cost little to no money—like a picnic in the park, a favorite hike, a game of tennis at the local court, s’mores by the fireplace, or an inexpensive Sunday morning meal at a cute local diner.

But dating your spouse should also remind you how special and important your marriage truly is—so don’t be afraid to make special and important plans every now and then.

If you’ve been looking for permission to dress to the nines, buy that expensive bottle of wine, try that fancy new restaurant, book a one-night “stay-cation” at a nearby hotel, or spend a day at the spa together, this is it!

Ready to Build Better Connections With Your Spouse?

Having a healthy marriage takes work—but a lot of times, the work can be fun! Be sure to plan a date night with your spouse soon, and if you feel like you need some help reconnecting, schedule a free consultation with Rabbi Slatkin of the Marriage Restoration Project today.

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Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long is a writer, author, and multiple hat wearer with experience across many different industries.