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Need a kick-start to your relationship? Check out these ideas.

Tired of the old dinner-and-a-movie routine, but not sure what else to do on your date nights? Try these eight ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

1. Take in a local show or concert. Your town is probably teeming with gifted and creative performers at the local high school or college. So check to see what’s playing. It’s less expensive than the “professional” versions and often just as fun. At the end of the evening, share your favorite moments of the performance. Then “go back in time” to your own high school or college days and reminiscence together about your favorite school event or memory and why it was so special. Or see if you can guess some of the clubs or activities your spouse was involved in.

2. Read a book of short stories out loud to each other. Try different voices for the characters even! You can pick up a book at the library (so it’s a free date!), go to a park, a coffee shop, or even just hang out at home. Each of you gets a chance to read. Then talk about what you liked about the story or what you didn’t like. Was the writing strong? Did the words flow smoothly? Did the dialogue seem realistic? Which character in the story would you like to be or not be? Why? Then take a turn at rewriting the story and tell each other how you would have changed it.

3. If you have children, ask them to plan your date! Earlier in the week, ask your kids (or friends, if you don’t have children) to think of something fun for you and your spouse to do. They get to choose the restaurant and the activity. Then after your date, you and your spouse can give a “report” back telling about the funniest or most special part of the evening.

4. Make it a three-course progressive dinner. Rather than going out to eat at one restaurant (how boring!), choose one restaurant for your appetizer, a different one for your main dish, then a third one for dessert. Share one course each if you’re low on cash. If you have trouble deciding which restaurants, write down several options for each course, put them in a hat, and pick. As you drive to each, discuss the type of restaurant you would open and what types of each course you’d choose to serve and why.

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Ginger Kolbaba