When we’re in love, our brain activity looks the same as it does in regions associated with motivation, craving, and reward. Happy chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine are also surging like crazy. There is actually research that shows even couples who have been together for decades can show similar brain activity to two kids in love – it just takes a little extra intentional effort!
Some couples have managed to keep these feelings alive throughout the years by simply creating time for date nights on a regular basis so that they give themselves the opportunity to reconnect. The key to creating this same brain activity and to maintaining this exciting connection is to keep your dates fresh and rewarding with a little creativity. I recommend planning “novelty” dates, which are intended to infuse your relationship with new knowledge and shared experiences. By doing this, norepinephrine and dopamine are surely going to surge, leaving you excited, full of energy, and feeling close to your partner. Additionally, there have been studies that couples who hang out with other couples are more likely to have happy and satisfying romantic relationships.
Need help adding some more novelty date nights to your routine? See below for 10 ideas to get you going:
- Outdoor candlelit dinner or drinks: you can stay in the comfort of your own home, without worrying about babysitting costs!
- Game night – grab another couple (2 person games are hard to come by!) and enjoy some competition
- Cozy night by the fire – no TV, no kids, just the two of you. See what you can find out about your spouse that you don’t already know. Here is a link to some fun open ended questions.
- Arcade – try setting up a friendly competition or challenge with prizes
- Improv show ( seeing one or being in one) – sharing laughs is a great way to bond. Westside Improv is close and has classes if anyone is daring.
- Escape room experience-work together to solve puzzles and get a thrill at the same time. Cluedin escape rooms is one of my favorite ones.
- Movie dates when you’re apart – if your spouse is traveling for work, watch a movie in your separate spaces at the same time and discuss it after
- Bucket list – create a list of your must-dos as a couple or family
- Trivia Night. Baig of tricks has tons of Trivia options around Downers Grove
- Plan a picnic – an affordable, romantic way to get out of the house and enjoy having a meal and talking with each other