Changing things up can help you connect in new ways. Find an idea that inspires you.
But just because you’re not going out doesn’t mean that date night is reduced to binging Netflix and ordering takeout week after week. If you need to refresh your romance routine, try one of these ideas to make your time at home feel a little more exciting.
Dust off your recipe books (or search online for your favorite fancy dish) and spend an evening whipping up a restaurant-quality meal for two. You’ll both gain confidence in the kitchen and get to impress each other with your newfound culinary skills.
Sometimes, just changing your preferred eating locale can be enough to switch things up. Get a baguette, cheese, grapes, and any other charcuterie items you like and spread out a blanket on your living room floor or in your backyard. Sit down and dig in.
Sign up for a tasting club or just select a few bottles of your own and play sommelier. Swirl your glasses, see if you can detect tasting notes, or simply determine which vino is your favorite.
You could also hide the labels and see if you can guess which wine is the cheapest and the priciest based on taste. And if wine isn’t your thing this kind of tasting can work just as well with cheese.
Turn your kitchen into a mock “Cupcake Wars” situation and try to wow each other with delicious fresh-baked goods. Even if your creations don’t turn out to be as Pinterest-worthy as the recipes, they’ll still taste great. (And your kids will enjoy the leftovers the next day.)
Grab whatever art supplies you have on hand — markers, crayons, watercolors, or even the random pens from your junk drawer — and challenge each other to draw the same still-life scene.
Try setting up a tableau on your kitchen table with fruit or whatever items you have around the house. As an added challenge, you could try drawing each other’s portraits next.
This one takes a bit of an investment but your family will reap the benefits all summer long. Set up a projector on a blank wall in your backyard and have an al fresco movie night complete with popcorn and comfy blankets.
Even if you’ve been exercising at home during quarantine, many people aren’t the dance-cardio-jazzercise types. But stepping outside your comfort zone together can be a great way to bond and remember to not take yourselves too seriously.
Extra points if you get decked out in sweatbands and leg warmers.
Chill out with a more low-key exercise experience that can invigorate your body and your mind. After challenging your bodies with the different postures, you can get the full blissed-out experience by doing a short meditation following the workout.
Dig through your bathroom cabinets for moisturizer, face masks, and any other beauty product you may have been saving for someday. Put on robes, slice up some cucumbers and lemons to make spa water, and have a night of relaxation.
You may even be inspired to trade off giving each other massages, adding an even more romantic element to the activity.
Maybe there’s a piece of furniture you’ve wanted to repaint or a room in your home that could use a little refresh. Channel your favorite HGTV duo and take on a little home DIY that will give your space a nice makeover and help you both feel a sense of accomplishment.
Now’s a great time to reevaluate your respective wardrobes since there’s a good chance that you’re only wearing a portion of your clothes at home.
Make this task fun by doing a fashion show to help each other decide what to keep and what to toss. No judgment if you do a little online shopping to fill up that newly empty closet space.
Whether you’re both avid gamers or total novices, playing games together can bring out your competitive sides and really spice up your dynamic. You can play as a team to complete a mission or against each other to see who earns bragging rights.
Chances are that you have a few old games lying around your home. Break ’em out and see who’s got the chops to win at Life, Sorry, Trouble, or what have you.
Then, play them with your kids the next day and show them what you guys did for fun before TikTok existed.
Who knows when we’ll be able to go out to a packed club and dance the night away. But you can have the experience in your own home if your local spot is offering livestream DJ sets (like The Wildcat Lounge in Santa Barbara, California).
Deck yourselves out, make some cocktails (or mocktails!), and get down right in your own living room.
There are a number of worthy causes needing assistance both because of the pandemic and because, well, life.
Flex your altruistic muscles together by researching how you can make a difference in your own community or with larger-scale organizations you really believe in. You’ll feel more hopeful and connected by giving what you can to those in need.
Not being able to do much of anything can give you new perspective on what you really miss most about pre-pandemic life. Use this time as an opportunity to sit down together and think about the things you both really want to do, together and as individuals, when the world opens back up.
Add some greenery to your home or yard by planting herbs or fruit-bearing plants. You’ll have fun getting your hands dirty and making your space feel more lush — plus, you’ll get to harvest your handiwork and impress your kids when you don’t have to buy berries or basil at the grocery store.
Sure, you probably can’t party like you used to, but you can take a brief trip to the past by playing beer pong or flip cup on your kitchen table. Show off your skills with just each other and then challenge your kids to play (using water or juice, natch) as a family bonding activity the next day.
Grab some Solo cups and one of your kids’ rubber balls and pretend you’re at your local bowling alley. It may seem a little silly but once you get into the spirit of the game you’ll both have a blast.
Pick a theme or a decade — and dress up in costume if you so choose — then settle in for a blast to the past. We could all use a little escape from the present so deliberately choosing entertainment set or made in another time will give you both a must-needed reprieve from 2020.
Poker, War, Gin Rummy, Go Fish — all you need is a deck of cards and you have a full night of competition ahead of you. You can also play these games online if you want to make it a double date situation and bring some friends into the fun.
Break out the tent and sleeping bags, roast marshmallows on your stove, and pretend to camp in your backyard or living room. You’ll feel like kids again and you’ll more fully appreciate a night’s sleep in your own bed more than you could ever imagine.
Reading the same book allows you to have deep conversations about something other than the pandemic, your work situation, and all the other stressors going on right now.
Books can be a great form of escapism and allow you to see each other’s intellectual sides as you talk about the characters or content of what you’ve chosen to read.
Go out in the backyard late at night and spread out a blanket. You don’t have to do much other than look up. The act of stargazing will remind you that what you’re going through day to day is small compared to the vastness of the universe.
Yep, it’s silly but sometimes silly is what your relationship needs. For added spice, play naked.
Working together on a task like this could take weeks, giving you both a sense of joint purpose. As you sit side-by-side you’ll organically talk and connect in ways you wouldn’t have just zoning out to the TV.
Decide that you’ll only light candles (or the fireplace) for the whole night. Your home will instantly feel more romantic, no matter what you decide to do next.
Set up a few different holes for your at-home by using cardboard to make ramps and cups for the holes. The journey of creating the course will be just as fun as playing it. Plus, it will make for a great activity with the kids the next day, too.
Play sleepover games like Never Have I Ever and Truth or Dare. Chances are that your responses will organically lead to some intense (in a good way!) conversation, shaking you out of your routine end-of-the-day talks.
Sit down with some paper and pens and think about what you really appreciate about each other. Putting your feelings into words, and sharing your letters, will bring you closer and create a stronger sense of intimacy in your relationship.
Some of the world’s biggest museums (and aquariums and zoos) are offering livestream events and tours during the pandemic. Check out the event calendar (like this one for the Smithsonian) and choose something that speaks to you so you can feel like you’ve taken a trip without leaving the house.
Use your smartphone and create a short film together. You could do a stop motion with your kids’ toys, film a puppet show, or take videos of your pets. Debut your work to your kids in the morning or share online with your friends.
Dig out the scrapbooks and photo boxes or flip through your digital images for a trip down memory lane.
If you’ve been putting off making a wedding album, framing pictures for your home, or creating photo books of your kids, now’s a great time to take on the project and reminisce about the good times at the same time.
Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Livestrong, Woman’s Day, and many other lifestyle publications. She’s the author of What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself―and Your Match!, 101 Quizzes for Couples, 101 Quizzes for BFFs, 101 Quizzes for Brides and Grooms, and the co-author of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags. When she’s not writing, she’s fully immersed in #momlife with her toddler and preschooler.