While there’s something to be said for the comfort of falling into a routine with your significant other, predictability and romance rarely go hand-in-hand in the long term. In many cases, those dinners in your gym clothes and TV binges on the couch can even start to chip away at the fabric of your relationship, making what was once an exciting whirlwind romance feel increasingly like a comfortable friendship. The good news? It’s easier to spice things up than you might think—all it takes is a romantic surprise, no matter how grand.
“A surprise need not be elaborate or expensive,” says marriage and relationship coach Stacey Greene. “It should be from the heart and filled with opportunity for strengthening the bond between you and your spouse.” If you’re looking for inspiration, we gathered romantic surprise ideas from mental health and relationship experts that will reignite the spark in your relationship. And for more ways to keep your relationship fresh, check out these 21 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage.
Has your spouse always wanted to swim with dolphins? Try the tasting menu at a Michelin-star restaurant? Spend a weekend at that beautiful bed and breakfast in the country? Whatever it may be, make a plan to surprise your partner with something you know they’ve always wanted to do or see.
“It doesn’t matter how small or how grand—the fact that your partner felt like you listened to them will show them that you care and are paying attention,” says Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT, with Embracing Joy Marriage and Family Therapy in Manhattan. And if you’re looking to spice things up, try these 40 Amazing Date Night Ideas for People Over 40.
No matter how long you’ve been together, making it clear to your partner that your relationship remains a top priority in your future is a great way of keeping the romance alive. One fun way to do that? “Plan 12 months of dates and have your spouse open up each date at the beginning of the month and follow through with the plan,” suggests Seattle-based licensed mental health counselor Rachel Elder. In doing so, “not only are your prioritizing your relationship for the year, but you are creating future memories together and expressing your desire to be with your partner.”