Set yourself up for success (and great sex).
Raise your hand if you and your spouse have been slacking on date nights.
Hey, it happens to the best of us.
When you're struggling to balance work and home life (often including kids), it's sooooo easy to place your relationship on the back burner.
Three words of wisdom for you on that: Don't ... do ... it!
According to a massive study conducted by the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project, couples who spend at least one night a week alone together experience a whopping 300 percent increase in marital bliss.
Oh, and significant others who do take time for those date nights are also three times more likely to say they're "highly satisfied" with their sex lives. (wink. wink.)
So, pull up your calendar apps already (I'll wait) then begin to sync — and ink — your date nights in for the next four weeks. And for some tantalizing tips on making the most of your time together, keep reading …
1. Plan ahead. Don't wait until the day before to make reservations or snag tickets to a concert or theater. Try to schedule outings a month at a time, and vow to make these dates sacred. For an interesting twist, take turns planning where you'll go and what you'll do, without telling each other what's on tap. This will add a touch of mystery and excitement to your time together.
2. If dinner is on the docket, pick a place that's relatively quiet. There's no requirement to pick a pricey place, but you don't want families and screaming children surrounding you or a place where TVs are blaring everywhere. You want to be able to focus on each other.
3. Dress up. Remember when you first started dating and you'd have butterflies before going out? You'd spend hours getting ready, so you could look your best and then wonder what magic the night might hold. Bring back those days! Prep like you used to, show your partner they're worth looking hot for.
4. Order cocktails. According to research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, women who drank a glass of red wine reported higher levels of sexual desire. Scientists suspect that red wine's high levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, may help blood vessels widen which causes an increase blood flow "down there." Another lustful libation, often cited, is the Honeysuckle'Tini — a blend of two parts rum, with lemon and orange juice — along with a generous drizzle of honey, known as the nectar of Aphrodite. So sip, savor and watch the sparks fly!
5. Touch each other — a lot. It's called "the mother of all senses" for a reason ... touch is powerful. So, hold hands across the table, or let your feet intertwine underneath. If there's a dance floor, slow dance. Anything that gets that "skin-on-skin" high going so you can lead to a more passionate evening.
6. Have a sexy conversation. Agree to make topics like work, the kids, and finances taboo. Instead, take a stroll down memory lane by acknowledging all that you love about each other and how grateful you are for your relationship. Better yet, share sexual fantasies with each other. Studies show that 95 percent of us have them, and that couples who share make love more often. So start the dialogue!
7. Disconnect to connect. If you've left kids at home with a sitter, it's fine to leave your phone on vibrate — just in case. Otherwise, ban all electronic devices. Date night is the time to rediscover each other and let the rest of the world go on without you.
8. Mix things up. Don't be afraid to think outside the "dinner-and-a-movie" date night box. Brainstorm fun ideas where the two of you can let loose and rekindle your love. Go star gazing, ride roller coasters at a theme park, hang out at an arcade, take a salsa dancing class, get a couple's massage or head to a karaoke bar — grab the mic and belt out a duet together.
9. Build anticipation. Two days before your date night, send your significant other a text message or an email that says you've been thinking of your upcoming rendezvous, and that you've lost focus at work — more than a few times — visualizing your pending evening. The day before, your message should read something like, "Can't wait to get you alone tomorrow night." And on the afternoon of your date night, try, "In just a few short hours, you're all mine!"
Like my Facebook page between now and July 30, and you could win a $50 Visa gift card for your next date night! And for more tips on how to have a super-tight relationship, visit my Experts page to order a copy of my bestselling book, Conversation is Sexy.