Spark Up Your Marriage: 4 Ways to Date Your Wife All Over Again

by Brett and Kate McKay on January 4, 2008 · 19 comments

in Marriage, Relationships & Family

firstdate.pngDoes your marriage feel flat? Studies show that after three years of marriage, many couples start complaining about their relationship being stale and boring. It’s no surprise then that most divorces occur within the first three years of marriage.

How can you beat the marital blahs and consequently beat divorce? The answer is simple: date your wife all over again.

Feeding the Flame

Remember how you felt when you were dating your wife? You couldn’t wait to spend time with her. You’d call her on the phone just to see how she was. You’d surprise her with a nice evening on the town or a small gift.

You can spark up your marriage by recapturing those same feelings you had when you first dated your wife. A marriage is like a fire. If you don’t tend to it and feed the flame, it will quickly die out. Enriching a marriage doesn’t require you to plan big getaways; small and simple activities will do the trick. Here are 4 simple ways you can revitalize your marriage by dating your wife again.

Expressions of Love

You probably told your wife “I love you” hundreds of times a day when you first dated. Yet after a few years of marriage, some men can go days without telling their wife they love them. A common excuse men give for not telling their wife they love her is, “I already show my wife I love her by working long hours to provide for the family and mowing the yard.” While it’s true that love can and should be shown through actions, women need to hear that you love them. It’s reassuring for them to hear it come from your mouth.

Also, when was the last time you told your wife she looked beautiful? This is especially important to do if your wife gets all fancied up. I’ve been in the doghouse a few times for failing to take the time to tell my wife how great she looks after she’s dolled up. Even though you might think your wife looks hot, she cannot read your mind. Open your mouth and tell her.

In addition to telling your wife you love her, try writing a note that expresses your love. My wife loves it when I leave her a short note or email saying how beautiful she is or how much I love her. It shows your wife that you were thinking about her during the day.


When you first dated your wife, you probably did your best to behave as a gentleman. You opened doors for her or gave her your coat when she was cold. You had to do these things if you wanted to win her over. But all this probably ended a few weeks after the wedding.

Chivalry is not confined just to courtship. Courtesy and consideration for your wife is just as important after the ceremony as it is before. Each day, perform little acts of kindness and courtesy with your wife. Open the car door for her, pack her lunch for work or school, and be on time with appointments with her.


When was the last time you bought an inexpensive gift as a surprise for your wife for no other reason than just to please her? Small gifts show your wife that you’ve been thinking about her during the day. Find something that you know your wife enjoys and get it for her. If she likes flowers, get her flowers every now and then. Don’t wait for an occasion like Valentine’s Day to buy flowers. She will be ten times more happy with them if you buy them just because you were thinking about her. If there’s a particular magazine she likes, pick up a copy next time you’re at the grocery store.

A gift doesn’t even have to be a tangible good. It can also be in the form of a service. Clean the house while she’s gone or give her a twenty-minute message.

A caveat with gifts: don’t give gifts only when you want sex. I read a sad story about a woman who broke down and cried every time her husband brought home flowers because it meant he just wanted sex. Your wife is not a prostitute, so don’t treat her like one by trying to buy her with stuff. Give gifts just to please her. If she’s happy, then you succeeded. Of course, if you get sex, that’s just an added bonus to the happiness you’ve brought to your wife.

Date Night

When you first dated your wife, you probably took her out somewhere every weekend. It may have been the Taco Bell, but you at least you made sure to spend an evening out with her. When was the last time you actually went on a date with your wife?

Establish a date night with your wife and treat this time with her as sacred. When you plan your week, block out an hour each week during which you’ll be taking your wife out. If a meeting comes up, reschedule the meeting. If you have kids, find a babysitter. If you can’t afford a babysitter, find another young couple with kids and offer to trade babysitting services. They take your kids while you and your wife go out and you take their’s when they go out.

Your date night doesn’t have to be fancy. A date night that my wife and I both enjoy is eating pancakes at IHOP followed by browsing magazines at Borders. Even a trip to the ice cream store can be a great date night. The idea is to just get out of the house and spend time together.

For ideas on cheap ways you can woo your wife, check out Zen Habits’ 50 Ways to Be Romantic on the Cheap.

Every now and then, surprise your wife by planning a fancy date. Women love it when men plan a night out. Pick a restaurant you know she’ll like and make reservations. Pick out the dress she should wear and lay it out for her on the bed. When she gets home from work or school, surprise her at the door with your suit on and a bouquet of flowers. Your wife will melt right there on the spot.

Photo by Seluma

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Albion Tourgee March 3, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Good thought, but you missed the most important things:

1. Listen, hear what she’s going through and try to understand it. This is the person you’ve chosen to go through time with. You’re both changing. Keep the connection alive.

2. Share. Let her know what you want, need and dream of. Many of us men aren’t great at intimacy, especially when we’re young. We tend to stay young, emotionally speaking. You can always grow up.

3. Trust. If you hide things because you feel vulnerable, when are you going to open up? If you don’t trust your wife, what kind of marriage is it?

If you follow the above three steps, not only will your relationship become more romantic but everything about it — partnership, friendship, and loving, will become more intense, and sex is just one part of it.

2 inkode March 16, 2008 at 4:41 pm


Just thought i’d let you know that your link to zen habits is broken. You might want to run your site through or something similar.

3 Gary Slaughter April 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Great column. My wife and I go to Borders after dinner at Panera.

I’ve learned from my mistakes in my starter marriage. For me, one of the biggest pitfalls in a marriage is the partners taking each other for granted.

Also, we don’t argue. Couples argue to determine who is right. An aikido teacher of mine taught a move called Basic Blend. The exercise starts with both people facing each other in a ‘mirror image’ i.e. – one right side forward, the other left side forward. One grasps the other’s wrist. With both applying energy they’re at an impasse. But if the one whose wrist is grabbed steps to the outside and pivots the rear leg around the outside, they’re both facing the same direction. Thus, the ‘blending’ of energy.

Rather than arguing about something, my wife and I take the approach of attacking the problem together. “How can WE solve this together to our mutual satisfaction.”

4 Brett April 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

@Gary Slaughter:

Glad to see another couple who enjoys spending time together at Borders. Also good to hear about another couple that doesn’t argue. My wife and I don’t either. Some people act like there must be something wrong with us, or that we’re simply holding our feelings in. But we really do just get along that well.

Your application of the Basic Blend to a marriage is very insightful. Marriage is all about blending two people’s energies. I need to start taking martial arts so I can make cool metaphors like that, too.

5 Mike May 16, 2008 at 8:52 am

Great advice! My only comment is “everything in moderation”. Saying, “I love you” all the time can make it easy for it to be just a habit and lose it’s meaning. Also, setting a date time every week can make it feel more like a chore than a date.

6 Samatha July 25, 2008 at 7:42 pm

My husband is too stupid to get any of this!!! He can’t even give a card for valentines, birthdays or anniversary let alone just because.Many mothers days have gone by and not even a spoken word of appreciation, in fact he becomes sullen and I work my ass off at home. My days from the time I get up till the time I go to bed average 19 hrs. If it were legal to marry your mother he’d marry his. Or maybe he’ d be married to himself seeing he loves himself so much. His idea of romance is seeing monster trucks or rock crawling jeeps. Sorry, but your advice works only for men who have some potential. Not for take all for my self dumb as a box of rocks men. Some men wanting and willing to put forth the effort it takes to keep a marriage fresh might find this good sound advice. You certainly have women figured out…..this is what (speaking for just me here) women want. Hope it is helpful to those seeking it.

7 John Horn October 31, 2008 at 6:10 am

Link to Zen Habits’ 50 Ways to Be Romantic on the Cheap still not operational.
If you are not making the link available, remove the reference to it.

8 Fe February 11, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Search engines are helpful… The broken link is

9 Randy M. July 23, 2009 at 5:35 am

to Samantha:

Please read “Created to be his HelpMeet” for a wake up call on how you do have power to effect your husband. The number one need he has is to be respected, whether he deserves it or not. Sounds like his need is not getting met either.

10 Alicia October 17, 2009 at 12:07 am

Thanks for the great advice. But my husband does not even know we have problems he is a wonderful man and i love him with all my heart. i pray he opens his ears to what he says to me before its to late.

11 Ben January 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Definitely. The flame of romance doesn’t have to die. I think courtesy is a big thing, like you mentioned — going out of your way to show her that she’s still special to you.

12 shalom April 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Thanks a lot for your advice. It has saved me from errors today in my marital life. May God bless your ministry

13 AJ April 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thank you for this article. My husband and I are leaving out of the honeymoon stage and trying to re-spark the flame in our marriage. I am going to present a lot of these ideas to him and maybe we can get back to where we used to be. Kids, work, life in general have all seemed to take over so we’re trying to make time for us and just us.

14 Justin June 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Those of you in crappy marriages listen up: you did not get there overnight (in 99.9% of cases). As a result, it will take time to get out (and I don’t mean divorce).

Two resources that are incredible and will revolutionize the way you look at your spouse (and members of the opposite sex all around you). 1) Love and Respect by Emerson Eggelrich (the first half of the book just sounds like he is saying how great his material is, and the second half really is that great). This is a religious resource, but is worth it even if you are not religious. 2) Remember the Golden Rule (treat others as you would want to be treated). Many times we men say things to our wives the way we would as if they were men, and women speak to men as if children (we know you want the trash out, but tell us once not 30,000 times).

These two things have helped my wife and I’s relationship go from good to great (even with a 2 year old and six week old, no sleep, and busy).

I love the comments some of you made. Alicia and Samantha if your husband is working on a car, or mowing the lawn, or whatever he is doing around the house (even watching a game): grab a chair, sit 2 to 4 feet away facing him, smiling, and study the man you married. He may not notice you are there, but you can remind yourself why you love him. Then at a really good stopping point (commercial, when he is switching to the weed eater, when he is really confused about what to do next on the car) tell him you were thinking of 3 reasons why you really appreciated him, then walk away (and you must walk away). Good chances are he will follow you and ask why (then tell him the truly positive reasons you appreciate him).

15 Alan December 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Letting your spouse know that they are every bit as important to you now, as they were when you were first married is vital. In most cases, it is a simple communication problem, as men and woman think differently about almost everything. It doesn’t mean that you’re not right for each other; it just means you need to learn each other’s language. Additionally, communication will never really work well if you’re not honest about your feelings, both to your partner and to yourself. Some people have mentioned that they don’t argue. If that truly works for you, then great! I must say that on occasion my wife and I can shout the house down. Stresses can build up, tensions can rise, but I do believe it is healthy (in moderation) to vent every once in a while. We do have some house rules that have served us well.

1) When one person shouts, the other listens! If someone is THAT wound up that they have to shout to feel that they are being heard, than you have probably missed the signs already – so pay attention!
2) NEVER go to bed without finishing the argument! Even if you have to stay up all night and call in sick the next day. There should be nothing more important in your life than your marriage, so put everything off until the air is cleared! That is not to say you cannot take a break and maybe have a coffee in different rooms. (If you have any cups left!)
3) If you realise you were wrong, ADMIT IT! If you’re not prepared to do this, then it was all for nothing. The chances are you were aggravating your spouse without even knowing it. (On the flip side, do you honestly believe he/she is deliberately hurting your feelings?) You need to learn from your mistakes, and be prepared to adapt your habits to accommodate the love of your life. If not them, then who?

My wife and I have played massive influential roles in each other’s lives; if we hadn’t then the relationship probably wouldn’t be moving forward. Yes there are compromises! Of course there are, you have gone from being a single guy to having someone else to consider, on nearly every decision! Some people seem to think of compromise as a negative, when in fact it is finding the happy medium between two people that is the very essence of a partnership. Frankly, if you’re not ready to consider someone else, then maybe marriage is not for you.

16 Katrina January 20, 2013 at 10:53 pm

@ Randy M.
excellent advice. I read “Created to be his helpmeet” and it totally changed our marriage relationship. Even if i don’t think my Mr. Right is always right, I go along with him.
@ Samantha
take time to do the things your husband enjoys. Go with him. Just be with him. And stop pitying yourself. We all want to be appreciated and loved.

17 Ben G August 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

One thing that I think is important is for the husband and wife to get away alone for a night or two a few times per year. Longer couples’ vacations are great too but many people can’t afford them.

My wife and I currently live not too far from my inlaws and even closer to where we spent our first night together (which was after our wedding, btw). We’ve both been going through some stress recently, and I’ve been working a LOT. Since I get off early tomorrow night and have Thursday off, I booked a room at that same hotel for tomorrow night and surprised her with it. Her mom is keeping our daughter so it’ll be just us, like it was the very first time. Spur of the moment romantic adventures like this go a LONG way towards keeping the bond strong between us.

18 David November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm

It is impontant to work our marriage out. one thing I hav learnt is not to condem each other. our new behaviour which is needed for the happyness of the marriage. there is no oneness without being bruzed to gether. but the same bruzing time is painful and its period depends on how fast you respond and agree to work to gether.

19 Jack R December 12, 2013 at 4:30 am

One really good guide for this is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

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