Date Ideas and Other Ways to Improve Your Relationship

Your next date could change your relationship for the better.

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Whether you’re newly together or in a committed partnership trying to find time together, couples always need fresh ideas to make dates enjoyable and worthwhile. When options are limited, this can be difficult.

Are your dates in need of new life? Is your relationship all work and no play? Your choice in dating activity can infuse new energy into the way you connect with each other. Here are some ideas to make your dates more purposeful and put more of whatever you need back into your love life.


  • Use our card decks to open up a dialogue between you and your partner. You might be surprised at what you learn (or what you think you knew about your partner).
  • Practice active listening by using exploratory statements and empathy such as “Tell me more about that” or “Okay, I think I get it. So, what you’re feeling is…”


  • Talk about what turns you on in detail with each other. If you’re not comfortable saying it out loud, write it down and let the other person read it.
  • Adopt a “Yes and” attitude where you are willing and open to be vulnerable with each other.
  • Show physical affection! Kissing (for at least six seconds or more) reconnects you with your partner.
  • Have an at-home date when you have the house to yourself and spend the evening naked.


  • Make this time with your partner a priority. If you’re meeting somewhere, arrive on time. Put your phone away and give your partner your undivided attention.
  • Don’t minimize your partner’s fears or concerns that may arise in conversation. They need to know that you are a safe space for their feelings.
  • Practice trust exercises. For example, put a blindfold on your partner and lead them around. This exercise helps instill trust as you guide them with your words.


  • Try something new together that neither of you did before, such as learning a different language, cooking a multi-step, multi-ingredient meal, or playing an online game.
  • Do a project together like making pottery or knitting a scarf.
  • Be kids again and play a game of hide-and-seek in your home or at the park.

Take your time

Don’t try these all in one evening. Let these be ideas for future dates that you can try out at different times. If you’re looking to expand your horizons, you can find more date ideas here and here on the Gottman Relationship Blog and check out what our Instagram followers had to say below. Also, pick up a copy of “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. 

Renew your romance by enhancing what you do on your dates. Your relationship can grow closer and more adventurous with every passing year.

Turn your relationship from “meh” to marvelous. Loving Out Loud is a series of exercises, activities, and videos from Drs. John and Julie Gottman that show you how to speak, show, and share your love with your partner. Sign up for Loving Out Loud today.

At-Home Date Ideas

We asked Instagram for their fun at-home date ideas. Here are some of their answers. What sounds good for you to try?

  • Cooking a delicious dinner and painting
  • Listening to a podcast together and discussing it
  • Yoga and our Gottman card deck!
  • Gardening or home projects
  • Dinner in front of the fire followed by a massage
  • A little late-night role playing
  • Strip-poker
  • Fondue for two
  • Pre-reading one of Eight Dates and then going through it together. Then cuddles!
  • We do art together on a long-distance call
  • Making a comfy space or fort to relax in
  • Dance lessons together via YouTube in the living room
  • Full-moon dinner and stargazing 
  • Homemade pasta and get dressed up like you’re going someplace fancy!

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The Gottman Institute’s Editorial Team is composed of staff members who contribute to the Institute’s overall message. It is our mission to reach out to individuals, couples, and families in order to help create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.

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