What's particularly valuable in the Arps' to-do list, however, is the section on preparing for those dates. It's a primer for the dating-challenged: long-married couples who may have forgotten how exciting it once was to prepare for a romantic outing. Among their suggestions:
- Schedule the dates: On the calendar. In ink. And make them a priority.
- Anticipate the dates: Express your excitement about the prospect of a night out together. Send each other little notes or texts. Be adorable.
- No kids, no plumbers: Don't use this time together to hash out soccer schedules or plumbing to-do lists. Don't even mention the kids. This is about the two of you.
- Be affectionate: Hold hands, cuddle, touch, flirt. You know the whole thing about body language? It works both ways. You can tell what someone's thinking by the way they carry their body, but acting affectionate makes you feel more affectionate too.
- Lather, rinse and repeat: Don't just do it once. Do it every week. If it's good enough for the Obamas' marriage, it's good enough for yours.
And if you need ideas for where to go, here are eight ideas to get you started.