We escaped—practically fled from our house—and drove off into the sunset together. Our Valentine’s date night was long overdue. After my husband and I were seated at our favorite restaurant, I almost teared up–the culture shock was just a little too much–as I gingerly ran my fingers across my fancy linen napkin. Red roses and flickering candles adorned our table. A guitarist played softly in the corner.

We had been existing on chili-dogs and nachos at our kids’ basketball games for over a month. A little ambiance was long overdue.

“How long has it been since we’ve had an adult conversation?” I wondered. Obviously, too long: halfway through the hors d’oeuvres, I realized we had been talking about our kids’ sports for twenty minutes straight.

That’s when it hit me: what else did we have to talk about?

I couldn’t remember.

Somehow, romance felt kind of distant.

Where had it gone?

When my husband and I were dating, we talked for hours. We sat up late discussing ideas, dreams and even random thoughts. We took long walks together in a little park near our college campus, never running out of things to say.

But somehow, after having three children, jobs, schoolwork and sports, the romance had . . . ebbed in the wake of daily survival.

It’s not that we didn’t love each another, but somehow the carefree feelings of romance were hard to rekindle. So we talked about it. And this conversation has come back up often, over the years. We’ve discovered that date nights draw our hearts closer when we avoid these romance killers:

  • Children. We love them, but somehow saying, “What did the dentist say about Caroline’s tooth?” can quickly chase romance away.
  • Work. “Supply costs are killing our bottom line . . .” can really break the mood.
  • Extended family.“Your Aunt Edith said what?” drowns out the ambiance.
  • Household chores. “You mean you didn’t fix the sink yet?” can douse the romantic fire.

Romance (making your spouse feel loved and valued) is a very important part of marriage, yet if we aren’t careful, it can get lost in the busyness of life. Maybe you can relate. Over the thirty years we’ve been married, I’ve learned that scheduling date nights and romantic occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, is essential to keeping the romance alive.

So what topics enhance romance?

I’ve listed 10 topics below as a guide to help you draw closer to your spouse. Place a copy of this list into a Valentine’s card and give it to your spouse early so that he or she can think about it before you go out. Try to stay away from the romance killers I listed above. Use this guide to rekindle the romantic fire.

Topics to Enhance Romance:
1. Name 5 adjectives that describe our first date.
2. My favorite memory of our wedding day is …
3. The song that always makes me think of you is … because …
4. The funniest thing that has happened since we’ve been married is …
5. The thing I appreciate about you most is …
6. The greatest strength of our marriage is …
7. You make me feel great about myself when … How can we make each other feel like that more often?
8. My greatest need right now is…
9. If I could spend 24 hours doing anything in the world with you, it would be…
10. My favorite photo of us is the one where …

The Bible teaches us to “Love each other deeply with all your heart.” (1 Peter 1:22). Valentine’s Day is simply an opportunity to do just that.

Use the occasion to invest in your marriage. Make a special date with your spouse. Enjoy each other. Laugh. Hold hands. Listen. Let this topical guide help you. Make sure your spouse knows how much you value him or her. Remember:

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”   Mignon McLaughlin

For more topics to enhance your romance on Valentine’s, email me at hello@maypatterson.com to request this FREE printable list and I’ll send it to you. Slip it into your spouse’s Valentine’s Day card before you go out: