5/7:  Is it hard to find the time and money for a date? Get creative! Instead of hiring a sitter, sitter-swap with friends. (Or cook their dinner, mow their lawn, or walk their dog!) Too much to do? Put it all on hold for just one night. Low on funds? Create-a-date in your home. Here are a couple of ideas.

For guys:  Pamper her with a home-spa night. Line the way to the bathroom with votive candles. Run a bubble bath. Greet her with a glass of wine and a fresh-from-the-dryer robe. After she soaks, dry her with a warm towel. Brush her hair. Rub her feet. Turn on music. Picnic in bed. Rub her feet again. By now, there may be a little tension in the room. The good kind. Cheap date? Nah. It’s priceless.*

For gals: Prepare a backyard picnic. Set a table with a pretty tablecloth or toss a blanket on the lawn. Light candles or set out lanterns. Use the good dishes. Turn on music. Serve his favorite picnic food. Talk to him. (Kids, job, bills are off limits!) Sit close to him. At the end of the meal, sit in his lap, rub the back of his neck, tell him how much you love him. You’ll feed him in more ways than one. Dessert, anyone?

5/8: Dating your mate doesn’t always mean going out or doing something elaborate if you stay in. In the early days of dating, couples go out of their way to make their mate feel special. Here are a couple of ideas to help you do that!

For guys: Give her flowers each day for a week. Start with a bouquet from the florist or supermarket. The next day, give her a single stem. The next day, draw a sunflower on a piece of paper and tape it to her mirror. Pick a flower from your yard. Cut a picture of a flower from a magazine and leave it by her coffee cup. The flower isn’t important. It’s that you took the bloomin’ time to make her feel special!*

For gals: Write him a letter. Between texting, emailing, and Facetiming, we talk a lot. But we don’t always say much. Letter writing was once a sensual form of romance. In the letter, tell him how much you love and appreciate him. Get “risqué” with the promise of what’s ahead when he gets home. Tuck the letter in his briefcase or lunchbox. Seal it with a kiss. Then get ready to pucker up when you see him.

5/9: Dating your mate can be difficult when there’s distance between you. Not distance created when you are physically apart. Distance that’s created by kids, jobs, chores, fatigue, too much tv and too little conversation. Get close to each other. Here are a couple of ideas to help you close the gap.

For guys: Hold her hand. “Stop reading and look at your hand. It can earn a living, lift a child, carry a heavy box, push a grocery cart, swing a briefcase and a hammer, and hold a book. That hand also can communicate. When you reach for her hand and lace your fingers with hers, you communicate your love and affection.”* Today, whether you’re walking with, sitting by, or falling asleep beside your mate, hold her hand. Rub her thumb. Give her hand a gentle squeeze. I bet she gets a little closer.

For gals: Some men need more space. Closing the gap means letting your mate know there’s no “dead air” between you and that you’re emotionally “with him” even if he’s in his own space. You can do this by popping your head into the study or garage where he is and saying, “Love you. Can I get you anything?” It means sending a brief text: “You’re on my mind. Can’t wait to see you.” It means hugging him when you see him and shutting out the world when he talks to you. Go the distance. You’ll be glad.

5/10: The longer a couple is together, the less spontaneity there may be. Is it time to bring in the element of surprise? There’s nothing like a “wow” moment to kickstart romance! Here are a couple of ideas:

For guys: Not everyone can take an hour out of the day for romance. Heck, we can hardly take an hour for lunch! That doesn’t mean we can’t take a few minutes to enjoy a “happy!” Deliver coffee, chocolate, and a kiss to your mate while she is at work. Don’t stay. Just pop in and pop out. You’ll leave her with a smile and a desire to see you again…real soon.*

For gals: Make a list of everything you love about him. Send that list to him in an email. Sign it: “Can’t wait to show you how much I love you when we get home!” Bet you he races you to the door!

5/11: It’s DATE NIGHT! After the end of a long week of work and obligations, now is the time to make dating your mate something special! Here are a couple of ideas:

For guys: Plan something fun! How about: bike riding, taking a dolphin cruise if you’re near the water, going to the carnival or a baseball game, going dancing or to a piano bar, having a picnic in the park with a spectacular view of the sunset, a beach stroll followed by ice cream, a nighttime visit to the zoo. All great ways to date your mate, have fun, share laughs, and draw closer to each other.*

For gals: This takes some planning. Treat your guy to dinner at a nice restaurant. Dress up. Arrive before he does. Have his drink waiting at the table for him. Play footsies with him. At the end of the meal, slide a room key across the table with directions to the hotel. Tell him that you’ve packed him a bag and that he’s to meet you there. The rest of this scenario is up to you! Late checkout, anyone?

5/12: For most of us, Saturday is a day to unwind, regroup, and recharge! How can you do that and still date your mate? Here are a couple of ideas:

For guys: Take a nap with her. “I can hear you saying it now. Real men don’t need naps. Well, real women don’t NEED them, either. But lots of women like them. And they really like them when they are taken with their mate. Hug her so closely you feel her heartbeat and she feels yours. Rub her arm until she falls asleep. Listen to her breathe. You may be thinking- ‘If I take a nap, I’ll never be able to sleep tonight.’ You say that like it’s a bad thing.”*

For gals: Get physical! “Go bowling, or play tennis, or ride bikes or jet skies. Go fishing. Play golf. Play Goofy-Golf! Throw a Frisbee. Skim pebbles off the lake or seashells off the ocean. Work out at the gym. Go for a run.”* All of these activities release endorphins that make you feel happy, optimistic, and… romantic. That’s why it’s called getting physical. If you get my drift.

5/13: Sometimes it’s the simple things that make dating your mate so special. The words that come out of your mouth might lead to a pretty nice lip lock!

For guys: *Say I Love You. “Aw, heck,” you think to yourself. “She knows I love her.” Maybe. Probably. So what? You ever watch what happens after the star quarterback is blocked from throwing the game winning pass, decides to scramble, and ends up running the football 85 yards into the end zone? He knows the team, the coach, the fans, and his mama, LOVE HIM. But watch what he does. He looks for his mama, so she can mouth “I love you!” Yes, your mate probably knows you love her. But she still wants to hear you say it. ‘I. Love. You.’ 3 words that will give her a reason to Read. Your. Lips. She’ll probably want to kiss them too.

*Feed him. My grandmother used to say, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” Maybe. Maybe not. Feeding your mate goes beyond what you put on his plate. It’s what you put in his mind. Think of it this way. He gets plenty of mental broccoli all day long with the responsibilities of work, bills, children, etc. By the time he sees you, he is FULL. What he really wants is something sweet… banana pudding for the brain, so to speak. The recipe is pretty easy: Tell him you are proud of him. Tell him you appreciate him. Ask him how his day went, then really listen. Look him in the eye when he talks to you. Pay him a compliment. Then get ready for dessert! J  © 2018 Drexel Gilbert Enterprises, Inc. *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women (coming this fall)

5/14: Remember when you were dating your future mate? You like to dance, you loved to flirt. Now’s the time to bring it back! Here are a couple of ideas:

For guys: *Dance with her. You may have two left feet. She doesn’t care. She wants you to pull her into your arms, put on pretty music and move across the floor with her. Any floor. A true dance floor. Your living room floor. Your kitchen floor. Dance with her. It will be one of the smoothest moves you’ll ever make. *Parts of this text are excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: Flirt with him. In the early days of dating, we flirt. It’s part of the excitement of getting to know each other. Try flirting today. *Text him something romantic from across the room. Take him with you to Victoria’s Secret. Or, text him a picture of the little bit o’ nothings that you bought at Victoria’s Secret. Leave him a love note written on the bathroom mirror with red lipstick. The point is to be light-hearted, spontaneous, and romantic! *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women (coming this fall)

5/15: They say talk is cheap. It’s not. In a relationship, it’s priceless. How do you put into words the things that will show your mate how much you love them? Here are a couple of ideas:

For guys: *Write her love notes. For as long as I can remember, my dad has left my mom little love notes by the coffee pot. It’s the first thing she sees in the morning. Just recently, I spied a sweet note my son-in-law left for my daughter by their coffee pot. It’s a great way to get her day started, keep her thinking about your during the day, and be excited about your return! *Parts of this text are excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: *Be specific. He knows that you love him. But why do you love him? Today, make a list of the reasons you love him. Write those reasons down. On a pretty piece of paper, woman. Then leave it for him on his pillow. He’ll rest easier. Or maybe, he’ll decide he’s not sleepy after all! *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women (coming this fall)

5/16: Sometimes, it’s the simplest touches that bring the sparks to a relationship. Here are a couple of ideas.

For guys: Toast her. Whether you’re drinking water, wine, coffee, or milk, raise your glass to her! Toast your life together. Toast her smile. Toast the twinkle in her eye. Just raise that glass, look into her eyes, toast with words that let her know how much you love and appreciate her. Cheers!! *Parts of this text are excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals:  Say hello. Say goodbye. One of the most important things we give our mate is our time and attention. If he leaves before you in the morning, walk him to the door and kiss him goodbye. If you arrive home before him, greet him at the door with a smile, a hug, and abigol’ sloppy kiss. Knowing you have someone at home who loves you whenyouleave, and is excited when you return, puts the Love in your Life. *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women (coming this fall)

5/17: Sometimes getting back to nature can put a spark in your love life! Here are a couple of easy ways to help “nature take its course!”

For guys: “Poems have been written about it. Songs have been sung about it. People brave blistering heat and biting cold to witness it in places all over the globe. ‘It’ is the sunset, and for whatever reason, it is magic. Find out what time the sunsets today. Take your mate to see it. You can go to the beach, to the roof, to the park, or to the backyard. Hold her hand. Watch the night slip into day. You never know. Magic might happen.” *Excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: “Take him on a picnic. Sometimes, it’s nice to get away from it all and listen to the birds chirp, the frogs croak, the surf, or just the silence of the evening. Keep it simple. Wine, cheese, crackers, fruit, a little store-bought chicken salad. Spread a tablecloth, or a beach towel, over a cooler to make a table. Plastic wine glasses and a votive candle are nice touches. Fun music played through your cellphone and you’re all set. Hungry, you say? This might be a great way to satisfy your appetite. If you get my drift!” *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women. Coming this fall.

5/18: Starting the day off right might just set the tone for what’s to come that evening! Here are a couple of ideas to start a morning glow that will simmer all day.

For guys: “Take her to a coffee shop. Make time in the day for a cup of coffee with her. Pick her up or meet her there.  Sit by the window. Put away your cellphone. Hold her hand. Rub her thumb. When the coffee break is over, kiss her. Kiss her again. That hot cup of coffee might not be the only thing that works up steam.” *Excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: “Eat breakfast by candlelight. Sure, candlelight dinners are romantic. Candlelight breakfasts can be, too! Got kids? Eat before they get up, or after they leave, on a Saturday morning after their Friday night sleep-over away! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And remember, a hearty breakfast gives you lots of energy! (Wink)” *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women. Coming this fall.

5/19: Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference in long-term relationships. Here are a couple of ideas for dating your mate today.

For guys: “Light her fire. Nothing puts the heat in a relationship like a little fire-power from a room filled with candlelight. You don’t have to go to one of those girly-girl candle stores. Walmart sells candles. So does Target and just about every corner drugstore. Place them on the dining table, on the mantle, in the bedroom. Then turn down the lights, light up the candles, and light up the night!” *Excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: “Touch him. Remember how you used to love touching your mate? His face, his neck, his arm were probably favorite spots. Take time today to slowly straighten his tie, touch his hair at the temples, lightly rub the back of his neck. Touch the back of his hand when you are talking to him. Rub his knee when you are sitting next to him. Touch is sensual, and it communicates your affection. Tell him how much you care, without ever saying a word.” *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women. Coming this fall.

5/25: Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference in long-term relationships. Here are a couple of ideas for dating your mate today.

For guys: “Compliment her. Not because she needs it. Because you want her to know what you like about her. Let her know you notice, and appreciate, certain things about her. Think of all the things that attracted you to her in the first place- her laugh, her eyes, her kindness, her brain. Stop just thinking about how much you love those things. Open your mouth and tell her. That mouth will probably get kissed.” *Excerpted from “30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Men.” You can order it here! 

For gals: “If you are the one who prepares dinner ask him to sit in the kitchen with you during the process. No TV, no cellphones, and no kids if possible. Talk about your day. Ask him if he’d like to chop the veggies or season the steak. (Or you do that, if he’s handling the cooking!) Have him read the recipe aloud. If it gets to the point where you can’t stand the heat, you might just have to get out of the kitchen. To that other room.” *Excerpted from 30 Days to Better Love: A Guide for Women. Coming this fall.