“Days blur together in whirlwind of work responsibilities, household chores, parenting projects, and social obligations.  Before I know it, a week has turned into a month and I can’t remember the last time we spent real quality time with each other.”

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so then you are not alone.  This is a common complaint among couples and one that never seems to be easily solved.  Like most marriage therapists I recommend date night for every couple at least twice a month, if not weekly.  It’s an invaluable habit to form but I realize that  suddenly finding a few hours in your week for date night is often unrealistic- at least as a short-term solution.  So I offer you 7 mini-dates to help you rev up your love life and reconnect with your partner NOW.

Text Message Flirting– flirting and the sexual tension that it brings are one of the best parts of dating.  Text message flirting offers you the chance to multi-task and set the stage for an evening of romance or at least something more than a quick peck before you both roll over to sleep.  Send a steamy message while standing in line at the grocery store or in that never-ending board meeting.  Remind your man that you are more than just the mother of his children or the wife who picks up his dry cleaning!  Not very tech savvy?  Try a love note instead.  I’m a big fan of this calendar from Knock Knock– what better way to keep your schedule and spark a little flirtation at the same time.

Have a living room picnic– I promised you an hour or less so this is not the time to go to Dean and Deluca for a selection of fine wine and cheeses.  The same dinner you were making for the kids can become a playful and romantic moment for two just by changing the scenery.  Take the dinner plates into the living room or even your bedroom, spread a blanket on the floor, and if you really want to take it up a notch turn on a CD of nature sounds.  The change of venue can do wonders for sparking a more relaxed mood which fosters deeper conversation.

Foot massages– who wouldn’t enjoy a day at the spa?!  Alas there is rarely time for that so make time for a mini spa moment instead.  Sit on the couch or in the bed together with your feet in each other’s laps and start rubbing.  A foot massage can extremely relaxing or ticklish- either way its bound to bring you both at least 10 minutes of pleasure with each other.

Go on a breakfast date– dates don’t only happen in the dark.  try starting your day right with a good breakfast and even better company.  Head to the kitchen together once a week and whip a quick but hearty breakfast of eggs and toast or make it a real treat and head out a little early for breakfast at your favorite café or coffee shop.  Even just a muffin and coffee can be a good start to a long day when you do it together.

Go for a walk– not only does your body need a healthy breakfast it needs exercise!  Plan to skip the gym a couple times a week and go for an after-dinner walk together instead.  It’s a fantastic way to get the blood flowing and a good excuse to hold hands.  And best of all, if you have little ones at home, an evening stroll can put them to sleep giving you even more couple time.

Mini-series marathon– the last time I suggested a couple do dinner and movie they both laughed.  They haven’t finished a whole movie since their son was born.  Fortunately they came up with the great idea to at least keep up with the latest TV shows.  Try renting an entire season of your favorite show (or that great new show that everyone is talking about that you can’t stay awake long enough to watch).  Not only will you look forward to seeing what happens next on the episode but you have a built in anticipation of your next “TV date” together.  The best part?  You can watch at 6pm instead of 10 and actually stay awake for the whole episode.

Stay in bed– whether you head skip your morning run or weasel out of brunch with the in-laws on Saturday morning, find one day a week to linger in bed with each other for an extra hour.  The lazy indulgence of just lounging together doing nothing is a great catalyst for conversation and connection- not to mention intimacy.  Can’t find a morning to laze around?  Make one hour on the weekend your official “nap time”; get in bed, set the timer, and just hang out together pretending that there’s nothing to do.