Summer is here and so is the fun. It is time to heat up your marriage and put a little sunshine into date night. Happy marriages need connection, face time and fun. Leave the dark theatre or restaurant, turn off the TV and plant the seeds of romance. If you feel like your date night has been in a rut, it is time to try some new ideas.

Ideas for summer date nights

Picnic in paradise

Go off the beaten path. Rather than go to the noisy park, find a special place where you are more likely to have some time alone. We recently took a short 1 mile hike to a view point on the Oregon Coast near our home. With the safe trail clearly in sight, we spread out a blanket and enjoyed the view of the Pacific Ocean and the local light house. Lunch was crackers, cheese and desert. It was simple and simply perfect. It was quiet, except for the rolling waves below. We had time to reconnect and even steal a kiss. Find a trail or little known spot and reconnect.

Bonfires and S'mores

It is a lot of fun to have a family bonfire on the beach or at a camp ground. It is more fun when the kids are in bed. If you can't go alone, be sure to tuck the little ones in and sneak back out to snuggle together by the fire and watch the stars. You only have to be a few miles outside the city, to look up in the sky and be overwhelmed by the beauty of the stars. There is something special about the crackle of burning wood, the warmth of a fire and the night sky full of stars. Some of our best memories are sitting by the fire after the kids have gone to bed, sharing a blanket and counting falling stars.

Plan an adventure

Admit it - there is something you have always wanted to try. If not now, when? Share your dream with your spouse and find out what their secret wish list has on it. Whatever you dream of doing (whether it's white water rafting, surfing or mountain biking), take a risk and try it with your sweetheart. Make a dream come true. You don't have to buy all the equipment. You don't have to be rich, just willing to explore the possibilities. You don't even have to be good at it or like it.

Watch for package deal coupons, or explore local sports equipment rentals. Check your local chamber of commerce website or find a friend that is an expert and is willing to help you try it out for the first time. You never know what new sport you may find you enjoy together.

Paddle your way to Heaven

Let go of your fear of being seen in a bathing suit. Your sweetheart loves you and knows you. Find a quiet lake or river and paddle a canoe. Speed boats are fun, but a quiet row boat or canoe is perfect for romance. Bring food or a fishing pole. Quietly paddle to a secluded spot on the lake and take a swim. Wear life jackets and be safe. Remember what it feels like to be a kid on a hot summer day in a cool lake. Nothing is more beautiful than someone in love, even if she is wearing a life jacket.

Backyard adventures

There is no place like home. Over the years we have created a backyard haven. Sometimes the best place in the world to be is sitting by the fire pit right outside your own back door, while everyone is asleep on the inside. We have created many backyard adventures.

One year we were taking an old couch to the dump, along with a large boxy old television. We drug the couch out onto the deck, ate ice-cream and watched movies while cuddling on the couch under the stars.

Surprise your honey

Planning a surprise is half the fun. Just a few months ago my spouse surprised me with dinner on the beach. One of my children took a truck out onto the beach, with a table and chairs. They surprised their date with a formal candle light dinner and a view of the Pacific.

Wake your sweetheart up and take them outside to lie on the lawn and watch the stars. Remind him why he fell in love with you.

This summer create memories and a marriage that will last a lifetime. Remember why you fell in love and surprise your sweetheart with a hot summer romance.

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