superhero costumesRemember when ,you first got married and you and your hot date would head out regularly for dinner, a movie, concert, whatever? Or you'd just hang out at home and really enjoy each other's company every single night as you watched TV or... bear with me guys... even talked?

Well, if you've been married for a number of years and you've got kids in the mix, chances are those are nothing more than memories. It's not that you don't love your spouse or want to spend time with him or her, it's that it's tough. Life has a habit of keeping people busy, especially when kids get in the picture.

So how exactly do you keep things fresh in your marriage? No, I'm not talking about whips and chains or building your own Red Room of Pain. I'm talking about regular ways you and your significant other can still spend some quality time together. Don't worry, I made a list!

1. Exercise - Exercising with a partner motivates you. If that partner happens to be your lovely wife, it makes things 10 times better. My wife and I have been getting up really early to head downstairs and get our butts kicked with Jillian Michaels' Body Revolution. It's brutal and I sweat a swimming pool onto the floor, but knowing my wife is there keeps me going strong.

2. Walk It Off - Just because you have kids doesn't mean you can't hang out with your spouse. Grab the kids after dinner and head outside for a nice walk around the neighborhood. It's great exercise, but it'll give you & your other half (and your kids) a chance to relax and just talk.

3. Buy Her a Song - I'm old enough to remember making mix tapes. These days, it's all digital. So there's no excuse not to buy your gal a song. iTunes makes it super easy to "gift" a song to someone, by delivering it right to their inbox. It's small and cheap (like most guys, zing!), but really shows her you care.

4. Reading Is Fundamental - Before getting into bed each night, jump on the couch together and dive into a book. Just being next to each other while reading can actually bring you closer in the figurative sense too.

5. Get Cooking - My wife will laugh when I say this, but cooking together is a nice way to bond. We used to do it when we first got married and it was a lot of fun. Pick out a new recipe, get all the ingredients, and light that fire.

6. Have Some Class - Ever take a class with your spouse? Lots of local stores have 1- or 2-day workshops where you can learn things like "How to use a digital camera" or "how to make your own sushi." Just don't get caught passing dirty notes to each other.

7. Shop Till You Drop - Definitely leave the kids with a sitter. Then hit the local mall and go clothes shopping. My wife's way better than me at picking out clothes, and it's so much easier for her to hand me a bunch, have me try them on, and have her tell me what works and what doesn't. Plus when we're done, the kids aren't around, so we can go enjoy a nice peaceful dinner!

8. Text Me, Maybe - I always get a huge smile on my face when at some point during the day I get a short text on my phone from my wife saying she misses me or some other mushy stuff. It's short and sweet and just puts me in a great mood. Go on, let your fingers do the talking.

9. Play It Again - Think games are just for kids? No way. Classics like Scrabble or Rummy Cube never go out of style. Grab a game and have fun playing. Just be careful. If you're SUPER competitive, this could totally backfire. (I.e. Guys, if you want to get any, let your wife win.)

10. It's a Puzzle - Jigsaw puzzles are highly underrated. You can crank out some tunes while sitting at the table with your honey bear, just trying to put all the pieces together. No, that's not a metaphor. Just have fun!

How do you keep the zing in your marriage?


Image via istolethetv/Flickr