Whether you believe in soulmates or think that people simply cross each other’s paths and ‘randomly’ fall in love, the one thing every couple in a long-term relationship will tell you is that great relationships take work. Impressing someone in the beginning when they’re already looking at you with pink goggles on is fairly easy, but keeping the relationship fresh after years, or even a decade is not an easy feat. People often let the relationship just sail along as it is, and that is the road to a relationship rut. Now, having said that maintaining the freshness and the spark requires work doesn’t necessarily mean hard work. If you’re consistent in your efforts to make your partner feel loved and happy, the efforts are actually little things that don’t feel like work. Stay with us and see how the simple magic happens.
Although Netflix and chill is great, and so is cuddling in your sweats, this habit, which is a sign of true intimacy and realness, can dull a relationship down if you don’t shake things up a bit every now and then. Remember those days when you would get all dressed up, do your hair and makeup, and feel the good jitters as you wait for your date to arrive – don’t let that feeling die. There are numerous ways to do date nights. If you aren’t a ‘romantic candlelight dinner’ type of couple, then find the kind of date night that’s up your alley – go clubbing, dancing, whatever. The importance lies in keeping the dating element alive as it is a constant reminder and it can actually serve as a catalyst for falling in love over and over again.
The element of surprise
Most people know that gifts are due on such occasions as anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah – the big days. The secret to keeping things fresh is to always keep your partner on their toes. Surprise them with amazing and personal online gifts, bring home flowers for no apparent reason, book a couple’s massage on a regular Tuesday. It’s your relationship, so throw the schedules out and provide little tokens of affection on the most random of days.
Spice it up
By this time, you both know each other’s bodies and preferences in bed – that much is certain. However, people change and develop new tastes, or at least become curious to try something new – maybe they’ll love it, maybe they’ll say “OK, we’re never doing that again”, but you’ll never know if you never try. This is where communication and openness are crucial. You can’t be afraid of conveying your fantasies to your significant other – who knows, perhaps they’ve also been fantasizing about doing something new and were reluctant to mention it. Great sex life is highly important, especially in already great relationships, so don’t shy away from change, it might end up blowing both of your minds. While we’re on the subject, don’t forget to compliment your partner and tell them how sexy they look on a particular day – trust us, it’s not only a turn on but also a confidence booster, and that’s always welcome in a relationship.
Keep the conversation flowing
One of the most common occurrences in long-term relationships is the lack of real, meaningful conversations. In the beginning, you can’t wait to tell them all about your hopes, embarrassing childhood memories, painful experiences – you want to pour your heart out. Somehow, over time, the conversation becomes small talk – “how was your day” or “did you get that thing I texted you about”. While practicality is inevitable, use your quality time to discuss deeper things. During the course of a relationship, both of you still have lives that happen outside the relationship, interactions that bring out certain emotions. It’s important to share your day in-depth and talk about how an event made you feel. It contributes to both of you always feeling included in each other’s daily routines even when you’re not physically together, and the sense of intimacy, empathy and trust subsequently grows.
Keep people around
This may come as a surprise, but keeping your friends close can actually make a relationship stronger. In some cases, it can even save a relationship that’s going through a rough patch. Not only, as the study suggests, do friends serve as great buffers in times of relationship conflicts and stormy weathers, but they’re also a great connecting factor when things are going great. Having people over or hanging out with friends in a bar is highly refreshing. You get to share your stories and hear stories from their lives, perhaps even gain helpful insight sometimes. And if you’re the one who’s hosting the get-together, it gives you a sense of solidness and cooperation – plus it’s plain fun, and fun is always good.