My boyfriend and I just celebrated three years together.
Three years. Just like that.
I still remember the first three weeks and how exciting they were. Like a whirlwind of emotions, falling in love, being completely and utterly obsessed with each other.
But that wild, adrenaline-filled obsessive romance can only last for so long. Eventually, it transforms into something else. It’s still love, but a different form of it.
The excitement transforms into a comfort that makes you feel known and loved in a deep and profound way. A romantic thrill is great, but it cannot substitute for the understanding that you are deeply known and deeply loved.
But — too many people confuse comfort and security for boredom.
A long-term relationship doesn’t have to be dull and lackluster. Here are four tips to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship.
Prioritize Quality Time
Quality time might just be your partner’s number-one love language.
It’s easy to get caught up in the demands of daily life and neglect the time you spend with your partner. Couples have to be intentional about fitting quality time into their busy schedules. Intentional phone calls, date nights, weekend getaways, or even just a regular time to catch up on how your days went are essential for maintaining a sense of connectivity and unity in your relationship.
Depending on the season of life, you may have more or less time to spend together, but the effort is important. Even in times of chaos or distress, aim for at least 90 minutes a week to sit down and give your partner your full attention.
However— it’s less about the number of minutes and more about the intentionality behind them.
Try New Activities Together
Break out of your routine by trying new activities together. This could be anything from taking a dance class to trying a different restaurant. Maybe there’s a new book you want to read together, or a new movie or TV show that you’re both interested in watching.
Novelty sparks excitement and can bring the feeling of “new love” back into the routine of your relationship.
It could be fun to take turns picking or planning a new activity to do together that’s outside of your normal weekly dates or activities. Be open-minded, and willing to engage in each other’s interests. You might discover something new that you enjoy, too.
Make a conscious effort to show your partner that you appreciate them. Cards, small gifts, and random acts of kindness go a long way.
Especially when your partner is having a rough week or just after you resolve a conflict, it is a great time to put in a little extra effort towards showing that you care and appreciate them.
It’s also important to consider your partner’s love language in the way that you show appreciation.
For someone who prioritizes physical touch, a back massage or extra cuddle time might do the trick. For someone who values words of affirmation, a thoughtful note or card. For someone who values acts of service, taking care of an extra chore or errand. For someone who values gifts, maybe flowers or their favorite snack.
Knowing your partner’s top love language is key to making them feel appreciated.
Never Stop Dating
Both you and your partner are constantly growing and changing. You can never really stop learning about someone. When you’ve been with someone for a long time and you think you know them like the back of your hand, remember that there is always more you can learn.
We are never finished products.
There are many tools to get to know your partner better in your relationship — such as books, fun couples apps, or games — but the common theme is they all encourage you to ask questions.
Never stop dating, never stop getting to know your partner, never stop asking questions.
By following these tips, you can keep the spark alive in your long-term relationship and ensure that your love continues to grow and flourish over time.
Remember, it takes effort and dedication, but the rewards of a happy and healthy relationship are well worth it.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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