When you’re in a long term relationship that sense of familiarity is both comforting and dare we say it, a little same-same. That’s why in this list we bring you 17 things to keep things, well, a little more interesting when it comes to the pair of you.
1. No one is perfect. Accept that your relationship for all its perfection and its imperfections. No one’s relationship is perfect despite what social media might suggest otherwise.
2. Find time. Spend some time each day thinking about all the things about your partner that makes you grateful they are in your life. It will remind you how great they are help you appreciate what first attracted you to them.
3. Give your partner space. Let them know you trust them and appreciate that they do sometimes want to explore their own hobbies and interests. Be genuinely fine with it.
4. Stay sexy. Nothing says love more than spending some time with your partner one-to-one. It doesn’t necessarily have to include anything sexual but if it does, surprise them with some toys from condom brand Durex.
5. Make a date. Speaking of sexy, getting intimate can be tricky when you’re both exhausted from working and take care of children but it’s easy to get out of the habit so spend some time plotting a time when you can rekindle some love.
6. Break from routine. Routine keeps your household running but it doesn’t do much in terms of romance so break that routine up once in a while. Arrange to have the children babysat but don’t let your partner know until they’re home, head out to dinner and just enjoy some rare time spent together.
7. Stay physical. This doesn’t necessarily mean sexual but a hug, kiss or sign of affection every day keeps you better connected and lets your partner know you’re there in a physical sense. That sign of affection helps to release feel good hormones and helps you both feel better.
8. Apologise. It’s a hard one this, especially when you both feel that you’re in the right and the other party should make the first move to say sorry. At the end of the day, you both want to move on and move past the argument and if you need to say sorry, well maybe that’s all it’s going to take. If you are in the wrong then apologise sincerely, rectify the problem and move on.
9. Create your own rituals. Those little things that only the two of you do. Perhaps that’s a G&T the end of a long day, take the dog for a walk together or share some ice cream. Whatever it is, it’s yours and gives another level of intimacy to the time you spend together. While you may have family rituals, these ones are for the two of you alone.
10. Keep an eye on your mouth. As tempting as it is, not everything that you think about needs to be articulated. Edit yourself and check that the things you say, especially the criticisms couldn’t just be articulated in a more constructive way. Be freer with your praise and your compliments.
11. Show your love. Saying “I love you” is perfect but as most people in long term relationships know, love is a verb and a great way to say “I love you” is through some of the things you can do to make your partner feel appreciated. That cup of coffee as they wake up, doing their ironing even though you never iron, just because you know they’ll appreciate it.
12. Don’t hold a grudge. It’s easy to see when someone does something wrong. Whether they do it by accident or to hurt you, if they’ve apologised then you need to move on. There’s not much that can be achieved in a relationship when someone is holding a grudge against the other person. Let it go and move on.
13. Set goals together. A great way to keep your fire burning is to set mutual goals that you’re both working towards. That might be finishing a total refurbishment of your home, saving for a luxury holiday or heading towards an early retirement. Whatever it is, keep your focus on achieving it and enjoy the bond that a shared objective can bring.
14. Think couple. It might seem obvious but thinking of yourself as ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ can help shift your thinking towards maintaining and strengthening your relationship. You’ll naturally feel like you’re in a partnership and make great decisions that advantage you both as a couple.
15. Have a life outside the relationship. You don’t want to spend every evening gazing at each other. As much as that sounds fun in those first few heady days and months, you want to look at what you need outside the relationship. That regular game of golf with friends or the evening runs you take are what makes you happy. If your partner has an issue with you spending an evening out here and there, you may want to look more deeply at any other behaviour that concerns you.
16. Remember the good times. This doesn’t have to be a wistful exercise but spending time looking at the amazing memories and pictures you’ve created is a great way of recalling each other’s best points and for planning more memory building activities to come.
17. Fight fairly. Making wild accusations are not going to get you anywhere but instead ramp up the issue. Practice the art of telling your partner how their behaviour makes you feel rather than accusing them of “always” doing something.
Relationships aren’t born great they’re made and refined through the years of being together and learning to appreciate each other through the good and bad. Take some time to see each other with fresh eyes and find 17new reasons to really appreciate your partner. Be romantic, be spontaneous, forgive and apologise and find new ways to express your love for the most important person in your life.