Since we're all friends here, I'm just going to come right on out and say it: Not all relationships are silver, shiny and sparkly forever. Many people give up on their relationship after the can't-keep-your-hands-off-each-other period has ended because they think they're not in love anymore. In reality, they're entering a new phase in their relationship — real love.
Navigating the storm (and keeping the spark alive!), aren't as difficult as you'll make them out to be. We talked to YourTango expert Julia Flood, owner of New Start Therapy, and got some tips on how you can keep those flames burning all relationship long.
1. Show that you care — and keep showing
Flood suggests that you always, always keep in mind just how important consideration is in a relationship. Whether it's asking how his day went, checking in to see how his friend who's pregnant is doing, or just asking a basic "Is there anything I can do for you?", longevity in a relationship — especially the type that leads to long lasting love — comes from being grounded in the basic understanding that you care and are considerate of one another. Plus, as your relationship matures, a partner who wants to do things for you is hot.
2. Be on the same team
We're not suggesting the two of you share the same opinion and take the same stance on every argument (because that would be boring), it's important to remember that you're both on the same team in the end. Sure, you might prefer Pepsi while he doesn't understand how anyone would live without the taste of a cool CocaCola — but in the grand scheme of things, what does it matter? Teamwork makes the dream work.
3. Romance requires a little work
The worst part about exiting the honeymoon phase and walking straight into a real relationship is learning that real romance requires real work. (Did it just get real up in here or is that just me?) Sometimes, you've got to tell your guy you want flowers. Remind him that it's your anniversary. It doesn’t mean you're failing at romance to have to schedule in the things that are important to you — it means that you're smart enough to know how to keep a romance real.
4. Laugh with each other
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me how important laughter is for a relationship, I'd still be poor. But you know what? Laughing together — and I mean genuine, real, from the belly up laughter — does wonders for your relationship. During the honeymoon phase you're so carefree, lovable and overwhelmed that the silliness is just part of the whole process, but when you're in the thick of it, sometimes it's easy to forget how good a laugh feels — especially when you're sharing it with the person who means more to you than anything.
5. Schedule sex
It's simple: plan when you're going to have sex. Make a promise. Stick to it. And shed the clothes. Planning to have sex has the stigma attached to it that you're old, shriveled up, boring and disinterested. In fact, it's just the opposite. Scheduling a little hanky panky ensures that you'll both get it — and knowing ahead of time what you and your partner plan to do between the sheets makes the night ahead a whole lot kinkier. You'll spend all day thinking about it. Talk about a turn-on!
6. Listen to each other
Best advice? Never stop listening to each other. During the honeymoon phase, your relationship is so new and so inviting that you're so caught up in the other person. You want to hear every story, feel every emotion — and once you're past that, it can be easy to forget just how important real, genuine listening can be. If he's had a bad day, hug him and hear him out. If his boss is giving him hell at work, be there when he needs you. It will only deepen (and strengthen) your bonds.
7. Date each other
It's so easy to say it — and it almost sounds a little cliché — but going out on dates together throughout your relationship keeps the romance alive. So when he asks "Dinner at 7?" Tell him you can't wait.
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