The age-old saying that “nothing worth fighting for ever comes easy” is never truer than when it comes to relationships. When we are in a long-term relationship, it is common to become complacent on both sides. But forgetting the little things builds up over time, and eventually your relationship becomes empty without them. Here are five things to look out for to ensure you’re keeping the spark alive (even if it evolves over time.)
Affection is incredibly important (whether you’re pro or anti-PDA)
It might not seem like that big of a deal to neglect the goodbye kiss when you’re running late for work or forget to say ‘I love you’ when you’re hanging up the phone. But according to Terri Orbuch, PhD, “in long-term studies of marriage … affirmation and affection are essential and vital to happiness in a relationship.” Don’t stop expecting outward displays of love from your partner.
Time for each other
Everyone is busy. We have work, families, friends and other commitments that take up those precious waking hours we have each day. Being busy is not an excuse for your partner not to make time for you. Even if it takes some creative scheduling, your partner should devote at least a couple of hours each week to being fully present to you.
Open eyes and ears
If you and your partner were to automatically agree on everything, life would get pretty dull. A good partner will add a fresh perspective to your life. But sometimes you get so caught up in an argument that you both let your difference of opinions get the best of you. Even when they are at their wit’s end, your partner should try to understand where you’re coming from.
We don’t all have the guy who will bring home flowers every week “just because”—and that’s okay. But a common degree of considerate actions, i.e. saving us the last slice of pie or leaving the toilet seat down, is not something he should become lazy about, no matter how deep into the relationship you are.
Congratulations! You’ve gotten into a comfortable routine in your relationship. That’s a good thing. It means you’ve found someone who fits into your life well. But just because you’ve built a safe space with your partner doesn’t mean you should give up hope for the occasional surprise or excitement. Don’t be afraid to switch it up every now and then and ask to do something unpredictable. You’ll eventually get bored if you don’t.