Whether you are gay or straight, married or in a domestic partnership, the goal in every long-term relationship is inevitably the same: You want to keep the romance alive.
At times, this can feel like a daunting task because life events always get in the way.
Suddenly, three years have gone by, and you realize you've made everything else your priority instead of the person you are choosing to spend your life with.
While I am not a certified relationship expert, I have been the same long-term relationship for almost 10 years now.
Here are five things I've learned along the way that may also help keep the flame burning in your own relationship:
1. Always kiss your partner hello.
Most of us have seen the phrase, “Always kiss me goodnight,” plastered all over posters, books and coffee cups.
Hell, some people probably have sheets and pillowcases with the phrase on it.
Yes, it is very important to kiss the one you love goodnight. I will not dismiss that.
However, when you walk in the door after a long day, the very first thing you should be doing is finding your partner and kissing him or her hello.
This can be tricky because maybe you've had a rough day and aren’t in the mood right at that moment, or maybe you are battling with extreme hunger and dinner is all that's on your mind.
No matter how you are feeling, simply approaching your significant other and saying hello with a kiss is how couples should be starting their evenings together.
2. Dedicate one evening a week without electronics.
I can hear people gasping as they read this.
The thought of not having access to a phone, tablet, computer or television can sound like some people's worst nightmare, but I challenge you to take note of how much time you spend on electronics while in the presence of your partner.
The time you are spending reading someone’s opinions about the latest episode of your favorite show or what someone made for dinner that night is precious time you could be engaging in a meaningful conversation with your partner.
Or, if you play your cards right, it is precious time you could be spending in the bedroom.
Get off your phone.
3. Take each other on surprise dates.
Planning a “date night” when you have been together for so long can sometimes feel like a chore.
It’s like you have to specifically make a point to say, "This is date night," or else any other night of the week you spend together isn’t as special.
In an attempt to change up the meaning of date night, planning a night together that your significant other is not aware of can be a fun way to shake things up.
It will also show your SO that you spent the time to coordinate something fun to do together when he or she least expected it.
4. Have more sex.
There is nothing more ego-crushing than attempting to put the moves on your partner and being denied due to a headache, being too tired or whatever the other excuses you have used.
There will be many times when one of you is in the mood to have sex when the other isn’t.
There could be weeks before you are both on the same page again.
The longer the time passes between sex, the harder it is to get back to the place of a healthy sex life.
Yes, there are certainly instances when turning down your partner is necessary, but I am also certain there are many times when you simply don’t want to put in any effort.
Don’t do that.
5. Stop taking your partner for granted.
After a certain amount of time, long-term relationships reach a comfort level that can sometimes be toxic to the future of the relationship.
You think you don’t need to say, "I love you" as much because your SO should just know.
You think you don’t need to compliment something great about your partner because you’ve already complimented him or her about it in the past.
You think you have plenty of time to spruce up your sex life because you have committed to each other forever, so you push it off until another day.
All of these things and so much more can be a death sentence for your relationship.
Do not assume you can do something tomorrow to make things better because tomorrow might be too late.