A common theme regarding relationships in movies and television shows is that after so long, the fire dies. In these productions, the couple usually ends up unfaithful and miserable, but over time, each of them "rediscovers" their love for the other.
That doesn't have to be the case for real-life relationships, though.
You don't have to fall out of love to have the strong relationship you did at the beginning. You don't have to be miserable because you're with the same person for a long time. You can keep a strong relationship for longer than just a few years.
1. Continue getting to know each other
You may think you already know everything about your partner, but the truth is, people have way more layers than we realize. It's important to your relationship and your partner that you keep continuing to get to know them, to learn more about them on a deeper level. This is probably the easiest way to continually put effort into your relationship, but it can honestly be the most meaningful. There's nothing quite like someone wanting to know your deepest thoughts and what makes you tick. You never completely know someone, so keep putting forth the effort.
2. Make time for a date night
You may not be in the beginning stages of your relationship anymore, but that doesn't mean you have to stop going on dates. That doesn't mean it's okay to stop going out of your way and make an effort to express your love. Whether it's a five-star restaurant or it's just a half-priced appetizers night at Applebee's, whether it's a movie premiere or a cozy night in, any time spent alone with the person you love is the best time you could have. Date nights show your partner that you want to make time with them, that you want to switch up the normal routine of just hanging out to have a romantic evening with them. It shows them that you still want to put in an effort to express your love.
3. Communicate clearly and understand your love languages
Healthy communication means a healthy relationship. When you're able to understand each other's feelings and express your love in the ways that matter the most to them, neither of you will ever wonder how the other feels about you. You'll already know. You don't have to spend tons of money to prove your love. Communication can make or break a relationship, so make sure that you openly discuss what expressions of love resonate most with you. Doing this will ensure that you'll feel the spark for years to come.
4. Have separate interests
This may sound like something that would decrease the spark, but it actually does the opposite. You are two independent people that continually make the choice to love each other, which means before you met, you had separate interests. You lived your own lives, loving things that made you, you. While it's important to take a interest in the things your partner finds joy in, it's also crucial to your individuality to still be your own person. It's not healthy to completely merge yourself into another person, abandoning who you used to be. That will just lead to regret and internalized spite. You are two people in love, so it's important to celebrate that.
5. Continue to make memories together
Nothing is better than going somewhere or seeing something that reminds you of your partner and a good time you had. Go on road trips together, explore parts of your city you've never been to before. Making memories together creates fond times for you to look back on when the going gets tough. These experiences together are a great way to bond and grow closer together as a couple. By sharing these moments, even every day moments, you're engaging your partner in things that matter to you.
6. Touch each other
This can be intimately, but it doesn't always have to be. Physical closeness and touch are important expressions of love. Whether it's holding hands or giving them a kiss goodbye, you're letting your partner know that you're there, both physically and mentally. Physical acts of love like these are an important expression that keeps the spark alive. You don't have to stop being two crazy kids in love after your relationship goes long-term. Continue to choose each other, continue to love each other, and continue to keep things a little spicy.
7. Focus on your future as a couple
Yes, you're long-term, but you've still got a lot of years ahead of you. You have an entire future together, and that's too exciting to ignore. Think of all of the fun experiences and memories you'll have together. When you feel secure and trusting in a relationship, you know you can truly settle in and work for the future you've always dreamed about. When you know that your partner is committed to you and only you, you know you both have that shared goal of staying long-term. The future is an exciting thing for a couple because it holds the rest of your life together. Work together to get to where you want to go.
Your love doesn't have to become dry and dead just because the honeymoon stage has ended. Honestly, the honeymoon stage doesn't have to end at all, no matter how comfortable you get with each other. Comfort isn't something to dread. If you continually work at your relationship, you'll never have to worry about letting that spark die.
You don't have to fall out of love to find what made you fall in love in the first place. You don't have to view life with one person as a curse. You can keep your relationship strong, despite being together for years. Celebrate the fact that you've found someone to love and be loved by for so long. Continue to choose love, make an effort, and keep that fire going.