You agreed to stick it out through sickness and health and for richer or poorer, but marital vows don’t address the other big things that can untie your knot—boredom, feeling out of touch, or worse, platonic friendship instead of an in-love partnership. While honeymoon headiness will inevitably decline, that doesn’t mean your relationship has to take a nosedive as well. In fact, some of marriage’s best highlights—raising a family and developing a deeper, more profound connection—require years of togetherness.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure that your relationship stays strong over time.
The moments when you really feel close to someone, when you feel like you know each other on a level you’ve never known anyone else, usually happen when your clothes are on. These moments are not necessarily incredible or over-the-top or mind-blowing. They’re just special little things that happen when you find yourself with someone who makes you feel a way you’ve never felt with anyone else. As you get older, you start to realize that you want to feel intimacy with someone through things other than sex. You want to get to know them and you want to share pieces of yourself and you want to feel things together.
In a healthy relationship, people tend to give love and support freely and frequently. They don’t wait for a special occasion to show their appreciation. They genuinely enjoy doing nice things for one another “just because” ― no prompting necessary.
Here are the few things that you do together without any consent of your partner but simply enjoy your partner’s presence:
Bask in the beautiful silence, in the fact that you can sit and enjoy the presence of another person without feeling uncomfortable or antsy or weird. The space is filled with heat and energy and an unspoken agreement between the two of you that you are just meant to sit in this car or lay in this bed or rest on this couch and just be the two of you, together.
You’re standing over the stove together, watching water boil and feeling more content than you ever have before where the two of you are all pajama pants and t-shirts and fuzzy socks and sweatshirts, and you’ve never been more attracted to each other. One of you is cutting up peppers while the other one works on the pasta. And even though it’s the simplest thing and the simplest night, you feel the foundations of a steady partnership.
Holding hands absentmindedly
You look down at one point and notice your fingers entwined. Your bodies are so comfortable with each other that touching one another has become a completely natural thing for you at this point.
Get stupid-drunk together
When you guys start with one glass of wine but end up in three, then two of you slowly start to feel the effects of the alcohol, and it only intensifies the giddiness you feel for one another. You laugh at stupid things and hang all over each other and feel so thankful in that moment that you’ve found someone so wonderful.
Taking unplanned naps
This is unexpected but eventually you somehow you both move towards the bed. You just intend to warm yourselves up but a short session of murmuring softly you turn to a comfortable sleep. When you wake and realize you’re late but the arm is around you and the warmth is just too good to turn away.
Surprise each other
Nothing spectacular or over-the-top. Just simple, unexpected surprises that make your significant other smile. Make the favourite food of your partner just because you love watching their face light up over something so small. You never have to do anything big. It’s always sweet, little gifts that manage to make your entire day.
Being unprecedentedly honest
Opening yourself up completely to someone else is one of the scariest things you can do. It’s the reason why those conversations make you feel more intimate with your partner than you do during sex or during a romantic date or anything else in the world. You know each other. And you love each other anyway. And that’s the real reason you’re so happy together.
Asking for your partner’s advice or opinion
It’s one of the most special and important parts of relationships – respecting each other and holding each other’s opinions highly. Your partner never has all of the answers, and neither do you. But knowing you always have someone by your side, who’s rooting for you and there to talk through things with you and support you, is always enough.