Relationships often begin with a massive spark and interest, many call this the honeymoon phase. Unfortunately, this phase doesn’t last forever, and it’s important to realize we have to work to keep the love alive.

Just because the honeymoon period doesn’t last, doesn’t mean the spark between you and your partner has to die. Many people expect relationships to just stay exciting and happy at all times, and as soon as things start to reach a lull, they back out without giving their relationship a chance. What creates “true love” isn’t some soulmate connection that magically makes the relationship thrive – it’s two people who are willing to put forth the effort, day in and day out, even when the spark dies down.

Without a little effort, and without continuing to do the little things that make love last- it can be hard to make the relationship last.

The good thing, though, is that according to psychologists, the necessary little things aren’t always major tasks- they are simple things you can do for and with your partner to keep your love thriving.

Here are 9 psychologist-backed ways to keep your relationship thriving.

1. Exchange three love vows.

Ava Cadell, Ph.D., and founder of Loveology University explain that a great way to help your relationship is to ask your partner what you could be doing more of and then, commit to doing it. As long as you are comfortable with their requests, takedown three and give them three.

2. Never stop dating each other.

Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, MSW are relationship psychologists and authors. According to them, it’s very important to never stop dating your partner. Even when you are married and way past the dating stage, continue to treat the relationship like it’s new.

3. Check in with each other daily.

No matter how often you see your partner, or how much time you spend together, make sure you are truly connecting with them. Even if you are just sitting down for 10-20 minutes each day truly connecting and touching base, this will help you and your partner to stay attuned to one another.

4. Make a phone-free hour rule.

Gary Brown, Ph.D., and licensed marriage and family therapist, recommends removing phones from the equation for one hour each day. Try to implement this time when you feel the most distracted from your partner by your phone.

5. Serve one another.

Bloom recommends taking moments to be in service to one another. For example, take a shower together and wash the other’s hair. Or, feed each other bites of food. You can simply fix their plate, and still be serving them in some way.

6. Bid for connection.

Relationship researchers from the Gottman Institute suggest making ‘bids for connection.’ Around the 3-4 year mark, it’s normal for intimacy to decline. However, to continue to keep it alive, be intentional with your partner. “Will you hold my hand?” or, “I read about a new position in a magazine and thought maybe we could try it.”

7. Show gratitude.

It’s important to show gratitude towards your partner. A great way to do so is to take the time to make a note verbally to your partner of what you are grateful for about your relationship and them.

8. Hide love notes for your partner to find.

Bloom suggests hiding love notes for your partner to find. Use little inside jokes you share, and keep it simple and fun.

9. Try new things together.

Brown suggests trying new activities together as a couple. By doing so, you increase your attachment to one another, because you are bonding through a mutually enjoyable activity. If the adventure is something thrilling, you will release oxytocin, which is the love hormone. It helps us to bond more deeply with others.

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