For the vast majority of us, our goal upon entering into a relationship is for it to last. And while that may seem simple enough, it does take effort.

Many people assume that true love just happens. By some freak accident, two people who are perfect together meet up and suddenly they have met the person they will share their lives with forever. In reality, this just simply isn’t true. No matter how perfect you are for someone, relationships require work, time, and effort. They require us to set our egos aside and to find common ground with another flawed human being.

For those who aren’t ready to do that, relationships will be hard to maintain. But, the good thing is, when it comes down to it, with the right approach, it’s not only possible but probable to find a happy and long-term relationship.

If you are wondering how people keep love alive in the long term, we’ve got you covered. Here are 9 secrets for keeping love alive in the long term.

1. Exchange three ‘love vows’ each.

Ava Cadell, Ph.D suggests that each partner makes three love vows to one another. Examples she gives include promising to do things you both enjoy each week or promising to give your partner 20 minutes of foreplay each week. Promises don’t have to revolve around intimacy and should come from a genuine place.

2. Make your time together enjoyable.

A couple that laughs together and finds joy and excitement together stays together. Seek out experiences as a team that make you both happy. Find laughable moments amid your struggles and you will make it through the long term.

3. Show your love.

Words are that, just words. And while you can say “I love you,” every day, all day, showing it is something else entirely. Make time for your partner. Do things with your partner and show a willingness to compromise.

4. Maintain your identity.

Many people assume to have a good relationship that you should sacrifice your own identity in place for who you are in your relationship. However, it’s important to maintain your own identity. Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. says, “Couples should try to complement and support each other to become their fullest selves instead of merging to become something else.”

5. Communicate.

While it may sound so simple, many couples struggle in this category. Communication (open, honest, and understanding) is so important. It’s also important to not get defensive. The goal is to work with your partner, not against them.

6. Change things up.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life. To break out of this, try to seek out new experiences. Try new eateries, or visit new places together.

7. Give.

According to Tony Robbins, “If you contribute nothing, you get nothing. If you get nothing, you likely feel insignificant and unloved.” Make sure our partner feels seen and understand that they are your top priority.

8. Never stop getting to know your partner.

We often begin relationships striving to get to know our new partner. However, it’s important to never stop getting to know your partner. Even when you’ve been together for years, there are still things that go on or change being made that you should keep up with and vice versa.

9. Enforce a phone-free hour for each day.

In modern times, everyone is always on their phone. But, there is a time and a place. Nothing says “You aren’t worthy of my attention,” is better than watching your partner scroll through Facebook for two hours while ignoring you.

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