We’ve all heard various adages about the “honeymoon stage” of a relationship, and they all boil down to the idea that that after you’ve married someone, after a while the passion goes away and you can begin to dislike each other. Sometimes this is an indicator of a relationship that’s just not meant to work out, but often it just means it’s time for a change. As I’ve said before, love is something you need to DO, it won’t happen on its own. Here are six things you can do to keep your relationship with your spouse going strong. Stop comparing them to other people’s spouses. ● Even if it’s only in your head, comparing the person you’re with to the person someone else is with is only sabotaging your own relationship. Just because your spouse does things differently doesn’t make them less than someone else, and if it’s something you feel is lacking in your relationship it’s something to talk about, not complain about. Stop thinking in terms of how your spouse “used to” act. ● As we grow and experience new things we change, it’s inevitable. Your spouse will change, you will change, and it’s all okay. If there’s been some drastic change it’s something to talk about, but spending your time focused on how someone “used to” be isn’t going to get you anywhere. Do as many nice things as possible. ● Strangely one of the biggest things that can go wrong in a relationship is familiarity. The most used to your partner you become, the less you work to impress them and make them happy in an active way. This is why it so important to actively do nice things for them. Draw a portrait of your wife’s cat or bake your husband a cake. Get creative and think outside the box. The advantage of being together longer is you know them better and can do something that will have real meaning to them. Do new things together without kids. ● This one is obviously dependent on having kids, but if you’ve embarked on parenthood with your partner this one is a must. Doing the same old same old, or always involving your kids can ruin your relationship. Take some time to do something new just you and your spouse, and while you’re at it be as nice as you were when you were first dating. It sounds small but it can make a big difference. Tell them how you feel. ● It’s the simplest but often the hardest. We get so used to using “you” statements and trying not to make things about ourselves that it takes a little extra effort to stop doing it. Using “I” statements helps to eliminate passive aggression, and is the first step to resolving a problem. Ask for you want you, pleasantly. ● Again, familiarity is the big problem here. You’ve been together for years so you won’t always be as polite as you could be, but give it a try. Use please and thank you for routine tasks and requests. Just because it’s routine or even expected (like taking out the trash or picking up the kids from football practice) doesn’t mean it should be acknowledged and give appreciation.