Valentine’s finds many couples going all out to display their love. How great would it be if that same energy was tapped throughout the whole year?  While relationship longevity is generally a desirable quality, sometimes long-term relationships can fall prey to the terrible trap of familiarity which breeds contempt. Taking one’s mate or one’s marriage for granted can expose us to a wide array of relationship demons that can wreck havoc on any couple.

What can be done to counteract relationship death-by-familiarity?   Most people agree that it is the little things that really make a difference in their relationship. Consider taking the following simple steps to help to positively maintain and to intentionally develop the vibrant life of your union all year long:

1. Remember what attracted you to each other in the first place and make sure those factors are still activated. Whatever it took to get your boo is the same thing it will take to keep them too.

2. Give your mate a tangible expression of your love. This token need not be expensive. Just make sure it is meaningful, and from the heart and it will probably be appreciated.

3. Give sustained eye contact. Look at him or her as if he or she still mattered. Notice when your mate enters the room even at home. Such small gestures are important indications of honor.

4. Give non-sexual touches throughout the day – not just before bedtime.  A hand on the shoulder, a rub on the back, and a stroke of the hair all say to your mate: “I like being near you.”

5. Show some Humor! Laughter keeps life in the relationship and stimulates endorphins.  Fun in a marriage is like Sun in a garden: it makes it grow and thrive.

6. Maintain the element of surprise. Don’t be so predictable. Unexpected gestures of kindness can communicate love and care in a tremendous way.

7. Ask open-ended questions. One good question can stimulate a whole evening full of revelatory conversation. Never settle for ho-hum dialogue just because you have known each other for a long time. As long as you are alive, you are changing so there is always more to discover about yourself and your mate.

Hopefully these ideas are enough to whet your appetite for revived relationships and made-over marriages. Don’t be so quick to give up on your old relationship. There may be some rare and beautiful diamonds just waiting for the chance to sparkle.