Just when you think being in a romantic relationship is rainbows and butterflies, you may be living in an idealistic world. In reality, couples do experience highs and lows throughout their relationship.

More so, couples discover new things about their respective partners during the course of their relationship, even if they have been together for years. Being in a romantic relationship can surprise you–hopefully in a good way, of course. As for long-time couples, it is important to maintain their relationship stronger and even level up the usual if needed.

Here are some tips for you and your significant other to help keep the fire burning in your entire relationship:

1. Look on the bright side of things.

Long-time couples should be comfortable and tolerate each other’s quirks by now. On the contrary, criticizing your partner for doing things that irritate you can spark irreconcilable conflicts in the long run. To avoid this, compliment your partner more each day.

Talk about how beautiful your woman looks even without make-up, or how much you love your man even if he has a beer belly. Thank your partner for the simple things he or she does that makes you happy. Text him or her in the middle of the day just to say “I love you” or “I miss you”. Those kinds of simple things, without you realizing it, will definitely make someone’s day.

2. Sex is more than just pleasuring each other.

Sure, sex is something most couples look forward to every night. However, sex should not be treated as a “scheduled” task that needs to be accomplished within the day. Rather, it’s a way to connect and express love through physical contact. This is also the reason why it’s alternatively called “making love” – you do sex out of love for your partner and not just for the pleasure it gives.

Other than sex, there are other ways to “connect” physically. Hold hands while walking, give your partner a hug or a peck on the cheek every morning and before you sleep, and many more ways to show love through touch.

3. Learn to relax.

Couples who both works may end up getting tired at the end of the day. In effect, it may affect their mood and may even turn into petty fights. To prevent this, make sure to have a few minutes of coffee break or morning yoga.

As much as possible, set aside the stresses you are feeling in the office and never bring the heavy feeling at home. Greet your partner and ask him or her about the day. Have dinner or even an evening shower together. This way, it can help you and your partner relax more and lead happier and more fulfilling moments together.

4. Fight right.

Conflicts are normal among couples – it’s basically a part of any kind of relationship. Contrary to popular belief, conflicts can be a way to get closer to your partner. However, it should be done in a loving way. How so?

First of all, avoid criticizing and foul-mouthing your partner and be always on the defensive. Avoid physical attacks which can hurt either of you that may end up into something serious.

If you think that your argument is already escalating into a full-blown fight, try changing the subject, insert random humor, or hug your partner. If all else fails, call a truce and walk away for a while.

5. Listen.

The power of listening is one of the most crucial elements of a healthy relationship. When caught in an argument with your partner, consider his or her feelings, speak less, and listen more. Avoid adding fuel to the fire – instead, listen to each other so you can come up with a solution to your problem.

6. Have your “me” time once in a while.

Requesting for “me” time is not really bad in any relationship. In fact, it can actually be better for your relationship. According to experts, having short periods of alone time allows individuals to “recharge” and give more to their respective partners and to the relationship in general.

7. Be spontaneous.

Many people love surprises, and this can also help spice up a relationship. Have a last-minute out-of-town trip with your partner, or have sex in the least unexpected time of the day – those kinds of spontaneity. Sometimes, spontaneity can further spark a relationship for the better.

8. Learn to forgive.

Having grudges against each other can be toxic in any relationship, and a sure-fire way to end a relationship. This is one reason why listening is important – to listen to each other’s side and empathize with each other, which in turn can lead to forgiving. Learning to forgive can help make you feel better and even improve your relationship with each other.