Being in love is like a drug. The beginning can be addictive, freeing, and an emotional rush that you continue to chase as long as you can. Perhaps there is no more overwhelming a feeling than that of young love; it is intense, and it can hook people into a relationship before they even know what’s happening. However, young love is described as such because it doesn’t last, which is why we differentiate it by calling it young. If you want a lasting, real relationship, you have to be willing to make the turn from intense, young love, to a love that’s willing to stand the test of time.

Relationships take work, and that work can mean different things for different couples. Some couples may need to learn how to communicate more effectively, others might need to spend time doing the little things that keeps love surprising and intimate. No matter what the specific need in the relationship is, it takes a willingness from both partners to work and practice with one another. In the process, they just might find that it brings them even closer together.

But what is it that a relationship truly needs to keep a couple in love? This question is asked by many, especially by couples who have recently married. The answer to this question is simple, yet sometimes hard to achieve.

It’s gratitude.

Married couples that stay in love do so by never taking their partner for granted. They are grateful for everything the other person does for them, even if that just means existing in their lives. When you’re married, there’s no act too small to warrant appreciation because the little things are what’s important in a relationship. If your partner’s very existence is a call for gratitude, then any act they choose to offer in service of the other person is a gift.

Gratitude isn’t as easy to express as one might think. When it comes to love, the little things become easier and easier to take for granted as time goes on. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the little things, the little acts of devotion, that will make all the difference in your partner’s eyes. If you feel that your actions are going unnoticed, don’t overreact, simply discuss it calmly with your partner. Even taking the time to talk things through can be a gift worthy of gratitude; it shows you care enough to try.

When you’re grateful for your partner, you’ll realize that making sacrifices for their sake becomes more important than sacrificing for yourself. There’s a reason you fell in love in the first place, and you need to remember that reason in order to be truly appreciative. Don’t lose sight of what you have, and let your partner know you never will.

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