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1. Try New Things

Strong relationships are based on reliability and trust, but that can stagnate if the couple doesn’t look for new ways to explore and enjoy each other’s company. Find new activities that sound fun to both of you and spend a few weekends trying them out. Ask each other about activities you used to participate in before you met and see if you might want to try them again. Quieter things, like trying a new restaurant or taking a vacation to somewhere neither of you have been, can still provide fresh discussion fodder and perhaps help you notice a new side in each other that you haven’t seen before.

2. Celebrate Your Differences

No couple is 100 percent the same all the time. Rather than trying to change someone to fit who you think he should be, acknowledge the places where you diverge and set time in the relationship aside for each of you to pursue your distinctive passions individually. At the same time, talk with your partner about your differences, and get him to expound upon things that you don’t normally share. Give your partner room to breathe and expect the same. Flourishing as individuals can help strengthen the bonds you share as a couple.

3. Speak Openly and Honestly

Never be afraid to ask for what you want and don’t hide things that you feel you need to talk about. Unresolved disputes and unspoken concerns are the biggest obstacles to a growing relationship. Give each other permission to be honest with each other without fear of reprisal, while simultaneously expressing your feelings in compassionate and even terms. Your partner isn’t a mind reader and can’t always tell when you are upset or worried. Learn to talk through your disagreements and foster an atmosphere where neither of you is afraid to speak your mind.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable

“I’ve always dreamed about being a championship racer.” “I started a novel in college, and I’d like to finish it.” “Your lacy underwear really gets me excited.” They can sound so trivial and yet many people have a hard time expressing such desires, even to those closest to them. They’re afraid of appearing unduly childish or ridiculous. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to your partner and let her be vulnerable to you. Let each other talk about foolish flights of fancy or dreams you had as children about who you wanted to be when you grew up. Revealing private thoughts and dreams, when undertaken in an atmosphere of trust, can strengthen the bonds of intimacy and help you grow closer as a couple.