Who doesn’t want an ultimate love story? As much as we all crave that happily ever after, things can quickly turn sour when dishes are left in the sink, you’re forced to watch that show you hate, or your partner’s snoring keeps you up all night.

But don’t fret because there are some things you and your S.O. can do to keep the romance alive. Here are 10 things to keep in mind for a strong and healthy relationship.

Use “I” messages
In order to express yourself clearly so your partner doesn’t get defensive, begin your statements with “I.” For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” say, “I feel unimportant when I have to repeat myself.” Trust us, it’s all about wording.

Give each other space
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder — and in this case, it couldn’t be truer. The next time you and your partner have an argument, give each other some space to cool off. The short time away lets your emotions calm down so you’re both able to think more rationally (you don’t want to regret saying something out of anger!).

Maintain outside friendships
It’s important to keep mutual friends as well as separate friends that you spend time with. Sometimes a girl’s night out is just what the doctor ordered.

Don’t neglect date night
As you get more comfortable in a relationship, date nights become a rarity and time spent together turns into pizza and Netflix nights. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s important to spend some quality time together outside of your normal routine.

Express appreciation for each other
This goes beyond just saying “thank you.” Whether your partner cooked a delicious meal, took out the trash, or didn’t leave dishes in the sink, let them know that you appreciate them. Something as simple as, “I appreciate you,” can go a long way.

Don’t compare your relationship to others
It’s easy to feel like everyone else is in a picture perfect relationship (thanks a lot, Instagram) when in reality, it could be far from the truth. Remind yourself that your relationship is unique and special in its own way and don’t let social media get the best of you.

Put your phone away
There’s a new term going around called “phubbing,” which is equivalent to phone snubbing. Looking at your phone while your partner is talking is disrespectful and indicates that what they’re saying isn’t important. Come to an agreement that at dinner time, phones are put away.

Finish your argument
It’s easy to storm off during a heated discussion and come back to utter an apology. However, if there isn’t a resolution to the argument and it’s instead swept under the rug, you best believe it’s going to come up again in a future fight. With that said, be sure to put a real solid cap on the argument before hitting the sheets.

Share new experiences
Creating new memories and sharing new experiences can strengthen your bond. Try to learn at least two new things about the person a month to keep things interesting and remind yourself why you fell in love with each other in the first place.

Vulnerability is vital
Being open to showing your emotions or admitting when you’re scared, sad, or anxious is important — but even more so, you and your partner should receive that and make an effort to empathize with the way each other is feeling. No one should ever feel like they shouldn’t feel a particular way.

xx, The FabFitFun Team