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One of the challenges of even the strongest long-term relationship is the difficulty in keeping things fresh and new. We are creatures of habit, developing routines that work for us without having to think about it. It allows us to move through fast-paced lives without having to make every little decision on a daily basis. We don't want to stop and think about which sock to put on first, which way to drive to work, what kind of gas to put in our car, or fold our clothes.

Habits make life so much more simple that it frees up our energies to confront the big decisions and problems we have to face. This can both be helpful and harmful at the same time. We tend to fall into the rut of wearing our hair a certain way, making little to no appearance changes, the choice of foods we eat, and the lifestyle we pursue.

The same issues can happen with relationships where people also tend to fall into habits. They range from unwavering go-to-bed-at-night and get-up-in-the-morning routines to the day of the week we go out, the restaurants we frequent, and the way we communicate (or fail to communicate) with each other. We are so used to being around our partner that, despite the affection we may feel, we stop seeing each other with the wonder and appreciation we felt in those first months.

Shaking up our lives by dumping old habits can make us feel younger and alive. Changing our appearance, even a few times a month, makes us look at each other through new eyes and makes us focus on each other in a different way.

Be creative! If you usually dine out in business attire, get some cowboy gear and go to a western saloon for some line dancing. If your usual night out is at a bowling alley, dress to the nines and have a drink at the most expensive hotel in your area, rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers. Try a latino nightclub, hot dogs on the pier, or drinks with fruit and little umbrellas at a sushi bar. Dress in your skuzziest clothes and visit a luxury car showroom to laugh at the consternation you cause. Use that tux you rented for your niece's wedding when you visit the local pizza parlor and see the buzz you create.

Don't be afraid to grow closer by experiencing more adventures together

Are you ready to take the right steps to overcome your relationship challenges?