10 Free and Cheap Ways to Keep the Love Alive

SPARKS CAN FLY

With Valentine's Day drawing near, new couples may be brimming with anticipation and excitement, but many long-standing couples feign indifference to the holiday of romance. Being comfortable with each other is no excuse for being boring, however. Romantic getaways, fancy dinners, and extravagant gifts aren't the only ways to show affection. These 10 cheap or free ideas can help keep the love alive.

SHARE A LAUGH

Partners who spend more time laughing together are more satisfied in their relationships, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And using humor to diffuse conflict is a positive step toward resolution. Arguments aside, whether it's a silly joke just between you two or a comedy on Netflix to watch together, laughter leads to closeness.

GO IN FOR A KISS

If you've been kissing the same person for years, it may be getting a little monotonous (or not, if you're lucky). Regardless, shun the low-effort, lazy lip graze and go in for a real smooch each time you kiss. Why wait for Valentine's Day to start?

SPLIT UP THE CHORES

A common complaint among couples: One partner always seems to be the person who does more of the work around the house. A simple way to fire up the relationship is to share the duties more equitably. This can help reaffirm your commitment to each other and to responsibilities you share, whether child rearing, a home project, pet duty, or taking out the trash.

SWEAT IT OUT

Working out can boost a woman's libido, according to a study out of the University of Texas at Austin. Any type of exercise can do the trick, be it running, weights, a competitive game of basketball, or a couple's workout.

TAKE A STROLL

If working out together isn't in the cards, holding hands with your loved one on a walk in the country is a free way to bond and reconnect. Trail Link suggests walks by ZIP code. Serious hikers can try an exhilarating trek in the United States or overseas.
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MEET UP AT HAPPY HOUR

Spotting each other across a crowded room (a bar or restaurant, say) after work inserts a bit of mystery into the ordinary. Feeling really cheap? Skip the happy hour specials and head home for a cocktail.

TAKE A QUICK GETAWAY

Sometimes getting away is the only way to recharge the romance. Stick with the budget and plan a 24-hour trip. One night in an inexpensive bed and breakfast may be just what it takes to set the sparks flying.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST

Taking care of your own health can help you be a better partner. Eating well, sleeping enough, exercising, and making time for your own interests and hobbies keeps you stay balanced and able to love another fully. Find healthy living ideas by following a social media star who shares your sensibilities.

SHOW YOU CARE

Making your partner a cup of coffee, clearing the dishes, or even putting a sweet note in his or her lunch bag is a touch of thoughtfulness that goes a long way toward keeping the love alive. Focus on the little things you know your partner would appreciate.

HIDE THE TECHNOLOGY

For just one hour in the evening, turn off the phones, hide the laptops, and shut down the TV. It's amazing how disconnecting can help you reconnect. Psychology Today recommends making the dinner table a phone-free zone.