photo by powerbooktrance

A relationship needs glue to make the long haul. Bickering over household chores or being resentful over the little things can make us forget why we got into it in the first place. Apart from the unforgivable, many people simply need time to reconnect. Shared love is an investment. And much like your budget, you've got to track this, too. I hear a lot about couples who have date nights. While that works great for some people, it's not an ideal option for everyone. I've been married only 10 years, but I'd like to share ways I've discovered to reconnect with my husband. They don't cost a fortune, and you should make them a priority.

RITUALS: Daily rituals such as making the coffee or a simple hug each morning show you care. Other rituals include phone calls, going for walks, bringing home pleasant surprises, doing the dishes or reading the newspaper together. I call them rituals, but they're also kind gestures. These are the little things that connect couples but aren't as intense as deep conversations. Maybe for you it's holding hands or flirting.

HUMOR: Especially when you're having a rough day, keeping a sense of humor helps you connect. I use character quotes from movies and impersonate people we know. You can write a short note or send an e-mail. I send my husband articles and cartoons that might interest him. Show you're interested in his or her day.

GRATITUDE: A simple thank you or compliment shows you care. Offer to cook dinner or give a massage. Show your appreciation and use words. No one wants to feel taken for granted.

RECOGNIZE: Seize opportunities to connect. Important conversations don't happen every day. You have to seek the moments that foster them. It's all in the timing. You could be in the car together and notice something beautiful. Shared beauty can open the heart to unexpected communication. These are the moments to share hopes and dreams or talk about memories. They're reminders that you're still in it together.

ACTIVITIES: While taking a class together or enjoying a sport or hobby can be fun, playing cards or even cleaning can bring you together, too. It might seem like a good idea to do activities that only one partner enjoys, but, in the long run, that doesn't add to the relationship. It is nice sometimes, but not all the time. You don't have to be 100 percent compatible to be happy together. You can feel you don't have much in common, but you should understand each other deeply.

SPONTANEITY: There's comfort in familiarity, but sometimes it's nice to mix things up. This doesn't have to be complicated, like going skydiving or bleaching your hair. It can involve sharing new experiences together, such as taking a new route home, wine tasting, listening to new music or trying new foods. Relationships are like seasons. They cycle and change. Roll with it.

BELIEVE: Have faith that your partner has the best of intentions. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Learn to forgive and encourage. Your responses to even the mundane moments count. Know in your heart that it's not too late to give more to your relationship. Good relationships often take work, negotiation, sacrifice and compromise. Love isn't simply an emotion: It's a consistent action. If you've neglected the important person in your life, reach out. Reconnect.