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Hooray! You’re in that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of love. But as any expert will tell you, it takes more than love alone to sustain a happy relationship through life’s many ups and downs. We polled the healthiest, most loving couples in our network for the daily practices that built their happily-ever-afters.

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Say to Your Partner Every Single Day 

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They Start Their Mornings Together

Fact: How you start your morning affects your entire day. So you better believe it’ll influence your outlook on your relationship, too. Rather than going through the motions like a pair of under-caffeinated robots, wake up early enough to connect and get centered for a few minutes—whether that’s bringing each other coffee in bed, reading the paper at the kitchen table or prepping the kids' lunches while listening to NPR. Make it a habit before the day gets too hectic.

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They Check In Several Times a Day

Communication is the name of the game, people. Small gestures (think: a midday text to see how their day is going, or a call on your evening commute to regroup on dinner plans) reinforce the idea of partnership and remind you that you’re in this thing together. Plus, you’ll keep the lines of communication wide open—even if there’s nothing totally imperative to say at the moment.

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They Prioritize Physical Contact

Every single couple we spoke with vouched for the importance of physical contact in private (like holding hands while lounging on the couch) and in public (like cross-table eye contact on date night). Why? Physical contact (and eye contact!) are imperative to staying close to your partner emotionally—and many even chose the word “restorative” to describe its effect on their dynamic. And while sex every day might not always be practical, some kind of embrace or kiss each day should be a manageable goal.

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They Keep Their Weekends Open

Downtime is the best time—and it’ll give you the chance to get back to what made you fall in love in the first place. Go for a drive and listen to music like you did when you were teenagers. Have a dance party in the living room together after the kids have gone to bed. Or simply enjoy some quiet time doing your own things in the same space. Whatever joint R&R you choose, it means you’ll need to RSVP “no” to that brunch/group trip/work obligation you don’t wanna go to anyway. Opt out of weekend plans and reap the benefits.

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They Have a Bedtime Routine

No matter how busy your schedules get, you’ll always have that sweet window before sleep to wind down, wash your face, set your alarm and snuggle up in bed. One couple we spoke with has a nightly traditional of climbing into bed with a glass of Zinfandel and a magazine of their choosing. Another favored cuddling up and sharing their high and low points from the day. Whatever the nightly decompression routine, each couple did it together—and enjoyed sweet dreams as a result. 

RELATED: I Made These 3 Small Changes to My Relationship—and It Made Us So Much Happier 

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