If you’ve been in a relationship long enough, you know that butterflies and fireworks only last so long. True love is more than just good chemistry— it’s effort and commitment from all parties. But if you aren’t used to the long, slow burn of lasting relationships, sometimes it can feel like you’re dragging your feet. And in today’s stressful economy, it’s a little too easy to lash out at those we love. So let’s look at some intentional things you and your partner(s) can do to ease each other’s burdens, grow your relationship, and get through the hardships of life together.

Work on Your Mental Health

The strongest foundation for a relationship is emotional well-being— though physical health is close behind. Emotional well-being helps you handle stressful environments and communicate clearly when something is bothering you. Mental health is something that you and your partner(s) can pursue both alone and together— we recommend both, honestly. Working together on emotional well-being can be a great bonding exercise and help you grow together.

Working on mental health can take many forms. You may want to pick up meditation and quiet time. Perhaps you’ll invest in a few wellness apps on your phone. You could even seek out individual therapy or couples counseling in California. Therapy isn’t just for people struggling with mental illness or working out conflicts— it’s an amazing tool to process stress, trauma, and even daily life. And couples therapy can help you maintain your relationship and clarify communication strategies. Perhaps your partner (s) is the one who wants therapy, but they need support— you can go together.

Pamper Each Other— and Yourself

Who doesn’t love a homecooked meal and warm back massage after a stressful day at work? Find things that you and your partner can use to relax together or have an intimate evening. Candlelit dinners, romantic movies (or other genres), and even games can make for a nice, inexpensive date night. Perhaps you should try out some new essential oils to infuse your room with a relaxing or seductive aroma. Put on your partner(s)’ favorite playlist while you eat, or cook their favorite dish or dessert.

The effort doesn’t all have to be on you, either. Consider a spa day together or a gym date. Splurge on that everything-included movie theater for date night, or try one of the Bay Area’s best restaurants. Just be sure to stay within your means and avoid anything that someone may be allergic to— nothing ruins date night faster than a trip to the ER!

Go On Adventures

Did you know that a lot of couples thrive on routine? Scheduling date nights can make it easier to commit to them, but you have to be firm with your calendar. By scheduling in advance, you can also work on saving extra funds or purchase the best seats in the house— and California has a lot to go see!

From gorgeous natural hiking trails to hitting the waves, the Bay area is full of fun and exciting activities that are even better with the one(s) you love. Did you know that Napa Valley offers hot air balloon rides? Take in exquisite views from high in the air, and then come down to enjoy a relaxing glass of wine. Want those airline views but feel uncomfortable with hot air balloons? Save up for a helicopter tour! You could go camping in Yosemite or take in the luscious San Francisco Botanical Gardens. There’s almost always a game you can catch, though you should buy tickets way in advance if you want to go to the stadium.

Want to try something more creative? Why not find an art class, like pottery or painting, to try out together? Paint and sip lets you enjoy delicious beverages while following a painting lesson, and they’re quite popular these days. Or you could go dancing. Want a class that’s more about flavor? Try a cooking class together, and learn to make new dishes together. Some couples have even started ordering make-it-yourself boxes like Hello Fresh to work in the kitchen together and try new things. If anyone is a foodie, why not try out the North Beach Food Crawl? Or go for a stroll in the ferry building farmer’s market.

Hand in Hand Throughout Time

We hope that these suggestions are just what you and your partner(s) are looking for. The Bay Area is full of hidden gems for romance once you know where to look. There really is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for sports, entertainment, or learning together, you name it! Just be sure that one person doesn’t pick every activity– branch out and try what your partner(s) chooses. This is the person(s) you’ve chosen to spend your life with— make the most of it!