Is it normal to miss the beginning of a relationship?

It sure is.

We all miss the butterflies in our stomach -- the sheer excitement of having someone new in our life. Maybe your partner did little things that filled you with immense joy, like deliver flowers to your job or leave love notes in your wallet.

Once the relationship begins to mature, these things tend to happen less often. As you transition from happy couple to married couple to parents, it becomes less about passionate love and more about companionship.

Going from seeing each other once or twice a week to living with one another changes the dynamics of a relationship tremendously. Whereas before you waited for your weekly date with bated breath, now you've fallen into a routine of seeing your partner every day.

Sometimes I miss the early days in my relationship, when I looked forward to seeing my now-wife with great anticipation. Everything felt new and exciting. We were getting to know each other. Our future together seemed promising.

Now that we've been together for almost 12 years, we practically know each other like the back of our hand. We know each other's best qualities and flaws. We sometimes know what the other is thinking before they utter a single word. The element of surprise is largely absent now.

Does this mean I would want to go back to the time we hooked up?

Absolutely not.

Growing comfortable with one another is a good thing. We have also gone through a series of tough situations over the last couple of years that have only made us stronger as a couple.

We're both wiser and more financially stable than when we got together. We're better equipped to handle life's curveballs now than ever before. We confide in each other.

And let's not forget: The beginning of a relationship isn't without its challenges. You really don't know at that point whether you're both compatible and if your relationship will survive past the honeymoon stage. Not having any history to go by -- starting from a clean slate, if you will -- can be as scary as it is thrilling.

What we have now is great -- just a different kind of great than that of the early days.

Couples in mature relationships need to do things to rekindle the spark every once in a while. Take vacations to new destinations. Hit up new restaurants. Learn a new language or how to play an instrument by taking classes together.

As long as you find ways to invigorate the relationship every so often, you can still experience exciting moments reminiscent of the early days.

Try to surprise each other. Be spontaneous. And those little gestures I alluded to earlier -- flowers, notes, chocolate -- should not be limited to Valentine's Day.

Relationships take work. With a little time and effort, you can recreate the excitement you both experienced  -- or something to that effect -- when it all began.

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