By Samantha Simon
Updated Mar 30, 2018 @ 9:00 am
Julianne Hough Brooks Laich
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

If anyone gives us #couplegoals, it’s Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich. The Dancing with the Stars alum and her hockey pro husband—who tied the knot in a lakeside ceremony in Idaho last July—always seem to be on the same page, whether they’re cozying up on a red carpet, sharing snaps from glamorous getaways, or out for a casual stroll with their dogs in Los Angeles. So it’s no surprise that they've got a philosophy behind keeping that fire alive.

“I hope we're in the honeymoon stage forever,” Hough tells InStyle. “Really, you can create whatever phase you want, and I think we both realize that the life that we want to live is the honeymoon phase. We want to constantly push ourselves so that we continue to grow, be attracted to each other, be spontaneous with each other, and find the little joys. When you first start dating, nobody's poop stinks, you know? It's a whole mindset, so just do what you did at the beginning if you don't want it to end.”

Yes, Hough is aware that she's gushing—it's part of the newlyweds forever plan. And Laich is right there with her. “At the start of our relationship, Jules was like, ‘I want the best effin’ relationship ever,’” he says. “I wanted the same thing; she just verbalized it. So that's what we do—we try and put a lot of energy in our relationship, not because it's work, but because we want to explore each other and create something better. I believe in putting energy, time, and dedication toward having the best relationship ever and not settling for anything less than that.”

Keep reading for Hough and Laich's field guide to love.

How would you each sum up married life in one word?
Brooks Laich:
Julianne Hough: Oh my gosh … one word. I was gonna say fucking awesome [laughs]. It's amazing.

What's your go-to date night?
We spend so much of our days working outside of the house and traveling, so something that's really nice for us is just making dinner together. It’s not even really about catching up from the week but more so having an interesting conversation at the table and then watching a documentary or something. Oh my gosh, we’re so old!
BL: Yeah, whether we go out for supper or we make it at home, there are special nights that we declare to be date night. We're not talking about work, we're not talking about mundane stuff that went on during the day. We're present, phones are off, and we just discuss life and philosophy, what we want to accomplish, what we love about each other, and just try to dive deeper than surface conversations. We’ll have some music playing in the background and, it sounds so cheesy, but holding hands, sitting in close proximity to each other, and looking each other in the eye really brings about such a connection. Those nights are really important. Quite often I'll say, “My Jules tank is low,” or she'll say her “Brooks tank is low.” It just means we haven't had that connection in the last couple days, so then we carve out a special evening for that.

What's the best part of marriage?
Oh, here's one: I flew home two days ago from New York. I landed in L.A. and had a message from Jules. “Are you home? Text me when you land. I have something waiting.” I was like, “I landed—what do you have waiting?” And she sent me a picture of breakfast that she had prepared. She wanted to time it so that I could walk in the door and sit down for breakfast. I was like, oh my god, I love being married to you.
JH: I knew that would make him happy, but I really just wanted to do it because I missed him so much. It's the weirdest thing. You're so independent your whole life before you get married. We had a long-distance relationship and it was like, “I don't need to see you. I'm great. I need my space. I love it.” But since we've been married, he’ll be gone for a day and I'm like, “I miss you! Come home!”

What's something that you've only learned about each other since getting married?
: What's kind of cool is that we're evolving together. In the past, when you've gone through growth stages in life, we’ve been on your own. Now, we get to do it together. There have been a lot of things that we've probably each learned about ourselves that we didn't know before. Brooks will tell you, when we first got together, his world was all sports and not super artistic. But since he's been around me and my brother and our friends here in L.A., he's had a whole new expression of artistry. For me, I’ve become much more grounded. I feel like I've kind of lived up in the clouds. I have a little bit more structure in my life now, which is really amazing.
BL: Now that we're married, we're a team everywhere. It's not just her life there and my life here; it's that I represent her everywhere I go and she represents me everywhere she goes. Even though, really, we end up going to everything together.

You're clearly both in love with love, which is also in the name of your charity, Love United. Through the organization, you're teaming up with Propel Water to bring clean drinking water to underserved nations. How did that start?
We were both very fortunate to have good parents that had giving mindsets and led in that arena. I saw daily the way my parents influenced and impacted the community. Everything was about what you can do for others, not what others can do for you. Julianne and I are very thankful for that and we want to do mission-led things in our lives, as well. We want to leave a legacy of love, which is why we started the foundation Love United. This year we're building water wells in Africa and a portion of the proceeds from our Co: Labs event with Propel on May 5th go directly to impacting water-impoverished communities in Africa.

That Co: Labs event will be a fitness festival. Do you two often work out together?
BL: Our workouts are very different, but we do active things together, like biking, hiking, that kind of stuff.
JH: Day-to-day, we definitely have our own regimen. He’s lifting heavy weights, climbing ropes, and doing the manliest manly things he can think of, whereas I'm, like, flipping my hair and doing some dance exercise. When we do things together, it's much more focused on outdoor activity.

This summer marks your first wedding anniversary. Do you have anything exciting planned?
I appreciate you putting me on the spot! We actually have something in mind that we would like to celebrate our anniversary with each year. But we're not gonna give it away yet.

Looking back to the wedding, Julianne, was there anything you got bridezilla about?
Oh man ... I'm looking around at Brooks right now. What was I a bridezilla about? Anything?
BL: The only thing I think you were a bridezilla about—if I was to use that term—was cutting back the trees at the lake house [where we got married]. That was really the only moment where I was like, this is a little irrational.
JH: Oh, yeah. That was the only thing, and it was literally only a couple of days before the wedding. And that only happened because Mr. Man over here forgot to do the spring clean of the trees [laughs].

What has surprised you most about married life?
One thing that really surprised me the day we got married was how it just switches. Before we got married, other people had said nothing changes after you get married, and I completely disagree with that.
JH: Me too!
BL: The day we got married, it was a whole new level of commitment and depth and love. It was the same thing when you switch from being boyfriend girlfriend to engaged, you get a deeper sense of love. It's just such a radical moment.