7 Ways to Improve Your Marriage

Tips from real couples for a happy and lasting relationship

How can I have a successful marriage that goes the distance? This is one of the most asked questions among couples. And while every relationship is different, these are seven of the best tips we at Marriage.com have heard from real couples who’ve gone the distance.

1. Love Is Key

Happy couples make a point to say “I love you” to each other regularly and recommend others do, too. Marriage is just two people who love each other and are going through life together, and it’s important to keep that top of mind.  And saying you love each other isn’t enough. You need to express it, too, with body language, touching and gestures of affection. Actions such as making a favorite meal for your spouse after a bad day or leaving a note with their lunch creates emotional intimacy.

2. Split Duties Equally

For a long-lasting relationship and a well-run household, running of the house needs to be done equally. Don’t divide tasks based on traditional gender roles. The best approach is: If you see something needs to be done, just do it. She can mow the lawn and he can wash and fold the laundry. Happy couples says thinking of themselves as a team makes all the difference.

3. Take Alone Time Together

Early in their marriage, George and Trina decided to take trips without their children to maintain their bond. “We decided to start taking vacations without the kids because we knew almost immediately that it was important for us to stay connected,” they say. But it’s never too late to make spending time together a priority.

Cherish your relationship's quirks and odd accommodations.

4. Ditch the Comparisons

Do not compare your relationship to others. You only see what’s on the surface and usually it’s their best face. Every relationship is unique. You may look and think your friend’s relationship has more romance, or a friend on Facebook looks like they have more fun with their husband or wife, but don’t buy into it. “You’re even entitled to cherish your relationship’s quirks and odd accommodations,” says one happy husband we know.

5. Play, Laugh and Have Fun Together

Laughing and having a good time releases endorphins — the feel-good hormone. Doing so with your spouse releases oxytocin. That’s a one-two punch of powerful chemicals that are scientifically proven to help people create a strong bond.

6. Eliminate “I Told You So”

The quickest way to improve your marriage is to not be that person. Don’t be a haughty know-it-all. Your spouse is aware that you warned them about the outcome of an action; you don’t have to rub it in. Instead, switch gears and be supportive to help them bounce back from their mistake.

7. Pay attention

Tuning out your spouse is not a great idea. In fact, it’s really disrespectful. If he or she is speaking to you, turn down the TV, put down the cell phone and turn to look at them. Body language is crucial in making your spouse feel like what he or she is saying is getting through to you. Then actually acknowledge the communication was received with the proper response.

By Malini Bhatia
Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, which provides resources, information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

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