Top 10 Pieces of Advice for a Long and Healthy Marriage

1.Commitment is Crucial:
• Have a long-term view: It’s like investing in the stock market, you can’t pull your money out as soon as it dips.
• Your partner is a package deal: You have to take the good with the not so good.
• Be willing to put time and effort into sustaining and enhancing your relationship.
• Recognize that marriage is a journey that ebbs and flows; passion will wan, but reignite over time.
• The success of your marriage is not measured by how you celebrate the good times, but by how you support each other through the challenges.

2.Share Quality Time:
• Never stop being friends.
• Talk about more than just family logistics like soccer games and grocery shopping.
• Make time to connect with quality conversations – even if the time has to be scheduled. That doesn’t mean a romantic date necessarily, but just setting aside some time.
• Always take time to laugh and play together inside and outside the home.
• Continue to date.
• Build a comfortable, fulfilling couple sexual style and deal with sexual problems and conflicts early on.

3.Keep a sense of humor:
• Be willing to laugh at yourself
• Humorous responses (to be used gently and often) and the ability to develop and select light-hearted interpretations of life’s inevitable awkwardnesses are of great value in aborting downward emotional spirals (interpretations where blaming the other person can cause great harm).

4.Master Healthy Communication:
• Speak to each other lovingly and respectfully; Do not criticize, belittle, ridicule, stonewall or reject your partner.
• Have patience.
• Be gentle.
• Be willing to listen.
• Be willing to talk.
• Be willing to validate what your partner is expressing, even if you do not agree with it.

5.Do “little” things that make a big difference:
• Affirm your partner and relationship daily by saying things like, “I love you,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry.”
• Do things for your partner without being asked.

6.Choose your battles…
• Be quick to forgive and slow to anger.
• The worst possible advice you can give a newlywed couples is to express your feelings about everything. Far better advice is to choose your battles, so when you make a request of your spouse, and your spouse doesn¹t comply, step back for a moment and ask how important is this? Is this one of those issues I go to war over, or do I focus instead on what my spouse does for me, and let this one slide by? Be creative about differences and find a compromise. If you talk to people in long-term, happy marriages, they’ll tell you acceptance is one of the key components to making it last.

7.Do your part:
• ” Successful marriage is not so much a matter of finding the right person, but being the right person.” ~Scott Stanley, Ph.D., a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver.
• Be the best person you can be in your relationship-physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
• If you want a happy marriage, invest time and energy in it like you did when you were dating and take an annual checkup.
• Look independently at your issues: It is often easier to point to your partner’s issues than it is to examine your own.

8.Foster Trust and Security
• Learn to trust and be trustworthy.
• Avoid temptation.
• Build boundaries, like a fortress, around your marriage to protect it (for example, strong boundaries with the opposite sex, in-laws, use of alcohol, etc.)

9.”Work with your partner or spouse to create a shared vision for your relationship.” ~Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and author of the bestselling book Getting the Love You Want
• Agree on what you want your relationship to look and feel like.
• Develop goals for your relationship.
• Decide on what types of things you need to be doing to move toward making your vision a reality.

10.Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
• Marriage Education is helpful and preventive.
• Therapy is not admitting defeat; it can help.

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