A happy marriage doesn’t just magically happen after the wedding. (Although there will be a stretch of bliss after the wedding known as the honeymoon period.)
Building a lasting and satisfying marriage takes patience, hard work, and a desire to live up to your nuptials by both partners.
You see love is only one aspect of a happy marriage.
As powerful as love is there will be moments in your marriage where love alone just isn’t enough.
That’s where the real work comes in.
Here are some tips to help you navigate those moments and keep your marital bond going strong.
Let’s start with this activity that when done together can strengthen your relationship.
1. Exercise together.
What better way to bond than getting in shape together?
It’s true, going to the gym, participating in a sport, or other physical activity together will not only do wonders for your health, but it will also do wonders for your marriage.
Lab studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner. Exercise is a perfect example of the type of invigorating activity that can have these positive effects. It’s the physiological arousal, rather than the novelty or challenge of the activity, that drives romantic attraction. This suggests that sharing a fitness goal (such as training for a 5K or triathlon), taking regular runs together, ballroom dancing, or having a date night at the gym can boost the quality of your romantic relationship.
Exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal—sweaty hands, a racing pulse, shortness of breath. These symptoms mirror, in many ways, the thrill of romantic attraction. Interestingly, people can easily mistake the two and misattribute physical arousal for romantic attraction. Use this phenomenon to your advantage by inviting your romantic interest to workout with you. The results? A likely boost to your attractiveness in his or her eyes.
Looking at the findings from these two studies it’s clear that exercising together is one of the keys to a happy marriage.
2. Show appreciation and don’t overlook the power of good manners.
Even if you have been with your husband or wife for years, you should still make them feel respected and like you don’t take him or her for granted.
Whenever it’s appropriate to say “thank you,” “Please” and any other common courtesies you would give another person.
Having good manners and showing verbal appreciation goes a long way in marriage.
3. Laugh together.
A marriage without a sense of humor is a marriage that won’t be much fun. Learn to laugh at the small stuff and never take life too seriously. Go as far as finding humor in predicaments that would have otherwise made you angry.
You will both feel better.
The GIF above is of Barack and Michelle Obama sharing a laugh. I bet you didn’t know that Michelle Obama actually attributes laughter as the key to the longevity of her marriage:
“I think a lot of laughing,” the first lady said at a White House luncheon with reporters who asked about the Obamas’ union. “I think in our house we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity, I think, in a marriage.
“So we still find ways to have fun together, and a lot of it is private and personal. But we keep each other smiling and that’s good.”
4. Fight right.
Fights are a part of every relationship and marriage, there is no couple who doesn’t fight, but the secret in fighting is fighting right.
Keep your arguments productive, not destructive. Avoid name calling, yelling, and accusations, this is very hurtful and can damage your marriage.
When things really get tough, and you feel like you are about to lose control of yourself, take a break to relax yourselves. Furthermore, you should never initiate a discussion when you are angry.
As the late great Maya Angelou put it: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The damage words can do to a relationship is almost incomparable. There’s no way you can’t take back what you’ve said in a fit of anger after you’ve said it so make sure you’re careful with your words.
5. Ensure that you have variety in your marriage.
A dull marriage can lead to dissatisfaction for both parties. So try something new every now and then to inject variety in your marriage.
Eat at an unfamiliar restaurant, go on a vacation, try salsa dancing together. Whatever it is just make sure you step out of your comfort zone.
Your adventures and spontaneity will help keep you close to one another.
6. Learn the art of communication.
This is one of the most important keys to a happy marriage. Don’t avoid discussions on important subjects such as money, raising your kids, fidelity or anything else that is consequential to your marriage.
Not sure what questions to ask or what conversations to have?
Check out our article “Compatibility Test: 255 Simple but Significant Questions for Couples.”
It’s an absolute must-read for couples no matter what stage of their relationship they’re in!
7. Spend time with friends.
Just because you are married does not mean your social life has to end. It’s still okay to hang out with your friends and will actually improve your marriage.
Doing things without your husband will give you both time to miss and appreciate each other. Which will reinvigorate the love you share.
8. Tackle problems as a unit.
When you are in a marriage, you are in a union. Do not look at problems as an individual, address your problems as the unit that you are.
This is one of the most important keys to a happy marriage because when neglected it can lead to resentment, frequent arguments, and one partner or the other feeling as if their thoughts and opinions aren’t valued.
Those three things can absolutely wreak havoc on your relationship.
9. Learn to compromise.
No one likes to be demanded to do things. And we all want to get our way at least some of the time. That’s what makes the skill of learning to compromise such a power key to a happy marriage.
If you can’t compromise it’s unlikely you’ll maintain a healthy marriage.
10. Keep things in perspective.
Keep your eyes on what you want to build. A happy and loving marriage then continue to work together towards that goal.
A lot of times couples lose track of that fact. That being happy together is what they really set out to do when they got married.
Don’t be one of them. Keep things in perspective.
11. Seek counseling if there is a need for it.
If you feel like you need help in making your marriage work, don’t be afraid to seek counseling.
I know, it might be shunned by some.
However, millions of couples have had their marriages improved and even saved in many cases by seeking outside help.
12. Share chores.
Modern times call for modern actions. No longer is it only the woman’s responsibility to keep the household running, especially since it’s no longer just the man’s responsibility to be the breadwinner.
The amount of married women that are in the workforce is at an all time high. However, studies show that women still do most of the work at home even when they’re married and have full-time jobs.
This often leads to relationship dissatisfaction on the wife’s part.
Plain and simple, husbands need to step up and help out around the house when needed if they don’t want their wives to feel overburdened and unappreciated.
13. Create a ritual with your spouse.
This will help keep the flame you have for one another burning. The ritual can be kissing your spouse before going to bed, or having a date night once a week so you can spend time with each other.
14. Be impulsive… In a good way…
Sometimes you just have to go with the spur of the moment urge to seek adventures and spontaneous fun.
Routine and predictability lead to boredom. Boredom is the enemy of long-term relationship success.
Don’t be afraid to have fun, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous.
Don’t be afraid to live in the moment.
So there you have it, the 14 keys to a happy marriage.
Yes, it’s easier said than done. But it’s not as difficult as some people may think.
At the end of the day, doing these things will be well worth it.