We all must have heard the words “marriage takes work.” This holds true for every marriage, be it for newlywed couples or old couples. The honeymoon period for couples does not last long, and after its ends, the partners become fully acquainted with what a married life feels like.
It is not always rainbows and butterflies; it can also be a compromise that helps them to move ahead with a successful relationship.
So, how to have a healthy marriage? And, how to make marriages work?
Marriage.com talked to Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, following are mentioned the best relationship tips for a healthy marriage. With the help of these healthy marriage tips, couples will be able to keep their marriage ever-green and everlasting.
1. Have an open and honest communication
Every partner perceives a particular situation differently, which can cause hurt and lead to resentment.
Without proper communication, couples may be irked with one another without even knowing how, why, and when it all started. Open and honest communication in marriage can set logical expectations and greater sensitivity towards each other’s feelings.
Here’s what the experts have to say about “what’s the best relationship tip for a healthy marriage?”
Jennifer Van Allen (LMHC)
- Take time each day for the two of you alone. Ten minutes face to face; you discuss your day, feelings, goals, and thoughts.
- Learn how to resolve a conflict by recognizing each other strengths and making it a team approach. Avoid trying to prove your way is best, but listen to a different perspective.
Emy Tafelski (LMFT)
Here are the two important tips for a healthy marriage that Emy has to offer:
- Listen to understand your partner
Often in relationships, people listen to answer or defend, which is different from listening to understand. When you listen to understand, you listen with more than your ears.
- Listen with your heart. You listen with your empathy open. You listen with an attitude of curiosity and compassion.
From this place of listening to understand, you create deeper intimacy with your partner and yourself than you do when you are listening to combat an argument or to respond. This is where true connection and intimacy live.
- Speak from your heart
The more in touch you can be with your own emotional experience and the more clearly you can communicate that experience. Try to talk using “I” statements (I feel hurt; sad; alone; unimportant), to your partner; the deeper your intimacy can and will be.
Speaking from the heart speaks to a different part of the brain than “you” statements or accusations. Speaking from your own emotional pain gives your partner a chance to respond to your emotional pain rather than defend their own position.
2. Appreciate, and honor each other’s strengths and weaknesses
How to have a happy marriage?
One of the best happy marriage tips is appreciation!
Over the course of years, married couples are bound to get comfortable with each other to such an extent that they lose the true essence of love. In this case, how to make marriage better?
To keep the spirit of love alive, couples must engage in healthy communication with one another. They must acknowledge and express gratitude for all the little and big sacrifices the other half makes on an everyday basis.
Be it the small task of tucking in the children to bed on nights or them making you breakfast in bed; be sure to vocalize your thankful gesture.
Just a little appreciation will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy marriage.
Here’s some expert advice on appreciating your partner’s weak and strong sides:
Jamie Molnar (LMHC, RYT, QS)
- Create a shared vision together. So often we come into a relationship with a clear vision of what we want, but we don’t always communicate that effectively with our partner. This can lead to a lot of arguing.
Remember, we are two separate individuals joining into one, shared journey together, so we need to create a strong foundation from which to build. We need to get clear on exactly what we want and where we are headed together to identify the shared vision for a life that you are creating together.
- Identify and honor each other’s strengths/weaknesses
I believe marriage is successful when we can work as a unified team. We can’t expect our partner to be ALL of the things. And we should certainly never try to change our partner or expect them to become someone else. Instead, we need to name our strengths and weaknesses and look at where we can fill the gaps for each other.
I recommend writing this out together – naming how we each function best, our strengths and weaknesses, and then defining how we can support each other as we create our shared vision for life together.
3. Develop a genuine interest in your partner’s life
Know what is going on in your partner’s life. Sure, life is busy and gets even tougher if you are raising children, but make an effort, and it will not get unnoticed.
For example, what are your partner’s plans today? Are they going out for dinner with their parents? Does your partner have an important meeting today? Know all this and ask them how it went.
It will make your partner feel important and cared for.
4. Stop dreaming, set realistic expectations instead
Watching romantic comedies, reading fairy tales growing up, and happily ever after all your lives, girls get caught up in a make-believe world where they expect that their married life would be just like the fairy tales.
You must stop fantasizing and realize that happily ever after is just in the movies. The reality is much more different. You must keep realistic expectations from your spouse and not fantasize him to be Prince Charming.
Instead, focus on maintaining a positive perspective and nurturing a strong friendship.
Kate Campbell (LMFT)
As a relationship expert founder of Bayview Therapy, I’ve had the honor of working with thousands of couples. Over the years, I’ve noticed similar patterns in the couples who have a happy and healthy marriage.
Couples who report more marital satisfaction are those who have a strong and vibrant friendship; maintain a positive perspective, and continue to appreciate one another. Here are my tips for a healthy marriage:
- Prioritize your friendship
Strong friendships are the foundation for trust, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction in relationships. To deepen your friendship, spend quality time together, ask open-ended questions, share meaningful stories, and have fun creating new memories!
Each time you offer support, kindness, affection, or engage in a meaningful conversation, you’re building up a reserve. This emotional savings account represents trust and security, which helps you stay connected and weather the storm when conflict arises.
- Maintain a positive perspective
Your outlook directly influences how you perceive your partner and how you experience your marriage. When life gets hard or during times of stress, it’s easy to slip into the habit of minimizing or ignoring the positive things that happen (no matter how small or big they are).
This lack of acknowledgment can build frustration and resentment over time. Shift your focus toward the things your partner is doing versus what they aren’t. Let your spouse know at least one specific quality, attribute, or action you appreciate each day. A little appreciation can go a long way!
5. Develop a proper perspective
If you ask, what makes a good marriage or what makes a healthy marriage, here’s another answer – A proper perspective!
One of the crucial tips for a healthy marriage is to not hold onto any bias, and instead, develop a proper perspective. When you firmly hold on to the hurtful past experiences, you subconsciously develop prejudices against your partner.
Even if your partner has good intentions, there are high chances for you to inadvertently don’t their noble intentions. And, this is because you lack the proper perspective.
Here’s what the experts say about this:
Victoria DiStefano ( LMHC)
- Not everyone thinks the same: Try to see the situation from your partner’s perspective, based on who they are and their experiences.
- Remember, you’re a team: Avoid “You statements,” replacing them with “We” and “I” statements. Go, team!
6. Developing emotional intelligence is important
It is imperative for both the partners to have a good amount of emotional intelligence in order to build a strong marriage.
Happy couples around the globe make use of emotional intelligence while communicating with each other. This is how their positive interactions take precedence over their negative interactions.
Have a look at what the experts say.
Susan McMillan (LMHC, CAP)
- Step 1. Choose wisely.
- Step 2: Treat kindly.
(Without step one, it doesn’t matter what happens in step 2)
J. Robert Ross (Ph.D., LMFT)
- Pay attention to yourself.
- Identify how you help/promote/affect your partner be the way you don’t like him/her.
7. Keep your romantic connection strong
A little PDA (public display affection) hurts nobody. Holding of the hands, arms around the shoulders are little ways to show affection towards your spouse.
It shouldn’t matter if you are an old couple, the heart is still young. Plan a dinner date every month and enjoy a candlelit dinner with your loved one.
Stephen Snyder MD (CST-Certified Sex Therapist)
Here are my best relationship tips for a healthy marriage:
- When you disagree, as you often will, learn how to argue well.
—Don’t try to convince your partner how much happier they’d be if they just did things your way. That invalidates their feelings, which ordinarily just makes people dig in their heels.
—Don’t assume there’s something wrong with your partner, just because they disagree with you. Yes, your partner might be anxious, obsessive-compulsive, and stuck in their ways. But they also have a valid right to their opinions.
—Don’t assume that if only your partner loved you more, they’d give you what you want. In the best relationships, both partners learn to stand their ground. Even though they love each other; especially because they love each other.
Always search for ways you can each get enough of what you need and want. Make sure you each bring meaningful input to all major decisions. You never know exactly how a decision is going to turn out, so make sure it has both your names on it.
- Keep your erotic connection strong, even when you’re not having sex.
The average American couple these days has sex less than once a week. That’s not so surprising, given that the first thing most of us do in the morning is, turn immediately to our smartphones.
But sex once a week isn’t really enough to keep your erotic connection strong. It is important to cultivate the erotic connection the rest of the time, too.
—Don’t just kiss your partner goodnight. Instead, hold them close, feel their body against yours, inhale the scent of their hair, and savor the moment.
Go to sleep feeling mildly excited. The next time you have sex, you’ll be primed to enjoy it more.
–When you leave for work in the morning, don’t just kiss your partner goodbye.
Instead, simmer them goodbye: Hold them passionately, breathe together, give them a real wet kiss, then look deeply into their eyes and tell them you’ll miss them. The payoff is good lovemaking, later on, it can be substantial.
Dr. Katie Schubert (Certified Sex Therapist)
1) Learn how to fight fair with your partner. (Elaboration of this point in the image below)
2) Touch your partner regularly- hugs, kisses, massages, sex.
This was our expert round-up on some of the most vital tips for a happy and healthy marriage. All in all, the message is that a marriage doesn’t need to be devoid of the spark and excitement, irrespective of the years that have gone by!
So keep your marriage fresh and exciting with these tips, and enjoy enhanced marital bliss.