Many couples want to know what the keys to a happy marriage are because they want to spend the rest of their lives enjoying marital bliss with their soul mate. While there's no "secret recipe" to a successful marriage, there are plenty of good marriage habits that the happiest couples often do.
So whether you and your spouse just tied the knot or you've been together for what feels like a lifetime, here is a fundamental checklist you and your partner can use to build a strong marriage together.
- Communicate with each other
- Prioritize intimacy
- Say “Hello!” and “Goodbye!”
- Express gratitude towards each other
- Compliment your partner on a regular basis
- Listen to your partner
- Never go to bed angry
- Make time for fun activities
- Apologize when you mess up
- Don’t get caught up in the little things
- Help each other out, even when life is hectic
- Make sure your partner knows you love them
1. Communicate with each other
Your spouse is probably your best friend, and that's not a bad way to be. After all, you probably spend a lot of time together and know each other's secrets, both the good and the bad. However, maintaining that relationship requires a daily commitment from you both, especially in terms of communication.
Therefore, you and your partner need to make time to communicate with each other on a daily basis. You should obviously keep each other informed about any "big news" that happens, but you should also share little things with each other throughout the day, too. When a couple communicates openly and often, they are more likely to weather any storm because they can talk through it together.
2. Prioritize intimacy
Intimacy is a term that signifies closeness with another individual. This closeness is an important part of any romantic relationship because it helps you bond and connect on a deeper level. Therefore, intimacy is a key component of any marriage.
When most of us hear the word "intimacy," though, we think about physical touch and sexual intercourse. However, there are actually six types of intimacy, and all of them are important for married life. These types of intimacy are: physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, creative intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and experiential intimacy.
Try to prioritize them all as much as you can so you and your partner remain close.
3. Say “Hello!” and “Goodbye!”
How many times do you and your spouse leave each other's presence and return in a single day? If you're like most couples, chances are you do this several times during the day as you leave for work, return home, run errands, or juggle busy family schedules. Unfortunately, because this happens so frequently, many of us take these quick departures and moments of reuniting for granted and get into the bad habit of not saying "hello" or "goodbye" to our partner.
While saying "hello" and "goodbye" may not seem like such a big deal, it's a small gesture that lets your spouse know you see them, you care about them, and you appreciate their presence in your life. The best part? It's a healthy habit that requires very little effort on your part to do. Then, if you add a quick kiss or a hug, you may even get bonus points if you or your partner have "physical touch" as a top love language.
4. Express gratitude towards each other
Most of the time, couples experience relationship satisfaction when they feel appreciated by their spouse. Most of the time, appreciation doesn't even require some sort of grand gesture or lengthy post on social media — you just need to let your spouse know you're grateful for all that they do.
If at all possible, make it a daily habit to express gratitude towards them, even if it's for something small. Did your husband pick up a gallon of milk for you on the way home? Say, "Thank you for getting that milk for me!" Did your wife take the time to iron a shirt for you the morning of a big presentation at work? Make sure she knows how much that small task matters to you! Trust me, a little bit of gratitude goes a long way.
5. Compliment your partner on a regular basis
Nearly everyone loves to receive compliments, even if they rarely believe them. Small words of kindness and affirmation make us feel good about ourselves, especially on days when life feels overwhelming. Therefore, compliments are another healthy marriage habit you'll want to explore frequently.
These compliments can be about physical features, but they can also be about other aspects of your spouse's personality. Whether you tell them their hair looks nice or you love how smart they are, your partner will love hearing you compliment them on a regular basis, and it will help you feel like a happy couple who is in love.
6. Listen to your partner
One negative habit that a married couple typically develops as the years go on is a lack of listening to each other. This usually happens as couples become busy and try to multitask between work, household chores, and focusing on their spouse. However, active listening is a key component to a happy marriage, and it is something we should all aspire to do on a daily basis.
Active listening requires you to make a conscious effort to hear, process, and retain the information your spouse shares with you. This means you can't just pick up on the fact that they're talking and respond with "Uh-huh..." or something similar.
Active listening requires you to focus deeply and respond thoughtfully to what the other person says. It's one of the best positive habits you can put into practice in a relationship, especially with your husband or wife.
7. Never go to bed angry
No marriage is perfect. In fact, even the happiest couples argue and fight from time to time. However, it's what you do after the fight that makes the difference in your marriage.
If you want to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse and keep your bedroom a sacred place, then try to never go to bed angry. This may require you to "hash it out" before bed or agree to "put a pin" in the conversation and continue it the next day. Either way, you will sleep better and wake up without a negative feeling if you both agree to never go to bed angry.
8. Make time for fun activities
As adults, we often get sucked into all the not-so-fun parts of life, like working, paying bills, and cleaning things. However, quality time is important for any happy relationship, and you need to make time as a couple for fun activities you both enjoy.
Obviously, different people like different things, so what looks like a fun activity for some may not be for you. However, you can try to plan a date night filled with all of your favorite things to do as a couple, whether that's bowling or line dancing (or something entirely different).
9. Apologize when you mess up
Maintaining a happy marriage is hard work. Even though you and your spouse are trying your best, you'll probably both mess up sometimes. While these blunders are unavoidable, you can always smooth them over by owning your mistakes. In fact, a genuine apology can go a long way in a successful marriage.
Just make sure you clearly state what you did wrong and recognize why this was a problem. Half-ass apologies don't fly with anyone, especially not your spouse. Also, make sure you give your partner the space to apologize when they mess up too. After all, marriage is a two-way street, isn't it?
10. Don’t get caught up in the little things
While there are lots of positive things that happen in our lives on a daily basis, there are also negative moments as well. Unfortunately, we often let the little negative things take over our minds, and we push the positive things away.
While it's hard to do, try to not get caught up in the little things and tiny annoyances that happen throughout the day. Marriage is for a lifetime, and there's no room for petty grudges or constant nagging about tiny events that won't matter in five years. As they say, "don't sweat the small stuff" and your marriage will be just fine.
11. Help each other out, even when life is hectic
Life gets hectic sometimes, and that's okay. However, as a married couple, you've made a commitment to each other to be there no matter what — which includes helping each other out sometimes. Whether it's helping with household chores or listening to a practice presentation, helping each other out is a healthy marriage habit you definitely want to do on a regular basis.
You may not always like what you need to do to help your spouse, and they may feel the same way about your requests. However, the key to a happy marriage is being there for each other and helping the other person out even when it's difficult or unpleasant.
12. Make sure your partner knows you love them
This one may be last on the list, but it is without a doubt the most important one. If you want to maintain a happy relationship with your spouse, make sure they know you love them every single day.
You can do this in several different ways, but the easiest way to do that is by recognizing your partner's love language and showing them love in those ways. You can also give them little surprises and simply say, "I love you," to them on a daily basis.
While there's no specific recipe for a happy marriage, there are several healthy marriage habits you can apply to your relationship to make sure your marriage lasts.