Relationships aren't always easy, and as with any long-term partnership, a healthy marriage requires work. Hoping to build and enjoy a successful marriage? Whether you tied the knot two years or two decades ago, these simple, straightforward tips will help you become a better spouse.
- Listen up. The one thing happy couples do every day? Communicate. Be honest, open up about your needs and feelings, and most importantly, tune in and really take in what your partner has to say.
- Practice patience. Conflict is inevitable in every relationship, and the best way to navigate through those rocky waters is by keeping your cool. Make kindness a priority and express your frustrations with a sense of empathy.
- Acknowledge the little things. Sometimes love is shown in subtle ways, and your partner will definitely appreciate it when you recognize the smaller gestures. (Bonus: The more you acknowledge the little things, the more they'll probably want to do them.)
- Don't keep score. Marriage requires some give and take, and it isn't fair to tally up each other's missteps. Sometimes you'll do more and sometimes they will; sometimes you'll mess up and sometimes it'll be them. Accept that and avoid the comparisons.
- Lighten up. With any long-term relationship, you have to deal with plenty of tough times, serious situations, and boring, everyday obligations. Balance that out by planning dates, carving out time for the two of you, and soaking up the special moments. Remember to just enjoy each other.
- Show and tell. Everyone experiences and expresses love in different ways, so while it's important to say "I love you," it's just as important to let your actions say the same.
- Mind your manners. As simple as it sounds, just be nice. When you get really comfortable with someone, it's easy to let the everyday kindness slide, but the person you love most in the world deserves your best self. Be considerate and never underestimate the power of plain old pleases and thank yous.
- Do your own thing. Your spouse fell for you because of what makes you you, so don't lose that. Have your own life, your own friends, and your own hobbies. Independence is sexy, and making time for the things you care about will ultimately make you a better partner.
- Put in the work. Day in and day out, healthy relationships require real effort and attention. Relish in that! Building your marriage will involve some of the best, most rewarding and enjoyable work you'll do in your life. Be ambitious in your pursuit of a long, great love — and delight in it.