Every newlywed couple wants to have a successful, life-long relationship. That’s why we’re looking at the 12 best do’s and don’ts for a healthy marriage.
If you look online or ask a long-married friend for successful marriage tips they will all tell you the same thing: marriage takes work.
There is truth to that saying, but that doesn’t mean marriage is a daunting task best suited to relationship professionals. On the contrary, going through life together with your best friend and lover is an exciting, rewarding experience – if you know the proper do’s and don’ts!a
Having a happy marriage takes effort and cooperation from both partners, but that doesn’t mean it should be all work and no play! Whether you’re newly affianced or have been together for decades, here are the top 12 do’s and don’ts for a healthy marriage.
1. DO: Communicate
If you want to have a healthy marriage, you and your partner need to communicate on a regular basis. Talk about your days, your feelings, and any issues you might be having. Happy couples may feel uncomfortable bringing up certain subjects, but they aren’t afraid to make it happen.
Some days you may feel like you and your partner share the same mind, but that still doesn’t make you mind-readers. Communicating openly about your thoughts and feelings helps prevent misunderstandings and encourages you and your partner get to know each other on a deeper level.
There are many reasons to practice honest communication with your spouse, such as:
- Communicating with your partner will help build your trust in each other
- Decreases stress and frustration
- Prevents resentment from festering
- It saves both of you time and energy you would have used trying to guess what was wrong
- It allows you to concentrate on other things
- Builds love for one another
- It helps problem-solve
2. DON’T: Be Selfish
To be in a marriage means to be in a team and there is no “I” in team. Couples who want a healthy, lifelong marriage cannot look out for their own interests. As partners, you need to put each other and the best interest of your marriage first.
3. DO: Look for Ways to Express Gratitude
Couples are happier when they feel they are appreciated by their partners.
Look for ways to express gratitude to your partner every day. For example, thank them for turning on the coffee maker in the morning, for doing the dishes, or for filling the car with gas.
You can also make a list of all of the wonderful qualities you appreciate in your partner and send them a simple text expressing your gratitude for one of them.
4. DON’T: Withhold Sex
Withholding sex is definitely cruel and unusual punishment.
If partners are upset with one another, it’s only natural to find the idea of getting intimate together unappealing. But, using sex as a weapon or dangling it in front of your partner to win an argument is dangerous and unkind.
It is unkind because it tells your partner that sex is a bargaining chip, not an act of love or desire. It is dangerous because it both take the intimate connection out of sex while denying your partner the emotional and physical satisfaction of being with you. This, of course, can lead some to stray.
Physical intimacy should not be a reward to your partner. It should be something that is shared between married couples to enhance their connection and have some fun together.
5. DO: Fight as a Team
If you want to have a healthy marriage, you can’t view your arguments in terms of “winning.” Instead, look for ways to tackle issues together as a team.
Focus on the problem at hand instead of fighting with each other. Calmly reason out your feelings on the matter, give each other a patient, listening ear and then look for ways to fix the issue.
6. DON’T: Stop Dating Each Other
Just because you are married doesn’t mean the need for dating (each other!) has disappeared. Couples still need healthy date nights to maintain their connection. This becomes more important and impactful as couples get older and children enter the marriage.
Spending quality, alone-time together each week is essential for keeping your marriage strong.
7. DO: Compromise
One of the key successful marriage tips is to compromise. For example, Tom and Jane have both been working all week and have made much-needed plans for a marriage date night out on the town. Jane is excited to spend time with Tom, but Tom comes home especially exhausted.
Even though he is tired, Tom asks Jane if she is willing to compromise on a low-key date night at home instead of going out. Even though she was looking forward to a fancy dinner out, she is also happy to make things easier for her husband by staying home, so long as they still get to spend quality time together.
Compromising means that you and your partner will look for ways to meet in the middle when you are having a disagreement, even if it is not always convenient for one of you to do so.
8. DON’T: Cheat
Being unfaithful to your spouse is one of the quickest ways to head down the road to divorce. Often it is the act of betrayal and deception that ends the marriage, as opposed to the physical act itself.
Having an emotional or physical affair with someone else tells your spouse that they are no longer important to you. It says their company, either mentally or sexually, is not enough to fulfill you.
Cheating also promotes a spirit of dishonesty. Once trust has been broken, it is nearly impossible to regain.
9. DO: Be Intimate Regularly
Couples certainly benefit from being intimate on a regular basis.
There are many health benefits to having sex regularly, such as improved heart health, reduced stress, and potentially even a longer lifespan. But one of the best reasons to be intimate on a weekly basis is to boost your connection to your spouse.
Studies suggest that oxytocin and vasopressin released during physical intimacy (whether that is having sex, hugging, or caressing one another) actually plays a role in pair-bonding.
Oxytocin boosts the feelings of unity and even increases trust between partners.
10. DON’T: Go to Bed Angry
Age-old advice suggests that couples should never go to bed angry. This advice is even in the Bible where it says: “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
There is good reason this advice has been around for centuries. It is scientifically proven to cause mental distress and reinforce bad memories.
The next time you are tempted to hit the hay in the middle of an argument ask yourself: “Will this fight still matter in the morning?” If the answer is no, your best bet is to wrap things up before going to sleep.
11. DO: Laugh Together
According to research, one of the biggest characteristics singles look for in a potential partner is a good sense of humor. This fact stresses how important it is for couples to laugh together.
Laughter is a great way for couples to de-stress. A 2008 study found that subjects who were anticipating laughter had a drop in three stress hormones. The percentile rating for the drop in stress hormones ranked in with dopac dropping by 38%, cortisol by 39%, and epinephrine by a whopping 70%.
12. DON’T: Keep Count
One of the best successful marriage tips is to avoid keeping count/score. A relationship can’t be about winning and losing, otherwise nobody is happy. Well, maybe the winner. Still, this is unhealthy behavior that always leaves one person feeling bad about themselves.
- Don’t use past arguments or indiscretions to prove a point
- Avoid bringing up past situations when you were in the right
- Don’t keep account of things your spouse has done to annoy you
- Don’t remind your partner of all the things you’ve done for them
- Avoid using times you have forgiven your partner in the past as a bargaining tool.
As a happily married couple, you don’t throw old arguments in your spouse’s face and expect to have a healthy relationship going forward.
Relationships are both exciting and challenging. For a healthy, balanced marriage, remember to communicate regularly, have fun together, deepen emotional intimacy, and never go to bed angry. Following these successful marriage tips will help you have a happy relationship for years to come.
This is a guest post by Rachael Pace.
She’s a relationship expert who has been helping couple by offering solutions for successful and healthy relationships. She’s also a featured writer at marriage.com, which is working towards becoming the best resource for healthy and happy marriages. You can follow Rachael here.