Five Ways to Strengthen a Strong Marriage

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Although all marriages have their ups and downs, a strong marriage is built on a foundation of love, friendship and trust. Marriage also takes hard work and dedication. You may already have a strong and happy marriage. But whether you've been married six months, five years or three decades, you can always make your marriage stronger.

Do Small Things for Each Other

Commit to doing little things for your spouse on a regular basis. For example, if your husband enjoys watching basketball but rarely has the opportunity to watch a game without interruption, take the kids out one afternoon so he can watch a game uninterrupted. Buy your wife a bouquet of her favorite flowers for no special reason. Make your spouse her favorite meal. Doing little things for your partner is an expression of your love and appreciation.

Spend Positive Time Together

Spending time together is a way to make your marriage stronger. Spend a little time each night talking to each other about your day. Go on a date night each week. Make spending time with your partner a priority.

The quality of the time you spend together matters. According to Jeffrey Rossman, PhD., research shows that happily married couples have five times more positive interactions than negative ones. Find ways to make your time together positive - whether you're watching television, going out to dinner or riding bikes.

Work Through Conflicts Effectively

Conflicts inevitably arise in marriage. Not only will good communication strategies help you solve problems effectively, they will also help strengthen your marriage.

To solve conflicts successfully, listen to your partner's feelings and point of view without interrupting. Freely express your feelings, point of view and needs in an assertive way, using "I" statements. Compromise with your partner to find an acceptable solution to the problem whenever possible. Instead of concentrating on who will "win," focus on solving the conflict.

Focus on Your Spouse's Good Qualities

According to Jeffrey Rossman, concentrating on your partner's positive qualities is a key component of a successful marriage. For instance, if your partner is an amazing cook, tell him how delicious his dinners are often. If you wife is patient with the kids, let her know how great she is with the kids when she's helping them with their homework. Complimenting your spouse on positive qualities will not only make your spouse feel good, it will remind you why you fell in love with each other.

Manage Expectations

Don't expect your spouse to share all your interests. Although it's great to have some common interests, you will each enjoy doing things the other doesn't like. For instance, you might like hiking while your husband finds it unpleasant. Instead of dragging your husband to the hills, allow him to indulge in one of his own hobbies one afternoon while you go with a friend.