When you were dating, you probably made an effort to let your partner know how special and important he was, but once you got married, that effort may have diminished over time. Although all marriages take dedication and hard work, happily married couples tend to engage in certain behaviors that unhappy couples do not.
Tend to Your Relationship
Psychotherapist Randi Fredricks, Ph.D., says you must tend to your relationship on a regular basis; neglect typically leads to relationships going downhill. Address problems and concerns immediately instead of allowing them to build up.
Fredricks also suggests giving your partner more of what she wants, even if that does not come naturally to you. For example, if your spouse typically plans your date nights, but you know she enjoys it when you take the initiative, plan your date night occasionally.
Develop Common Interests
After the initial honeymoon phase of marriage, it's common for couples to realize they don't share many interests. Do activities you enjoy together. If you and your spouse don't have many common interests, work on finding more. Enroll in a cooking class, go for a hike, watch foreign films or try out ethnic restaurants together. "Woman's Day" also suggests you and your spouse continue to develop your own interests as well. Doing so will make you more interesting to each other.
Focus on the Positive
Licensed mental health counselor Bryan Truelove says that although all people have annoying habits, happily married people focus on the positive aspects of those habits. For example, you may be annoyed that your husband reads the kids two stories at bedtime instead of one, keeping them up past their bedtime. Instead of being annoyed, try appreciating how much your husband enjoys spending time with the children.
Accept that Some Problems Don't Have Solutions
Issues that you and your spouse disagree on will inevitably arise. If the issue is important, compromise on it or strive to change it, suggests Maud Purcell, LCSW. If the issue isn't significant, you might want to agree to disagree about it and let it go.
Many couples talk to each other, but often they get interrupted by phone calls, the kids, television programs and other daily distractions. It's important to set aside some time to talk with your spouse everyday, even if it's only for 10 minutes, says Truelove. After the kids go to bed, turn off the television and your phones and sit down with your spouse to talk. Face your partner, making eye contact and giving her your full attention.
Truelove asserts that the subject matter of your conversations doesn't matter as much as making time for each other. Talk about your day or an upcoming event, show your partner gratitude for something she did that day or make plans for your next date night.
Check in During the Day
Happy couples check in with one another during the day. Call your spouse in the middle of the day to see how he's doing. Checking in will help you and your partner adjust your expectations and be more in sync when you connect later, according to "Woman's Day." For example, if you check in with your spouse and discover he's having a difficult time with his boss at work, you will understand why he might not be in a great mood when you see him later.
Neil Rogers, MS, suggests that you show your spouse gratitude every day. Thank him for cleaning up the dishes after dinner. Write him a note letting him know how great he is. Focus on the positive things your partner does, and let him know that you appreciate them.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images