Getting married is fun — it’s what comes after the “I dos” that’s not always a cakewalk.
As today’s divorce rate shows, not every couple goes on to have a happy marriage. But that doesn’t have to be you!
The three most important things in a marriage are respect, kindness, and teamwork.
In order to have a strong marriage, the two of you must make time for just each other and remind yourselves of the love that you built your relationship upon. Even if your life gets busy, you have to prioritize making time for your spouse as that’s important for making your love last for ages.
The most common problems in marriage result from a lack of communication, fighting, lack of trust, and selfishness.
In order to keep your loving relationship, you can’t lose those things. The secret to a successful marriage is to always let each other how much you love them, to have each other’s backs, and always check in sometimes to see how your spouse is doing.
We asked 50 YourTango Experts to share their best marriage tips — and they did not disappoint!
Ranging from advice on how to have better communication to how married couples should spend some time apart, these may well be the 50 best marriage tips ever compiled.
(Seriously, this should be required reading for every happily — or unhappily — married husband and wife, and for all future married couples.)
1. Take responsibility for your part in the marriage.
“When you are in denial about your part in the relationship, then you are no better than a child flinging sand at another child in a sandbox. When you take responsibility for your part in the marriage, only then will you be able to connect with your partner in a mature, intimate way.” — Carin Goldstein, LMFT
2. Show affection for each other.
“Hold hands, rub shoulders, hug, kiss, give high-fives or even fist-bumps or bottom pats. When you give a quick hug or kiss, try to lengthen it to at least 5 or 10 seconds for more effective results!” — Lori Lowe, MA
3. Agree to disagree.
“No two people agree on everything, and that’s okay, but it’s important to be okay with each other’s differences.” — Lee Bowers, LP, PhD
4. Do something sweet once and a while.
“Take the time to write a thoughtful note every so often saying what you love and appreciate about him/her. Drop it in his/her briefcase or purse so he/she will find it unexpectedly and it will brighten up his/her day.” — Suzanne K. Oshima, dating coach
5. Take some time for yourself.
“Men don’t need to solve or fix everything; listening itself is an exceptional gift. For women, it’s important to understand that men need time for themselves. By giving him space to pull away and not taking it personally, you allow him to reconnect with his desire for you and his commitment to the relationship.” — MarsVenus Coaching
6. Don’t try changing your partner.
“When you try to change your spouse you come across as a nag and wind up sending the message that ‘who you are is not enough.’ Nobody likes getting that message, and it leads to distance and polarization. Let your spouse be who he or she is and focus on changing yourself.” — Dr. Rick Kirschner, relationship coach
7. Use alternative remedies.
“Throw at it every possible remedy you’ve got, no matter how alternative or weird it seems. Chances are one or more of them will actually work and your marriage will get stronger and stronger.” — Alisa Bowman, relationship coach
8. Always communicate your feelings.
“Communicate how you feel using ‘I’ statements. It’s not your partner’s job to read your mind, guess what you’re thinking, or put words into your mouth. These are huge obstacles to open, honest communication and will guarantee resentment, anger, and frustration in the relationship.” — Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT
9. Both you and your partner can make valid points in arguments.
“In order to strengthen your marriage, learn to recognize that most arguments have shared responsibility, that both people have valid points and valid reasons for their feelings.” — Kathy Morelli, LPC
10. Bring fairness to the relationship.
“You may have forgotten about fairness, but now’s the time to bring it back into your relationship. Are you both being fair when it comes to divvying up chores, communicating your needs, expressing dissatisfaction, dealing with finances, parenting, and supporting one another? If not, how can you improve and bring fairness back to the relationship?” — Lisa Steadman, dating and relationship coach
11. Make your relationship your top priority.
“When other things become more important, such as careers, children, and personal pursuits, trouble sets in. Make the relationship your top priority. When you do, the marriage flourishes.” — Cathy Meyer, CPC, MCC
12. Treat your partner with kindness.
“If your spouse treats you with kindness, gentleness, patience, and self-control, it’s easy for you to respond kindly. If you are treated badly, with anger, or impatience, it’s difficult to be nice in return. Focus on how you can be a blessing to your spouse and, in turn, you will be blessed and so will your marriage.” — Mack Har
13. Don’t share thoughts, share feelings.
“Instead start with the word ‘I’ and then share your feelings instead of your thoughts. This is not as easy as it sounds because we all disguise a lot of thoughts as feelings, as in ‘I feel like you are avoiding me.’ Genuine feelings are sad, angry, happy, lonely, and frustrated, and sharing your core feelings creates better communication, and more connection and compassion.” — Veronica Monet, ACS, CAM
14. Appreciate your partner.
“Shift your perspective to one of learning to appreciate your partner.” — Michelle Poll, CPC, MA
15. Let your partner know how you feel about them.
“Focus on what there is to appreciate about your mate, then honestly and spontaneously express your specific appreciation to them. It’s also good to do this for yourself.” — Judith Joyce, life coach
16. Make time for romance.
“Setting aside a romantic evening on a regular basis can rekindle the magic of a long-term relationship. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just special time for the two of you to remember how and why you first fell in love.” — John Sovec, LMFT
17. Don’t only talk about stressful things together.
“No talk about kids or schedules allowed.” — Mary Kay Aide, MS
18. Keep the marriage fresh.
“So many of my patients say the reason their marriage fell apart is that they became depressed and disinterested in their partner. If you keep working on you, your marriage will stay fresh and vital. Start today by adding a new wedding vow to your list: Promise to take care of yourself so you will continue to age with grace and confidence by your partner’s side.” — Mary Jo Rapini, LPC
19. Take your anger and turn it around.
“So take whatever you’re upset with him/her about and use it to help yourself look squarely at what you need to do in order to grow and evolve. The relationship will thrive!” — Ilene Dillon, LCSW, LMFT
20. Make a commitment to spend time just the two of you.
“With today’s hectic schedules, it’s easy to find your marriage at the bottom of the priority list. Take a walk and hold hands (nature calms), couple-cook (food fight!), exercise together (tennis or dancing maybe?) or just collect a ‘daily joke’ to share. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you make the commitment and effort to laugh together as often as possible, it can sweeten your connection and cement your relationship for life.” — Melodie Tucker, CPC
21. Don’t blame your spouse for small inconveniences.
“For instance, it’s your spouse’s job to walk the dog in the morning, but you discover dog poop on the kitchen floor, and cleaning it up makes you late for work. Instead of immediately placing blame, saying something like, ‘I’m puzzled about what happened with Spot this morning,’ is a gentle way to start a conversation.” — Jean Fitzpatrick, LP
22. Think about the good times.
“Spend a few minutes each day briefly reliving those moments in your mind. The results will amaze you.” — Lucia, dating coach
23. Practice these sayings.
“Try these: ‘I love you’, ‘I’m here for you’, “I understand’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Thank you’, ‘I really appreciate all that you do’, ‘It’s so nice to see you’, ‘That was quite an accomplishment!'” — Gina Spielman
24. Leave them love notes.
“Appreciate them from your heart about who they are at their essence. Leave gratitude in love notes, hide them so they will find them, or look deeply into their eyes and tell them. Be creative!” — Linda Marie, RN, BSN
25. Create time together.
“Couples need to understand the notion of spending ‘time’ together versus creating sacred time together. Spending time at social events, time with family and doing ‘chores’ together does not count as sacred time. Instead, carve out special time to not only be intimate, but also ensure that you continue to share new experiences together such as hiking, exploring someplace new, or arranging a stay-cation in your own city.” — Marni Battista, CPC
26. Compliment each other.
“A compliment is a sign of acknowledgment and appreciation. Make an effort to affirm your spouse’s value in life, and in love.” — Nicole Johnson, dating and relationship coach
27. Listen to each other.
“Sit down, listen to each other, and write out how you want your future as a couple to look. It’s much easier to create your best relationship together if both people’s needs are voiced, heard, and supported by their partner.” — Eve Agee, PhD
28. Support each other.
“Do everything you can to support your partner’s well-being, and respect your partner as you would your best friend.” — John Gerson, Ph.D
29. Make date night a priority.
“Date night is sacred and special and should be on the same day of the week every week. One week the wife should suggest the date idea and the husband should come up with the date night plan for the opposite week. This encourages both the husband and wife to be invested in date night.” — Julie Spira, dating and relationship coach
30. Try some tantric sex techniques.
“Learn and practice Tantra and tantric sex techniques.” — Judith Condon
31. Remind yourself that you couldn’t live without them.
“Impossible to imagine one without the other!” — Lori Edelson, LMSW, LMFT
32. Respect is everything.
“Respect each other, avoid verbal abuse, and keep insults to yourself. Bad words are just like squeezing toothpaste out of its tube — once it is out you can never get it back in again.” — Georgia Panayi, MBA
33. Remind each other and recreate fun memories together.
“Ask what her favorite movie is and why, ask him to recall a happy memory from childhood, ask her what she’d like to be remembered for, ask him to name the three worst songs of all time. Do it at dinner, before bed, or anytime — as long as you do it for 10 minutes every day. This simple change infuses relationships with new life.” — Dr. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D
34. Always keep your connection strong.
“Pursue connection!” — Lee Horton, Ph.D
35. Work on an activity together.
“Select an activity where the two of you can interact, talk, and just be together enjoying each other’s company (not a movie!). End your date in the bedroom. Works like a charm!” — Ann Robbins, CRC
36. Prioritize time in your busy schedules.
“Healthy marriages have a mix of individual, family, and couple time. The amount of each may be different for each couple, but the mix is necessary to keep a functional marriage.” — Michele Seligman LCSW, BCD
37. Spend sensual time together.
“Sit face-to-face and gaze into your lover’s eyes in order to allow the limbic system to relax. This will bring you closer and create the deepest sort of intimacy.” — Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT
38. Hold each other at the end of the day.
“By doing so you remind each other’s old/reptilian brains that you are a source of pleasure and comfort. It’s simple, it’s easy to do, and it will make a world of difference.” — Laura Marshall, LCSW
39. Let your partner know about your confusion or questions.
“Try saying something like, ‘Honey, I’m confused about your response to my plans for a weekend hunting trip with the guys. When would be a good time to talk further?’ Prefacing your remarks encourages a better, more accommodating reaction from your partner.” — Greg R. Thiel, MA
40. No complaining.
“Every time you open your mouth to complain about something — whether it’s the food, the service, the movie, the weather, whatever — some part of your partner feels they are failing because you aren’t having a great time. Men are happiest when they can please their woman (and vice versa)! Save the full critique for your friends and, in the meantime, let your partner see the best in you.” — Delaine Moore, dating and relationship coach
41. Lean into the relationship.
“When it gets hard in a relationship, our tendency is to protect ourselves, to retreat, to ‘lean out.’ Leaning out when your partner reaches out creates distance and dissonance. If instead you ‘lean in’ to the uncomfortable feelings, to the unknown and your own vulnerability, and meet your partner, you can actually strengthen your relationship through the struggles you face together.” — Christine Arylo, life coach
42. Love your partner just the way they are.
“Don’t try to change them.” — Ellen Hartson
43. Reflect your partner.
“When we ‘mirror’, this helps us not feel as defensive and allows us the opportunity to better understand what he is trying to communicate.” — Anne Crowley, Ph.D
44. Try to understand each other more.
“A strong marriage is one in which both people understand that the other person needs to have outside interests and activities which help them to feel happy and fulfilled. A strong marriage is one where both people understand that it is more important to be happy than it is to be right.” — Dr. Joe Amoia
45. Make more plans with your partner.
“Step 1: Write down 10 qualities you loved about your partner when you first met and read it to each other. Step 2: Brainstorm a list of 10 fun things you did together when you first met; do one date per week and enjoy bringing back that loving feeling!” — Tasha Dimling, dating coach, MBA
46. Don’t take things out on your partner.
“You can have a bad mood once and a while. But you’re not entitled to make your partner the whipping girl or boy.” — Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW
47. Trust each other.
“Trust your partner in everything, including purchases and financial decisions, and to bring up things with you that need a joint decision. If you can’t do that, the two of you have a problem.” — Donald Pelles, Ph.D., CHt
48. Don’t overreact.
“In the heat of the moment, what feels super-important will likely fade in importance as time goes by. Before you react by yelling, tossing insults, or unkind words, remember that ‘this, too, shall pass’. Don’t let one unfortunate incident, difficult argument or challenging moment destroy your lifetime of happiness.” — Melanie Gorman, MA
49. Give your partner full attention.
“When she receives this, she can easily get in touch with her feelings of love for her husband and becomes much more receptive to his needs. This is how intimacy can be fulfilling for both people — magical even!” — Linda Wiggins of RelationSync
50. Honor your spouse for such qualities as patience, helpfulness, courage, or kindness.
“Create regular opportunities for fun, laughter, and positive experiences. Figure out what communicates love to each other and do that. Be observant and thoughtful with little things and even do chores that the other dislikes. Consciously doing what opens and softens your spouse’s heart will benefit you both in the long-run and keep your marriage happier.” — Susanne Alexander
Alex Alexander is a frequent contributor to YourTango.