The U.S. divorce rate -- 3.6 divorces per 1,000 people --
is at its lowest point since 1970. Although marriage rates
are down also, clearly married couples are increasingly taking
the attitude that they're in it for the long haul, and are
taking the steps necessary to keep their relationship strong.
Doing nice things for each other on a regular basis
will keep your marriage positive.
That is not to say that there aren't problems. Most married
couples do argue (often about money,
sex, work, children and housework), and although a recent
study in the Journal of Family Communication found that couples
who express their anger live longer than those who suppress
it, too much arguing can damage a relationship beyond repair.
Happy couples, the ones that endure and remain heartily committed
through good times and bad, often make a commitment to staying
that way, and you can too, with the help of these 10 marriage
Show affection regularly. Whether it's a kiss
on the cheek, a touch on the arm in passing, or a hearty
"thank you," happy couples are not shy about
Keep arguments respectful. When you argue, stick
to the issue at hand and avoid making personal attacks.
Arguments that are kept fair can be constructive, but
if you veer off into the land of mean comments and personal
attacks, you'll likely never reach a compromise, much
less a solution.
Communicate. Along with arguing respectfully,
it's important to communicate respectfully. By sharing
your thoughts, concerns and ideas regularly, you create
an open environment of trust and intimacy.
Be nice to your spouse. Studies show that for
every negative thing that happens, it takes five positive
things to balance it out. Happy couples go out of their
way to do nice things for their partner on a regular basis,
which will keep the overall marriage positive, rather
than negative. Little
things do make a big difference.
your battles. There are likely numerous
little things that you COULD argue about in a day (heat
settings, TV volume, snoring, etc., etc.), but some issues
are simply not solvable, nor are they worth getting upset
over. Save the arguments for the big stuff, and simply
learn to live with the rest of it. You'll both be happier
in the long run.
Remember to take the time to go out on "dates"
like you did when you first met.
Do fun things together. When a couple first meets,
they instinctively prioritize their relationship and do
all types of new, exciting activities together. Years
later, after kids and other obligations enter the mix,
it's up to you to make time to do things together. Keeping
time just for the two of you, to do something you both
enjoy, will keep things feeling fresh.
Laugh together. Everything does not have to be
about paying bills and picking the kids up at soccer practice.
Make an effort to find some humor -- especially if things
are tense -- to keep things positive.
Show your respect. Strong marriages are built
on mutual respect. This means sticking up for your partner,
supporting them, and never badmouthing them to your kids
Do things YOUR way. Here "your" refers
to you and your spouse. It's important that together you
establish your own traditions, daily rituals and methods
for raising your children, taking care of finances, etc.
If there is a meddling in-law, sibling or friend who is
allowed to interfere, it will undermine the idea of YOUR
Be empathetic. Make an effort to understand your
spouse, hear their concerns, and share their excitement.
Studies have found that people
who have empathetic personalities are more likely
to report being satisfied in their long-term relationships.
These people are also better able to show compassion and
to see things from their partner's perspective -- both
keys to a satisfying marriage.
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Center for Health Statistics
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