We don't want to accept this harsh reality but most of us are in marriages which have a lot of room for improvement.
But there are several steps you can take to strengthen your marriage.
Today I'm sharing an infographic that talks about 8 scientific ways to improve your marriage plus 50 bonus tips below the infographic.
Praise your spouse every day and show appreciation
5 : 1
Couples who have 5 positive interactions with each other for each negative one are significantly happier
0.8 : 1
Couples who ultimately divorced had an average of 0.8 positive interactions for every negative one
Simple acts of kindness are often appreciated the most
Give your spouse a massage
Say "Thank-you" for something you otherwise took for granted
Give your spouse the last cupcake
Take care of the kids so that your partner can have some Me-Time
Ask and really listen
Giving your spouse a massage, really listening to what's going on in their mind or simply saying 'Thank you' all do a lot more than buying a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers
Play Together, Stay Together
Shared laughter is one of the most effective ways for keeping relationships fresh and exciting
One of the top 3 stated reasons for the success of couples who had been married for at least 45 years was their sense of humor. Even reminiscing about laughing together boosted relationship's satisfactions in couples
Try new things with your spouse
New experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love, a time of exhilaration and obsessive thoughts about a new partner
Dating is not just for singles. Go on dates, often!
Go on dates at least once a week
Couples who go on dates at least once a week are 3.5 times more likely to report being happy in their marriage while couples who spend lesser quality time each week are 2.5 times more likely to get divorced than those who do
Learn to fight a good fight
- trying to win
- attacking weak points
- making excuses instead of taking responsibility
- getting defensive
- showing contempt through words and body language
- walking away
- stay respectful
- feel free to be angry
- at each other
- be understanding
Against prevailling wisdom, Dr. John Gottman found in one study that the patterns that made some couples complain they were dissatified, led to improvements in the relationship as time went on
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
- Gautama Buddha
One night of sleep can improve your decision-making abilities and reduce your negative emotions which makes resolving conflicts much easier
Make Time For Intimacy
An increase of sexual activity from once a month to once a week increases happiness by the same amount as getting paid an extra $50,000 per year
The happiest couples have sex
2-3 times a week
Talking openly about sex and finding common grounds in regards to frequency appears to be very important for overall sexual and relationship satisfaction."- Dr. Smith
Touch, kiss, hug, cuddle often
Full-body hugging increases closeness, connection and safety
A 20-second kiss will raise his testosterone levels and make you feel closer
Studies show that a daily back rub drastically reduces anxiety and creates positive changes in attitude
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Okay, so you’ve scanned through the pretty little pictures and notes, but here’s the real deal on all of them:
1. Praise your spouse EVERY DAY and SHOW APPRECIATION
If you have 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction with your spouse, the happiness factor increases considerably, according to Dr. John Gottman!
Show your spouse how much they mean to you!
This one is rather simple: we ALL crave appreciation and praise.
I’m not saying you have to worship the ground they walk on, because to be frank, we ALL have flaws.
What I’m suggesting here is a simple appreciation for the little things they do, and honoring them for all they mean to you and bring into the relationship.
Your husband taking out the trash can for you while you do the dishes…THAT’S his way of doing something small to make your life easier, the least you can do is show him that you really appreciate it.
Exclusive tip for women: check out one of my highly recommended resources "What Men Secretly Want" for getting on a deep emotional level with your husband. No BS, only really valuable insights.
2. Little acts of kindness have a huge impact
The 4 side-effects of kindness: it makes you happier, boosts heart health, slows down aging and it’s also contagious.
Go ahead and give your spouse the last piece of cheese!
What? Why cheese?
You know, my husband and I, we just love cheese.
Especially one that has little chili flakes in it. (My mouth is watering, I think I'll get one right now)
The other day, we were having breakfast and there was a good piece left which we divided evenly in two.
I was really hungry and 5 minutes later my piece was gone.
I really love that cheese!
But I saw that my husband still had one bite left on his plate (he's that kind of person who saves the best for last) and he noticed that I kept staring at it.
What do you think he did?
He stood up, grabbed his last bite of cheese and gave it to me without saying a word, and started to do the dishes.
I was stunned and really couldn't believe what just happened.
This might not be a big deal for you but it really is for me, as you can tell.
After all, I still remember it.
A little bit of kindness really goes A LONG way!
3. Play together to stay together
A great sense of humor is one of the top 3 stated reasons for a successful relationship by couples who had been married at least 45 years.
Even reminiscing about laughing together improves relationship satisfaction in couples considerably.
If laughing boosts your personal well-being, just think of what it can do for your relationship!
Having fun with your partner helps bring you closer together, and keeps you closer in the long run.
Here’s the science behind it:
The activities associated with falling in love release oxytocin, the hormone that relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, deepening the feeling of connection and trust.
The reason you fell in love with your partner in the first place was because he or she provided you with the most joy, not necessarily the best options for bill-paying and child-raising!
Get back in touch with the fun things you used to do back when you started dating to re-activate the fun factor in your relationship.
Even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day, stop being the rule-maker and start creating a safe space where your partner can come out and play with you!
4. Try new things with your spouse
Trying something new with your spouse floods the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine, which are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love.
This isn’t just about raunchy positions in bed, although I’m not ruling that one out altogether.
When I talk about “new things”, I’m referring to things that can help make the connection between the two of you even greater!
Always wanted to go skydiving?
Grab your spouse by the hand and have them join in on the adventure with you.
This builds great memories and massively impacts the intimate connection between the two of you.
Variety is a key element in keeping the love flame burning high, and one partner’s silence about something new they would like to do can easily drive a wedge in the relationship.
5. Get back into the dating game...with your spouse!
Couples who keep on dating each other are 3.5 times more likely to be and stay happy compared to couples who don’t play the dating game anymore.
Dating is NOT just for singles!
Getting away from everyday life, even if it’s just once a month does three major things for your relationship:
It fuels the romance fire
It helps you reconnect and grow closer to one another
It puts you back on track with your number one priority – your relationship!
By dating your spouse, you’re reminding them that they are the number one priority in your life, and in the process, strengthening your relationship.
6. Fight it out!
One of the major obstacles in relationship is the fact that people tend to suppress their anger, which leads to resentment.
But (good) fights actually help couples to grow together on a much deeper level.
I’m talking about learning the skills to be able to fight a good fight, one that doesn’t destruct, but rather reinforce the relationship.
What you really want to avoid is the concept of holding onto your anger, because essentially, it builds up to act like poison to the entire relationship.
Whenever you get into a word-tumble with your spouse, always remember to stay respectful towards your partner.
Listening to your partner is equally as important as voicing your own frustrations, compromise and be understanding of their point of view.
7. Make time for intimacy
Over 50% of couples asked in this study, are not satisfied with the frequency of having sex.
However, just by increasing your sexual activity from once a month to once a week, boosts happiness by the same amount as getting paid an extra 50,000 $ a year
In between raising the kids, housekeeping, the bills, work…LIFE for that matter, you still have to ensure that you set aside special time just for sex.
Your sex life is a major role player in the overall joy factor of your relationship.
Sure, we’d all love to have spontaneous sex on the kitchen table where nothing was planned, but reality kicks us in the face here, which is why you have to accept the idea that sometimes you’ll just have to schedule it.
It sounds much less romantic, but scheduling sex can have a great element of anticipation and excitement added to it, knowing that it’s on the schedule!
If you’re really opportunistic, even a boring dinner at home can lead to some kitchen counter adventures!
8. Touch each other…A LOT
Full body connection increases connection, closeness and a feeling of safety!
Did you know?
There’s actually an ideal number of hugs and kisses we should receive daily in order to be happy and healthy!
The formula for the amount you need was devised by psychotherapist Virginia Satir.
She found this:
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth."
Why all the touching?
Well, hugging and touching releases oxytocin, the great stress fighting hormone.
More oxytocin leads to less stress, which obviously leads to happier people and happier couples overall.
Your affectionate behavior can also say a lot more than your verbal words ever can!
Touching helps bridging the gap between real life and what happens in the bedroom, and keeps the intimacy level high, even when you’re not making love.
Affection can make you feel emotionally connected to each other, which is why you need to touch, hug and kiss your partner as often as possible.
These are really simple, yet effective exercises for improving your marriage.
Just do one step at a time and you will see a positive change in your relationship.
50 Bonus Tips
1. Value her needs:
It is important to value and understand your differences. A woman wants to be heard, listen to her and be her best friend.
Additional reading: Best marriage tips
2. Money matters:
Discuss how you plan on savings, credit card dealings and paying your bills before you both get married. It is very important to be on the same page when it comes to money.
Additional reading: 7 tips for a happy marriage
3. Spend your money on your spouse:
Take notes of little things in life, and try to remember all that your spouse says. So all the I wish I could have this can add more value to your love life, buy the things they want for no occasion, just like that.
Additional reading: Tips to keeping the love alive!
4. Play your part, be the first one to start a conversation and express love.
Marriages and Families can be happy, given that you are willing to play your part. Most of the couples who expressed affection more frequently are happier in their marriages than those who shy away from it.
Additional reading: Sex in relationships
5. Pull pranks at each other:
Studies show that if you both pull pranks at each other, scaring one another the adrenaline rush produced will do good for your relationship. It will be a bonding experience and it may be scary but will make some great memories.
Additional reading: Nurture love in your wed lock
6. Soften your tone:
Though there may be many things that your partner is to blame for, but if you soften your tone and can state it right without blaming them and only looking for a solution. With a softer tone, you may be heading towards a healthier, more productive relationship.
Additional reading: How much more love will it take
7. You must relive the beginning of your relationship.
Go through the photo album, share a laugh, talk of the good old times and remember that flowers and chocolates are where it all started. Try remembering what connected you in the first place, to be able to make it through rough times.
Additional reading: 15 love spells
8. Forgive and Understand:
If your partner usually irritates you, think of them as a small child, this way you will be more understanding and forgiving and much more can be achieved out of your relationship.
Additional reading: Making your marriage divorce proof
9. Do not keep a score:
Do whatever it takes to keep your partner happy, but don’t keep a score of who did what, this may lead you into looking down at your partner for not doing enough. Not keeping a score will ensure that love lives on, forever more.
Additional reading: 8 simple ways to make your marriage last
10. Resolve your fights:
Don’t sleep on a fight and never forget to talk it all out through, sweeping your differences under a rug and hoping that they will magically fix themselves is not the answer.
Additional reading: How to make your marriage happier
11. Do the little things:
Doing little things or not doing the little things that annoy your spouse can be the key to a happier, long lasting marriage as the two of you grow closer and learn to love each other more for these very little things.
Additional reading: Top 10 advices for a healthy marriage
12. Say NO to negativity:
If there are things that annoy you about your spouse, know that there must be annoying things about you too. Embrace the differences and learn to love and grow together.
Additional reading: 5 secrets to make your marriage last
13. Deep talks:
Have deep talks and you will be close forever. Remember to keep your friends and family close but your spouse, closer!
Additional reading: 25 secrets to make your marriage last
14. Invite family over for get-together:
The more interactive you are with your friends and family the healthier the marriage tends to be.
Additional reading: Most effective ways to make your marriage last
Your chemistry with your spouse is almost as important as love, remember that you two must be in sync and have an extra ordinary ability to understand and put up with each other.
Additional reading: Successful Marriage Compatibilities
16. Love in everyday!
You do not need to have lavish experiences to make memories; you can make them as you proceed with your day-to-day lives.
Additional reading: Real life Romance
17. So how committed are you?
Both partners must be committed and in love with each other to make relationships work better and last longer. Commitment will also ensure that you are with each other through all troubles, without commitment you may seek an easy way-out.
Additional reading: Simple ways on how to make your marriage last with sincerity
18. Marriages can be improved with proven scientific tips. Are you willing to put that effort in your relationship?
Your marriage will come across an almost immediate improvement as you improve your sex life and bring that excitement.
Additional reading: 10 ways to improve your sex life
19. Change yourself do not try to change your partner.
The day you begin to see the fault in you, and willing to change instead of expecting your partner to, you will experience a great and delightful change in your marriage.
Additional reading: Simple ways to make your marriage work Save The Marriage System
20. Be funny around your partner, humor goes a long way!
While being funny and witty is attractive, being lame or goofy is equally disappointing for your partner, draw a line and make the best of humor.
Additional reading: 10 tips to enhance your marriage
21. Visit the grandparents together:
Plan 30 days of the month together, doing little and important things that matter, such as visiting immediate family will nurture love and the spirit of growing old together!
Additional reading: 30 simple things that you can do to make your marriage last
22. Hug and kiss everyday!
Do not forget to hug and kiss every day for it will spark your love, and keep your marriage as good as new.
Additional reading: Simple ways to make your marriage healthier
Apologize immediately when you are wrong and make up for it, and if your partner is wrong you should still end the argument and very politely point out their mistake and apologize anyway. This will prove your love to them and a little sorry hurts no one.
Additional reading: 10 ways to improve your marriage
24. A good relationship doesn’t mean you have to work for it:
You will always have to work towards the growth and betterment of any bond. Little things to show your love and remember all words and no actions to back them up can push your marriage to the verge of falling apart, live up to what you say.
Additional reading: Myths that kill relationships
25. Do not have a very expensive wedding:
Keep it minimal and don’t spend too much on that wedding, save the money for you will need it later. Most fights after marriage are on the money spent at wrong places.
Additional reading: Scientific ways with which to make your marriage last
26. Cherish the good and forget the bad:
Get rid of the negativity, remember all the good things and forget the bad. Every day and everything comes with a little good and a little bad, cherish the good days.
Additional reading: 8 simple ways to make your marriage last
27. Raising children and keeping a happy marriage:
When you discuss child related and financial issues, things are bound to run dry, ensure that these are not the only topics in your life. Remember to cherish each other, having some alone time, flirt and recall your best memories over a warm, home cooked meal, at the least once a week.
Additional reading: How to make your Marriage Work (After Having Kids)
28. Make you marriage a priority:
Make special family rituals and abide by them, cherish them. Five simple rituals such as greeting, sleeping, messaging, departing and talking rituals will bring great positivity into your married life.Additional reading: 5 ways to bring positivity in your married life
29. Become an intense listener:
There is nothing more rewarding in a relationship than having someone to talk to, you should always listen very closely to your spouse and remember all the little details that matter to them. This will help you understand your spouse better and spark new levels of understanding and intimacies in your relationship.
Additional reading: 7 tips to happier relationships
30. Ask yourself: Is it good for your relationship?
If your relationship and its well-being are always on your mind, you are likely to always to things that will make your spouse happier and relationship stronger.
Additional reading: 8 tips to avoid marriage counseling
31. Show faith in your spouse:
A simple I believe in you, or you can do it honey can make the world to your spouse. Remember we all go through pressures in our lives and what we need the most is love and support to make it through.
Additional reading: 8 Powerful Phrases to Improve Your Marriage
Men and women are two different people, whereas men tend to be emotionally more stable than women, we know they are going to respond quite differently to various situations. Women may cry much more easily, and take longer to be able to resolve things. As a husband you must show compassion and an understanding for her nature and bring her the comfort that she needs in her time of difficulty.
Additional reading: 7 of the Greatest Needs of a Wife
33. Reminder: Sex within your marriage is a good thing!
Making love comes, as an important part of your happy marriage and it is also beneficial for your health, do not let the busyness of your life push you apart, keep the love and keep each other close.
Additional reading: Make time to make love
34. Make you marriage your priority:
Though work is important but your marriage is more important, make time from your busy schedule to relive your life’s best memories and make new ones. This will keep the spark in your marriage!
Additional reading: Making Marriage a Priority
35. Letting go of everything but your marriage
Relationships may sometimes be neglected and you may break into fights with your loved ones, but let go of everything, talk it over. Let of everything except your marriage, make goals of growing old together and loving each other more and more.
Additional reading: Letting go of everything but your marriage
36. Unrealistic expectations:
Learn to remember that your spouse is only human, they are no saints and well neither are you. You both have flaws and shortcomings and must bear with each other, compromise is the words… for a happy marriage do not expect unrealistically, be real, be practical.
Read more on Unrealistic expectations
37. Review and renew your marriage vows:
You must go through your marriage vows and take them seriously, add more to them, learn to live for your spouse’s happiness and you will experience immense joy as they begin to do all the little things that you always wanted them to.Additional reading: Reviewing and renewing your marriage vows, 8 ways to revive and renew a struggling marriage
38. The commandment of Love:
The first and most important is Love, think of your spouse, as a kid and you will be able to forgive them with greater ease and love and admire them for whatever they may do.
Additional reading: 5 Reasons to Place Your Marriage as Top Priority
39. Double check on our marriage:
Now prevention is better than cure, if you talk about everything that bothers you or your spouse, you have a happier, healthier married life.
Additional reading: Double checking on our marriage
40. Learn to say NO:
Say no to things that you are not okay with, if you explain it properly your spouse is bound to understand too.
Additional reading: 4 Easy Steps To Making Marriage A Priority
41. Support Each Other’s Interests:
You must support each other’s interests and pursue those interests either individually or together, if you pursue them together you will bond more and come closer.
Additional reading: 4 Ways to Make Your Marriage a Priority When You Have Children
42. Marriage before children:
Children make the bond stronger and not weaken it. Learn to embrace parenthood as a bond which will keep you both even more closer to each other, your family and marriage are both very important, but your marriage should always come before your family!
Additional reading: Kids Aren’t the Priority. Marriage Is.
43. Priorities in the Blended Family:
A family begins with the husband and wife, the bond therefore must be strong enough to sustain a bigger family with children. A family that has a string foundation is the happiest, when children watch them parents being happy together, it impacts greatly and with immense positivity.
Additional reading: Priorities in the Blended Family
44. Marriage first, friends and family LATER:
This is the key to making your marriage work, if you put your spouse before anyone else you trigger a bond that will with time become unbreakable and your spouse is the closest to you, there is no reason why he or she shouldn’t be number one at all times.
Additional reading: Marriage first, friends and family LATER
45. A happy marriage is where both counterparts are Happy!
Not just your marriage, make your spouse a priority. If your spouse feels neglected they are sure to be pushed into unhappiness and even if one of you is not pleased with the marriage, the marriage is unhappy!
Additional reading: Make Your Spouse a Priority
46. Accept that you’ll both have bratty moments:
Living with someone is not as easy as it may seem, sometimes you both may act stubborn but remember to forgive and forget and to cherish all the good times. We may all have our differences, but what’s more important is how we get past these differences.
Additional reading: 20 Little Ways To Make Your Marriage Even Stronger
47. The 10 Commandments of Marriage:
Don’t take your partner for granted, love them for who they are. Learn to forgive and prioritize your partner; always keep them as a number one priority.
Additional reading: The 10 Commandments of Marriage
48. Unraveling in marriage:
There are many problems that may arise in your marriage, but only if you learn to fix them right on time you will be able to ensure a happy, longer lasting marriage.
Additional reading: Making Marriage a Priority
49. Priorities in the Blended Family:
The relationship between a husband and wife should always be number one priority and should be as strong as possible.
Additional reading: Priorities in the Blended Family
50. Understanding what love is:
You must talk to each other and try understanding what love means to the other, you may be showering her with roses without asking her what her favorite flower is. Let every little effort count, make sure you know what you are doing.
Additional reading: Understanding what love is
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3. Check out the incredible group interview in which I asked 58 life and marriage coaches to share their top 3 tips for a happy marriage.