We don't want to accept this harsh reality, but most of us are in marriages with a lot of room for improvement.
But there are several steps you can take to strengthen your marriage.
Today I'm sharing an infographic about 8 scientific ways to improve your marriage.
Okay, so you’ve scanned through the pretty little pictures and notes, but here’s the real deal on all of them:
1. Have 5 positive interactions for every negative one: The Magic Relationship Ratio
According to Dr. John Gottman, if you have 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction with your spouse, the happiness factor increases considerably!1
Show your spouse how much they mean to you!
This one is 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.
I’m suggesting here a simple appreciation for the little things they do, honoring them for all they mean to you and what they 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 appreciate it.
2. Little acts of kindness have a huge impact
The 5 side-effects of kindness:
- it makes you happier
- boosts heart health
- improves relationships
- slows down aging
- and it’s also contagious.2
Go ahead and give your spouse the last piece of cheese!
What? Why cheese?
You know, my wife and I love cheese.
Especially one that has tiny chili flakes in it. (My mouth is watering)
The other day, we were having breakfast, and there was a good piece left which we divided evenly in two.
I was starving, and 5 minutes later, my piece was gone.
I love cheese!
But I saw that my wife still had one bite left on his plate (she's that kind of person who saves the best for last), and he noticed that I kept staring at it.
What do you think she did?
She grabbed his last bite of cheese and gave it to me without saying a word, and started to do the dishes.
This might not be a big deal for you, but it is for me, as you can tell.
After all, I still remember it.
A little bit of kindness goes A LONG way!
3. Shared laughter keeps your relationship fresh and exciting
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.3
Even reminiscing about laughing together improves relationship satisfaction in couples considerably.
If laughing boosts your well-being, 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 connection, and trust.
The reason you fell in love with your partner in the first place was that they 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 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, the same brain circuits ignited in early romantic love.4
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 quickly drive a wedge in the relationship.
5. Go on dates at least once a week
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.5
Dating is NOT just for singles!
Getting away from everyday life, even if it’s just once a month, does three important 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.
Check out my 50+ Best Date Night Ideas for Married Couples.
6. Learn to fight a good fight
One of the major obstacles in relationships is that people tend to suppress their anger, which leads to resentment.
But (good) fights help couples grow together on a much deeper level.6
I’m talking about learning the skills to fight a good fight.
One that doesn’t destruct but instead reinforces the relationship.
You want to avoid the concept of holding onto your anger because it builds up to act like poison to the your relationship.
Stay respectful towards your spouse whenever you get into a word-tumble.
Listening to your partner is equally as important as voicing your frustrations, compromising, and understanding 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.7
However, just 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, you still have to ensure that you set aside time just for sex.
Your sex life plays a major role 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 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 opportunistic, even a boring dinner at home can lead to some kitchen counter adventures!
8. Touch, kiss, hug, cuddle often
Touching is vital to a happy relationship.8
Full body connection increases connection, closeness, and a feeling of safety!
Did you know?
There’s an ideal number of hugs and kisses we should receive daily to be happy and healthy!
Psychotherapist Virginia Satir devised the formula for the amount you need.
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 stress-fighting hormone.
More oxytocin leads to less stress, which leads to happier people and happier couples overall.
Your affectionate behavior can also say a lot more than your words ever can!
Touching helps bridge 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, which is why you need to touch, hug and kiss your partner as often as possible.
These are 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.
9. Seeking help early
Even if you and your partner have the same vibes like wine and cheese, there are still days when it seems like both of you are like oil and water.
No matter how hard you try, you just won’t come together.
Admitting that you are facing issues in your marriage is no easy feat, but this is the first step in solving your dilemma.
Numbers don’t lie.
At least 70% of couples say that counseling has helped them deal with problems.9
Many people think that counseling is only needed when you are both on the verge of giving up.
However, this isn’t the case.
Earlier is always better.
Look at therapy as a form of prevention, not a cure.
But how will you know when it’s time to seek help?
- there is constant bad communication between you and your partner. You may notice that your home is always loud or unnecessarily quiet.
- help is needed if you are living like roommates. This is the case when the physical and emotional intimacy between you has dwindled.
Other cases that need the intervention of a professional include when one or both of you are experiencing addiction, broken trust, or a major life change such as death, retirement, a new job, or the birth of a child.
10. Communicate regularly and clearly
Communication may seem like an easy thing to do.
But you’ll be surprised to know that it is the leading cause of divorce in the US.
According to one study, a whopping 67.5% of marriages ended due to communication issues.10
Just like you, your spouse also wants to be understood.
Most importantly, they want to feel that you value their feelings and emotions.
When this need isn’t met, you will start to have problems.
But how can couples start their journey toward having healthy communication?
There are many ways to do this.
Communication doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture.
It could be something as simple as sending an appreciative text or a compliment.
Aside from that, remember that communication is not just about talking.
It is also crucial to listen.
As much as you can, practice empathic listening with your partner.
This means stopping yourself from replying with solutions, but with phrases like “I understand why you feel like this.”
This will signal to your partner that you understand them.
11. Giving each other space
Many couples falsely believe that space and boundaries are negative things when it comes to marriage.
However, taking time away from your significant other will do wonders for your marriage.
Not only will this prevent unnecessary conflict, but it will also avoid feelings of resentment.
In a study called The Early Years of Marriage Project, which followed the same 373 married couples for over two decades, 11.5% of couples who reported that they were unhappy said that the main reason was lack of time for self or privacy.11
Surprisingly, this is more than the number of couples who admitted they were unhappy because of their sex lives.
Space can look different in every relationship, so you don’t always have to start big to give your partner space.
Make small changes such as not immediately ranting to your spouse after a long day at work or not nagging your partner after a dinner out with their friends.
Small habits like this will go a long way.
Giving your partner space is also making sure you don’t lose your identity while you are married.
To do this, keep doing your hobbies, or visit your friends.
Keep in mind that being in a healthy marriage doesn’t mean you have to spend all your free time with your spouse.
12. Look into each other’s eyes
The adage is true:
The eyes are the window to your soul.
Do you remember the last time you looked into your partner’s eyes?
But how can something as simple as eye contact improve your marriage?
A Japanese study found that eye contact is powerful enough to synchronize brain activity between two people.12
Of course, it’s worth noting that it can be challenging to establish a strong connection without a mutual gaze.
When you and your spouse gaze into each other’s eyes, you are one step closer to seeing each other’s innermost feelings.
Eye contact doesn’t always have to be a lingering look.
It can also include peeking and looking at your partner from afar.
13. Write about your fights & sweet deeds
Whether you consider yourself a good writer or not, getting your thoughts on paper can be therapeutic.13
Through journaling, you can express your feelings and thoughts about your spouse, as well as your experiences.
When you write down the good stuff, it fosters a positive atmosphere in your marriage.
List down what you did on your date, your favorite memory with each other, or the attributes of your partner that you adore.
When going through a rough patch, you can look back on the positive things you wrote.
Writing should not just be limited to the good but also bad experiences.
After all, every marriage has tough days.
By writing your negative interactions and experiences, you can look at the situation more objectively.
And this could help you brainstorm solutions and ways to make changes.
More than that, writing can also be cathartic because your journal can act as a safety valve.
Offloading your heavy feelings on paper will avoid in-person tongue lashing.
14. Know how to end arguments
While arguments are normal, there’s nothing healthy about disagreements that don’t seem to end.
Whether you and your partner are fighting about something major or minor, you need to know how to end your argument.
One way to end a discussion is to use a safe word.
If you feel like your argument is getting out of hand and you’re already saying things you don’t mean, say your safe word.
It’s not realistic to shut down all your fights, but you should always know when it’s time to take a breather.
Tell your partner you need a few minutes or hours to calm down and let them know that you are not dismissing them.
Of course, there are topics where both of you need to agree to disagree.
This nonjudgmental technique will ensure a healthy resolution driven by toleration.
15. Put your gadgets away
Technology has drastically changed the way people communicate.
Unfortunately, more couples are experiencing issues regarding device usage.
When you use your phone excessively, it will become a barrier to communication, and your partner may end up feeling ignored.
Think about it:
How would you feel if you share a meaningful story with your partner, and their face is buried in their phone?
You will think that their phone is more important than you, and you will end up feeling rejected.
Overuse of phones generally leads to greater dissatisfaction in marriage.15
Put your phone away, especially when having dinner or talking with your spouse.
This is about being present in that moment.
1. Value her needs:
It is essential to value and understand your differences. A woman wants to be heard, listened to, 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 imperative to be on the same page regarding 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 couples who express affection more frequently are more satisfied 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 it will make some great memories.
Additional reading: Nurture love in your wedlock
6. Soften your tone:
Though there may be many things that your partner is to blame for 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 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 to look down at your partner for not doing enough.
Additional reading: 8 simple ways to make your marriage last
10. Resolve your fights:
Don't forget to talk it all through. Sweeping your differences under the rug and hoping 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 little things.
Additional reading: Top 10 advice for a healthy marriage
12. Say NO to negativity:
If things 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.
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 extraordinary ability to understand and put up with each other.
Additional reading: Successful Marriage Compatibilities
16. Love every day!
You do not need to have great 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 how to make your marriage last with sincerity
18. Marriages can be improved with proven scientific tips. Are you willing to put that effort into 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 are willing to change instead of expecting your partner to, you will experience a significant 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 every day!
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.
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 costly 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 the 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:
Things are bound to run dry when you discuss child-related and financial issues. Ensure that these are not the only topics in your life. Remember to cherish each other, have some alone time, flirt and recall your best memories over a warm, home-cooked meal, at least once a week.
Additional reading: How to make your Marriage Work (After Having Kids)
28. Make your marriage a priority:
Make special family rituals and abide by them, cherish them. Five simple rituals such as greeting, sleeping, messaging, departing, and talking 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, 20 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
Did you enjoy my tips to improve a marriage?
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2. Leave a comment and tell me what you're going to do from that list today.
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.