1. Set realistic expectations for each other
Setting realistic expectations means that you’re giving your spouse goals that are achievable, and that you could work on. A good example would be when it comes to conflict and arguments. A lot of couples think that they shouldn’t have conflict, but in reality having conflict means that you’re talking about your problems and you’re working on solving them.
Real-life couples have fights, but they work on their problems. Don’t compare you and your spouse to those couples you see in movies or on television, be realistic, and you’ll both be happier for it.
2. Give rewards and affirmation
The little things really do matter. Small acts that “reward” positive behavior such as a kiss, saying “I love you,” or a tight hug makes your partner know and feel that they are special, and that you care deeply about them.
And surprisingly, men actually need affirmation more than women. So don’t forget to give your husband a peck on the cheek everytime he does something for you around the house.
3. Communicate more with each other
A lot of couples say that they talk to each other, but they aren’t communicating. Communication is a two-way street, you have to speak and then you have to listen to what your partner is saying. Talk to each other about your lives, your dreams, where you see yourself 10 years from now, your interests etc.
You need to communicate in order to know more about each other, and by getting to know each other better, you learn to adjust and work on your relationship to keep it strong.
4. Mix things up, don’t be afraid of change
There’s a saying that goes, “the only thing constant is change.” and even in healthy relationships, that’s true. It doesn’t mean that that just because your current setup is working out, you shouldn’t change anything.
Talk to your partner and see where you can try and mix things up. Sometimes, problems arise when everything becomes too routinary, and there’s nothing that excites you anymore. Mix things up, always look for something new, and don’t be afraid of change in your lives.
5. Less fighting, more fun
According to psychologist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., happy couples have a 5 to 1 ratio between their happy feelings and experiences and their negative feelings and experiences.
This means that you should add more memorable positive experiences to your lives. Negative feelings and experiences can take its toll on your relationship, so you should make sure to temper those things with a lot of happy thoughts and experiences. Behaviors such as fighting, miscommunication, jealousy, keeping secrets, and not getting along with your partner’s friends or family are things that should be avoided.
READ: 13 steps to kickstart a positive change in your marriage
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