Over my many years of adulthood and 2 marriages there are some realizations that have came to me about maintaining a healthy marriage. Now this is based on my own personal experience only so take it for what it is worth.
First open communication is key. Both parties in the marriage must be willing to communicate freely about their feelings, bills, finances, their pains, fears, etc. This actually crosses over into arguements but that is separate. Your partner is not a mind reader no matter how much you want them to be. You can’t think something and just expect them to know what you want, like, dislike, etc. Talk, talk, talk.
Arguements: Everyone at some point will disagree. And at some point they will get heated and yelling gets involved. There should never be any physical contact intended to hurt the spouse. But as for the yelling well this is not necessarily good either and I am guilty of this myself. You also do not ever want to say things that you know you don’t mean like “I’ll just go find someone else then” or “fine divorce me” these are hurtful and cause mistrust in the relationship. When it gets to this point you both need to step back, shut up, calm down, and start over calmly, expressing your feelings, and your disagreements, and try to come to a compramise. Because that is what a marriage is, compramise. It’s not his way or her way, it’s a compramise of both ways.
Next is listening. But it’s not enough to just listen you have to hear what they are saying as well. You are not always going to agree with a suggestion and both parties need to be willing to accept that fact. This also doesn’t mean you always have to do what the other says but listening and NEVER taking their advise is the same as not listening at all (yes I’m bad at this one too). It’s not just that though, it’s also listening to them talk about their day, their troubles, their good points, and their bad points. Letting them blow off steam, but this also doesn’t mean you take out all your anger on your partner either.
Another thing is complimenting each other. Not just in public but in private as well. Telling them when they did a good job. Telling them they look beautiful or handsome especially when they are expressing the opossite about themselves.
Now everyone will say material things aren’t important but when you never get them, I’m sorry but yes they are. Giving your spouse a gift just because you love them is very important and it shows you are thinking of them. Of course you never want to forget the holidays, birthday, or anniversary.
I don’t care what you say sex is very important in a relationship. Now some people may have ED issues and that is something that the couple has to be sensitive about and work around but otherwise, if you just never want to do it or ever engage your going to lose your spouse to someone else, at least in the sexual sense. It is also important to keep your sex life spiced up. Get away from the same routine. Doing something different every now and then. Try something new. Act out each other’s fantasies. Consider bringing a third person in, one time a man for her and one time a women for him. Get out of your norm. Sex in public or just add toys to the mix.
Another thing to think about is doing something together, if you have children, find a babysitter if you need one, and go out on a date. Make a certain day of the week date night. You two go out, play pool, see a movie, go out to eat, play mini golf, go to a strip club, get matching tattoos, go dancing, go bar hopping, sit at home and watch a movie together, or play a game together, whatever just do something where it is just the two of you. To many couples get married and think the dating has to stop. That is not true. Dating helps keep you close, just like you were before the wedding. It’s all about keeping the romance alive.
Most importantly share the chores. If one person is always doing the chores, house cleaning, etc, they will begin to feel taken advantage of and think you don’t appreciate what they do. So share the responsibilities around the house and outside the house like shopping, kids doctor appointments, etc.
So these are just some of the things I have learned and yes I am still learning. I will admit even though I have learned them some of them I still have a hard time remembering. Marriage is hard work but if your dedicated to the marriage and making it work then it will and you both will live happily together for a long time.