The Secret to a Happy Marriage: 50 Things You Can Do to Stay in Love for a Lifetime
A happy relationship feels good and is life-enhancing.
Even if we don’t necessarily need to be in a relationship to be happy, a happy relationship is the icing on the cake of a happy life.
The first key to a good relationship is love. It is what helps you make the decision to commit to each other exclusively.
However, you need to nurture that love constantly to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.
This post contains 50 techniques that helped couples stay in love for decades, and can help you too.
Let’s get started!
- 1. Relish the scope and diversity of love
- 2. Appreciate the tremendous power of kindness
- 3. Communicate
- 4. Don’t take everything personally
- 5. Live and love in the present
- 6. Find empathy and compassion
- 7. Affection is the greatest aphrodisiac
- 8. Be loyal
- 9. Be sensitive, intuitive and perceptive
- 10. Cope well with conflict
- 11. Make time to be together
- 12. Balance work, home and play
- 13. Assume nothing – seek only truth
- 14. Be generous
- 15. Keep attraction vibrant
- 16. Embrace intimacy
- 17. Respect each other
- 18. Share enjoyment of food
- 19. Accept and tolerate
- 20. Be artists: create your relationship with care and beauty
- 21. Persevere
- 22. Agree about having – or not having – children
- 23. Find solidarity as parents
- 24. Take time to be yourselves
- 25. Forgive
- 26. Take an interest in each other’s ideas, dreams and aspirations
- 27. Believe
- 28. Be compatible
- 29. Positivity pays dividends
- 30. Participate
- 31. Know when to be quiet and when to speak out
- 32. Manners and courtesy
- 33. Know each other’s body clock
- 34. Manage your finances
- 35. Travel in the same direction
- 36. Let them mature in their own time
- 37. Be upbeat and inspire one another
- 38. Laugh together
- 39. The fine art of compromise
- 40. Think love, choose love
- 41. Trust
- 42. Rid yourself of petty annoyances
- 43. Get the keys to a great attitude to sex
- 44. Get the physical keys to great sex
- 45. Celebrate romance
- 46. Enjoy your own interests independently and share some too
- 47. Loving the world and lightening up about it
- 48. Creating a home you both love
- 49. Surviving families and friends
- 50. Looking out for each other’s wellbeing
1. Relish the scope and diversity of love
There are two ways of looking at a relationship: you could choose to regard it as hard work and a heavy responsibility. Or you can choose to view it as an inspirational and wonderful opportunity. The latter would open your relationship to its full potential and would enrich your individual lives.
Treat every day as a new day. Take a moment every morning to be aware of the scope of your relationship. Acknowledge that it’s up to you to guide your relationship in a positive way today and every day. Decide that you’ll care for your love and enjoy it to the full.
2. Appreciate the tremendous power of kindness
Kindness is what allows the relationship to flourish. It creates a climate of goodwill that passes back and forth between you and draws you together.
Make kindness your habit. Kindness is an attitude and a habit. It’s up to you to build that habit and use it regularly. Be kind throughout the day, even if you’ve had a bad day, even if your partner isn’t being kind to you. Kindness could be in the simple act of listening to your partner and taking an interest.
Without telling each other clearly, what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling, you won’t be able to know each other. We grow and change. If you don’t keep each other updated, you’ll grow apart.
At the beginning of the relationship, we talk a lot to get to know the other person. We become deeply connected we’re almost inside each other’s heads. Once past the in-love phase, talking intimately becomes a learning curve for most of us.
Practice talking. Take turns and listen intently to your partner. Avoid multitasking and use your body language and facial expression to receive what they’re saying. Ask questions so you can make sure your understanding is correct.
Related: How To Communicate More Effectively
4. Don’t take everything personally
Because we’re brought up to please other, it’s easy for us to get anxious that we’ve somehow upset our partner and that it must be our fault.
The truth is, your partner’s happiness is largely dependent on their positivity and chosen attitude. So you can’t be totally responsible for their bad moods or unhappiness.
Don’t assume responsibility for your partner’s mood. If you notice that your partner is feeling low, remind yourself that his mood may have nothing to do with you. Keep in mind that he might be tired especially after a long day at work.
5. Live and love in the present
The secret of living happily together is to focus on how you both are right now and firmly decide not to dwell on past bad experiences.
Live in the present, not the past. You might not be able to stop memories from popping into your mind, but you can still stop them from staying there. Remind yourself that life and love are about what’s happening now and that it’s up to you to decide how you react to current aspects of your life.
6. Find empathy and compassion
Compassion and empathy is one of the most powerful ways to protect the love between you, especially when one is about to embark on a blaming mission. Compassion is being able to recognize that your partner is a person much like you. They too have feelings, insecurities and worries.
Use compassion to create understanding. When an argument is escalating, stop. Take a breath and see the issue from your partner’s point of view. When you start to understand the way they feel, tension will disappear almost instantly.
7. Affection is the greatest aphrodisiac
Affection is the language of love. The more you speak it and show it, the more the love between you will grow.
Make affection a habit. Practice being tactile every day. It feels amazing to be close, to caress and be caressed.
One of the main reasons why one or both partners shy away from physical affection is the fear that it will lead to sex. Knowing that it isn’t about sex will help you relax into it.
8. Be loyal
One of the greatest gifts in a relationship is loyalty. When you know that your partner is loyal and trustworthy, your bond strengthens and your love thrives.
Avoid criticizing your partner to others and show a united front to others. Even if your friends are being disparaging about their partners, avoid the temptation to speak ill of yours. If you have a problem with your partner, talk it over with him and find other positive ways to solve your issues.
9. Be sensitive, intuitive and perceptive
When you first met, you notice everything about each other. It helps your love develop and deepen. Unfortunately, the “in love” phase comes to an end, and the complexity and busyness of life gradually take over. Without realizing it, you stop learning and keeping up with each other. Suddenly you become strangers.
Pay attention to each other. Keep up with each other’s worlds. Check out their state of health, how they’re feeling, how fulfilled they are. Being sensitive, intuitive and perceptive is a skill that takes intent, time and love.
10. Cope well with conflict
As you first met each other, you were delighted to discover all the many things you have in common. You felt compatible and you hoped you’ll be able to live in harmony together. Unfortunately, being two complex individuals with different needs, dreams and preferences makes disagreeing unavoidable. And while disagreeing is natural, it doesn’t have to lead to arguments.
Be aware of conflict. Being aware of when a conflict is important in order to stop it before it turns into a heated argument. Recognizing when it happens helps defuse negativity and find more constructive ways to cope with it.
11. Make time to be together
Relationships need attention to flourish. This might sound obvious, but it’s so easy to get caught in other daily chores only to find that another day had gone by without spending quality time with each other.
Make togetherness a priority. Find ways to synchronize times when you’re both able to spend time together and give each other your undivided attention.
Looking for creative (and inexpensive) ideas of things to do together with your partner to deepen your connection and love?
“175 Best Date Ideas” is a $9 e-book that will help spark what you had when you first met.
12. Balance work, home and play
Just as we need to work, we need to love and be loved.
If you don’t have personal work satisfaction, the frustration will seep into your relationship. At the same time, if you devote too much time to your career, your relationship will be denuded of enough togetherness and attention.
This is why it’s essential to learn how to balance work and love.
Help each other create work/life balance. Manage your working hours effectively and leave work in the workplace. At home, make sure you divide responsibilities fairly so you can enjoy more time together.
13. Assume nothing – seek only truth
In love and life in general, we tend to make assumptions about almost everything. They could be norms and conventions or expectations and hopes. By making assumptions, you not only risk getting hurt, but you also stand to miss out on the opportunity for learning about each other.
Embrace the truth. Being open to the truth in your relationship is an expression of love. Encourage each other to be truthful and not let assumptions get between you.
14. Be generous
Generosity is of the essence of a happy relationship. Just like kindness, it will light up your heart and make you happier.
Give generously without expecting anything in return. Be willing to share and help whenever you can. Be generous with your time, love, attention, and thoughtfulness.
15. Keep attraction vibrant
At the beginning of the relationship, you’re so “in love” that you feel attracted to each other like mad. After the “in love” phase ends, attraction will need some attention from you both to stay strong.
Stay interesting to each other. Attraction isn’t just about taking care of your physical attraction. If you’re not interested in them as a person, sexual attraction won’t last for long. Keep your rapport strong with each other.
16. Embrace intimacy
Intimacy develops through knowing and understanding each other. If we don’t know ourselves well, it becomes difficult to let go of our sense of self-consciousness and protectiveness. This fear of intimacy can hold us back from enjoying our relationships.
Decide to allow more intimacy with your partner. To help you let down your guards, think of the many benefits intimacy will give you: fewer arguments as you’ll get to understand each other on a deep level, a sense of being lovingly connected…
Intimacy is both emotional and physical. Encourage yourselves to enjoy physical closeness without assuming that it will lead to sex.
17. Respect each other
Respect in a relationship is about appreciating and valuing each other. This can translate in many kinds of behavior: being polite to each other, being considerate for each other’s feelings, and even being willing at times to defer to the other’s opinion or decision.
Be active in respecting each other. Be aware of neglecting each other and failing to listen or consider each other’s feelings and opinions.
18. Share enjoyment of food
The pleasure of eating together deepens your love for each other. It’s isn’t about what you eat, but about your mutual enthusiasm and being glad to be together enjoying it.
Appreciate every stage of a meal together. Pleasure and connection start with preparing and cooking a meal you’ll share. Make sure you enjoy every stage of your meal and put in it so much thought and love.
19. Accept and tolerate
Acceptance and tolerance in a relationship are about respecting each other’s right to differ in opinions, feelings, and ways of doing things. Without them, the couple will clash and try to change each other. At the same time, acceptance and tolerance don’t mean that you need to agree with every opinion or tolerate abusive behavior from your partner.
Accept your differences and find a common language. Even if you can’t understand your differences, always show tolerance and acceptance.
20. Be artists: create your relationship with care and beauty
Most of us believe that love is always spontaneous. But the truth is, every relationship is an artwork in progress. It thrives on nurturing small gestures and loving words. Of course, many things are beyond our control, but you can always choose to react positively or negatively. This is why, to a large extent, you’re creating your relationship day by day, in your own style.
Think creatively about how you can shape your relationship. Keep in mind that you have a huge influence on your relationship. Make a more conscious effort to react positively and prioritize each other so your relationship can thrive.
Despite our love and hope, relationships don’t always work out. More than half of USA marriages end in divorce. Sometimes splitting up is the right thing to do, especially when the couple truly find they are not compatible in the long term. However, oftentimes, relationships can be repaired with some active effort and perseverance.
Appreciate the value of being steadfast. When the “in love” phase of your relationship is over, it important to hold out for each other before you can move to the next phase and your love becomes more secure and deepens. Make the choice of staying united.
22. Agree about having – or not having – children
It’s important to be in agreement when you decide to have or to not have children. This mutual support is an ongoing thing. You might have regrets about having or not having children later, even when the initial decision was yours.
Grieve your regrets and move on. Whether you regret not being parents, or not having another child, or even being parents, mourn your sadness and move on. Above all, refuse to feel bitter.
23. Find solidarity as parents
Seeing their parents united makes children feel secure and safe and gives them a healthy environment to grow up. It’s also important for you as parents to know that you can consult each other on parenting issues and make decisions together.
Be involved in parenting in your own way. Even if one of you is doing the lion’s share of the practical aspects, you still need to stay involved as parents. Help each other and take decisions together.
24. Take time to be yourselves
Spending time with others and having some solitude is as important as spending time with our partners. It reminds you of who you are and your purpose in life. Even if you have the most positive partner, you’re bound to be heavily influenced by them and vice versa.
Enjoy some “You time”. Spending some time away from your partner isn’t selfish. Rather it’ll add more energy to your relationship. So schedule a time for yourself and make it a priority.
Forgiveness is a must for happiness because it clears away hostility. This doesn’t mean that you need to tolerate abusive behavior or hurtful words. Forgiveness is about settling things down, changing, and letting go.
Decide to live forgivingly. Replace your hurt with positive thoughts about your partner. Remember all the right things he had done for you. Forgive and leave it behind. Don’t bring it up again.
26. Take an interest in each other’s ideas, dreams and aspirations
By taking a keen interest in your partner’s ideas, dreams, and aspirations, you’ll learn a lot about him and you’ll get even closer to each other. This will remind you what interesting people you are.
Inspire each other to have ideas and dreams. Encourage each other to talk about your ideas and ambitions. Ask questions and listen intently. Be careful not to respond with negative comments or show disinterest.
Belief is a powerful force that can fire potential and possibilities in your life and never more so than in your relationship. Couples who wholeheartedly believe in their love and that they’ll always stay together, almost certainly do.
Believe in the gift of your love and your wish to stay together. Decide that your happiness is going to be your relationship’s default setting and help it by keeping negativity at bay.
28. Be compatible
Being compatible isn’t just about sharing interest and tastes, it’s also about being able to exist harmoniously. It’s largely a matter of adaptability so you can share your life together as individuals along parallel lines while interweaving your various thoughts and interests.
Shape the way you get on together with attention and love. Be flexible in every phase of your life together. Sometimes you’ll be the leader, other times your partner will, but always be a team.
29. Positivity pays dividends
For every situation, we always have two main choices of attitude. We can choose to react positively or negatively. Even if positivity isn’t your default setting, making a conscious effort to act positively will make it a habit.
Be positive in all kinds of practical ways. Start a journal where you list three things you appreciate about your partner every day. Avoid complaining about your partner to your family and friends, and praise them at every opportunity.
When the excitement of the first months together withers, couples often find themselves getting busier and busier with other things and people, and soon enough the emotional and physical distance between the couple grows. By making a conscious effort to participate fully again in your togetherness, you allow your relationship to thrive.
Participate together. Make sure there are lots of times when you’re spending quality time together. Share your thoughts too and keep each other updated about your lives.
31. Know when to be quiet and when to speak out
Communication is key to a happy relationship. But sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. If it’s going to hurt your partner and your relationship, don’t say it. If you’re angry, take some time off before talking about it.
Recognize the value of time off. If you, or your partner, are getting angry, don’t even attempt to talk to each other. Take some time off, make a cup of tea, or involve yourself in an activity, until you recover your equilibrium.
32. Manners and courtesy
Good manners are a powerful source of happiness in a relationship. It communicates care and respect. Ironically, we can be polite and caring towards our friends and even strangers, but forget our manners when it comes to our partner.
Maintain good manners around each other. Choose to be together and love each other and continue renewing this choice every day of your life. Always show that you value each other by maintaining good manners around each other.
33. Know each other’s body clock
Our body clock sets our natural inner rhythms which affect our moods and energy levels. People usually fall into two categories: morning people and night people. You probably know in which category you and your partner fall. Keeping this in mind will help you synchronize better with your partner and understand them better.
Know and synchronize your body clocks. It’s much better to spend some quality time together when neither of you is too tired and you are both wide awake and energized.
34. Manage your finances
Agreeing on a good approach to managing your finance is important for your happiness together. Money might not seem like an issue at the beginning of the relationship, but soon enough, reality steps in. If your spendings exceed your income, you’re going to be in debt and miserable.
Agree on an approach to managing your finances. Set aside some time to discuss money matters regularly. Plan a budget and stick to it. Agree on an investing plan that suits your individual and combines income and your current situation. Be flexible, to accommodate your individual opinions, and to easily adjust to future circumstances.
35. Travel in the same direction
We’re never standing still. We’re always moving in a certain direction. This is why it’s important to travel in the same direction in order for you to be together.
Share your experiences and impressions. Even when circumstances might look to be set for the next few years – for example, because you’re bringing up children- keep in mind that they’re still your choices. You’re choosing to be there together. Look out for each other’s wellbeing every step of the way, and share your loads.
36. Let them mature in their own time
There’s a lot of interest today in personal development, and people grow as individuals at different rates. This is why you might feel at times that you’ve become out of step with your partner because you’ve learned so much and had gone ahead of them.
Be patient. Wait patiently, with great compassion for your partner to arrive at a similar place of maturity in their own time. Don’t try to pressure them to mature so they won’t feel inadequate. Meanwhile, enjoy your development and wisdom.
37. Be upbeat and inspire one another
Having an upbeat attitude can make your life and your relationship a much enjoyable experience, not just for you, but for your partner too. Your uplifting presence will influence your partner and inspire them to enjoy their lives more.
Inspire your partner and encourage them to be upbeat too. You’ll always have a choice between reacting positively or negatively to every situation. Choose positivity. Count your blessings and appreciate the small pleasures of life.
38. Laugh together
Laughter is amazingly healing. The ability to find something to smile about can lighten the atmosphere and boost your moods almost instantly. Smile has been proven to trigger the release of feel-good hormones, including endorphins and oxytocin.
Seek out opportunities for humor. Always smile at each other and try to make each other laugh. Don’t just wait for spontaneous humor – invite it. Watch something funny and tell each other jokes.
39. The fine art of compromise
A willingness to compromise is essential in every relationship. People can differ in needs and interests and if one person gets their own way consistently, the other person can feel dominated and even bullied.
Be flexible. Sometimes you may decide that it’s fine to let your partner have their own way, and other times you might ask then to go with your choice when you’re sure it’s the better way.
40. Think love, choose love
Sometimes love arrives out of the blue – spontaneously and unconditionally – especially at the beginning of a relationship when you’re both in the “in love” phase”. But it’s rare that love stays steadfastly strong without our conscious input.
Activate your love. Don’t let the business of our lives make you neglect love and forget it. Make love your choice. Make quality time with your partner a priority and interact with them with love in your mind.
Trust communicates respect and a belief in their strength to withstand temptation. This can bond you deeply and boost your self-esteem as well as the regard you have for your partner.
Trust now. Don’t keep replaying past hurts and grievances. Don’t put conditions on your trust. Just trust in the power of their loyalty and goodness and feel the anxiety and fear dropping away from you. Trust is a gift for yourself, too, because the conscious decision to trust your partner frees you from the negative effect of suspicion.
42. Rid yourself of petty annoyances
It’s inevitable for two people with unique personalities to annoy each other, especially when you spend so much time together. No one is perfect and it’s normal to exasperate each other sometimes. Keeping this in mind will help you deal with it more positively.
Notice your own quirks and habits. Take a look at yourself through the eyes of others. Acknowledging your quirks will help you not only control them but also feel more tolerance towards your partner’s.
43. Get the keys to a great attitude to sex
Enjoyable lovemaking adds a special dimension of happiness into your relationship. Once the excitement of the “in-love” phase of your relationship settles, great sex becomes a proactive choice. Lovemaking is a skill that you need to practice to reap its huge rewards.
Give yourself a positive, welcoming attitude to lovemaking. Imagine warmly pleasurable lovemaking. Recall the enjoyable sensations you felt in previous sessions of lovemaking and feel the love for the scent of your partner, their touch, the way you loved their body… The key is enthusiasm and a willingness to enjoy yourself and help your partner enjoy themselves too.
44. Get the physical keys to great sex
Getting the physical keys to great sex is about putting into practice the positive attitude to lovemaking – and discovering how to have a great time together.
Embrace your sensuality. Use all your senses to enjoy lovemaking with your partner. Vision, sound, touch, scent, and imagination play roles in making the experience more pleasurable.
45. Celebrate romance
Romance keeps the light of love sparkling. It doesn’t need to be dreamlike. Even the simplest of words and gestures can snap it into life. Saying “I love you” can go a long way.
Choose to be romantic. Thinking romantically is a habit to develop with time and practice. But it’s an easy habit to acquire because it straightaway feels good. Show appreciation and give gifts. Romantic physical touch is one of the most endearing signs of love.
46. Enjoy your own interests independently and share some too
Having your own individual interests, is not only vital for your sense of personal identity, but enriches your relationship, too. They accentuate your uniqueness – the essential person your partner fell in love with and vice versa. It’s also good to share some interests. It allows you to spend quality time together and strengthen your bond.
Be passionate about your individual interest and decide which interests you’d both like to enjoy. Be proactive in keeping your own interest vibrant and developing any new ones that appeal to you. Also, do some things together. Be open minded and try different things and then decide which activities you want to do more of together.
47. Loving the world and lightening up about it
Many people go through life without seeing the beauty and wonder that’s all around them. When the two of you join in appreciation of this amazing world we live in, your lives become more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Choose a positive, constructive attitude to view the world. Be the you that’s possible. Live positively and notice the astonishing beauty of our world. Share your gladness, thankfulness and joy in it.
48. Creating a home you both love
Our homes are fundamental to our happiness. They’re where we play, rest, sometimes work, and generally spend a large amount of time. This is why it’s so vital for you to create a home, you both love.
Sort out who is going to do what and enjoy it. Reach agreement in day-to-day household chores. Talk, compromise, and respect each other’s opinions. Doing things with love will pull you closer and make home a peaceful place.
49. Surviving families and friends
As a couple, you have your own respective sets of relatives and friends. And then there’s the family you created together. This can be a minefield of emotions. But with love and willingness to accept and adapt to each other, your shared family can be rewarding for you as a couple.
Accept your differences and keep negativity at bay. One of the best ways of keeping good relationships with you and your partner’s relatives and friends is to keep your negative opinions to yourself. Instead, be the best you can be and don’t waste any time or energy on wishing ill to someone else.
50. Looking out for each other’s wellbeing
Wellbeing is the knowledge that whatever else is going on in our lives, all is well with us. It’s a sense that you are loved and that you love. Give your wellbeing and your partner’s your full attention.
Look after each other’s health. Being in a loving relationship not only help you look after each other’s health, but enhances in itself your wellbeing, too.
Looking for creative (and inexpensive) ideas of things to do together with your partner to deepen your connection and love?
“175 Best Date Ideas” is a $9 e-book that will help spark what you had when you first met.
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book Secrets of Happy Relationships: 50 Techniques to Stay in Love, © 2014 by Jenny Hare. All rights reserved.