5 tips to keep your marriage strong
Love each person your partner becomes
You don't think the guy you married at 28 will be the same at 58, do you? Staying with someone for the long haul doesn't mean you'll stay the same people or couple. Embrace this fact, and look at your partner with curiosity, not criticism, as they evolve and grow. Or, as Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad, the author of "This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage" puts it, fall in love with each new person your mate becomes.
Sex is important, but touching is, too
Charles D. Schmitz, Ph.D., and Elizabeth A. Schmitz, Ed.D., who write the "Building Great Marriages" column for Psychology Today , say touching is the "Morse Code of marriage." Of the long-term couples around the world they've interviewed, the duo said the commonality amongst all of them was touching each other. The gestures can be simple--a graze of the fingertips on your man's elbow or your hubby's hand on the small of your back.
"When you touch someone, you are acknowledging his or her presence and expressing your love," the Schmitzes say. "In effect you are saying, 'I love you so much I simply must touch you."'
Don't let parents or kids intrude
With relatives, children and friends in your life, it's easy to let others influence your marriage. That's a big no-no, says Hjelmstad. Children can quickly erode your bond with your husband if you consistently overemphasize their needs and wants over his.
"Nurture your primary relationship tenaciously--never allow your children to take over your marriage, no matter how young or old they are," Hjelmstad advises.
The same goes for your parents or his: letting them intrude and influence decision-making actions in your marriage spells doom.
Practice conflict resolution
Research compiled by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that enduring marriage involves an ability to effectively resolve conflicts. The couples who emphasize positive interactions over negative ones possess stronger stability.
Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT, licensed marriage family therapist and author of "Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy," says quickly nipping problems in the bud ensures "you won't have the same argument for the next 50 years."
It can't be stated enough: honest, regular communication is the bedrock of wedded bliss.
Intimate and self-disclosing communication is one of the keys to relationship success, according to the Australian Government's Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Rivkin adds that good communication requires both the ability to express and listen.
"Both partners trust each other and know they can talk to each other about anything, without judging or feeling judged. It means the willingness to work on your own issues and make changes in yourself if necessary."