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12 Ways You Can Make
your Marriage Great

12 Ways You Can Make your Marriage Great

Many of us would say we have a good marriage, but can you say you have a great marriage? The best relationships are the ones that can stand the test of time. What are some things that these couples do that maybe you could adopt into your own marriage?
Successful marriages take work. Often we just need to put in that extra 10% effort to make our relationship function better, turn up the romance, and to avoid or finally solve lingering problems. I have compiled a list of 12 marriage tips to take your relationship from good to great.

1. Swallow your pride. In an argument, the moment you realize you're in the wrong, apologize. You lose nothing by doing this and you can stop a fight in its tracks.

2. Pencil in sexy time. And stick to it. There is no romance in scheduling sex, but in our hectic and stress filled lives you really have to in order to make sure you and your spouse continue to connect. Keeping an intimacy schedule takes a little bit of the fun out of the act, but a sexless marriage is worse.

3. Keep it above the belt. Great couples in healthy relationships still fight, but they fight fair. Don't yell, point fingers, call each other names, and completely devolve things into some immature playground scuffle.

4. Learn to live simply. Is there a way to live your life without having to work 60+ hours a week? Do you find yourself dividing your time on more activities outside of the home rather than with your spouse and family? Take time to evaluate what you may be missing out on and what you're doing with that time instead. You may have to downsize your life in some way in order to actually live in and enjoy it.

5. Maintain a friendship. The best relationships start out with a solid friendship foundation. Love is one thing, but you really have to LIKE the person you've vowed to spend your life with. It may be the mutual love of stand up comedy, bad pizza, or B-horror movies that brought you together and will also keep you together. Be each other's confidant, shoulder to cry on, and support system.

6. Maintain separate interests. Quality time together is great, but time apart is too. Keep up with your own hobbies and make time to do them - alone. Even scheduling a weekend hunting trip or a three-day cruise with your girlfriends will give you a little breathing room and allow you to miss and appreciate each other.

7. Come together weekly for debriefing. Again, things get crazy. It's important for couples to meet up for 15-20 minutes once a week to talk about little things that may be bothering you and to catch up on events and tasks that need to be accomplished during the week. This way neither of you are blindsided by something you were "supposed to know".

8. Say, "thank you". Probably the two most important words in the English language and they aren't expressed enough. "Thank you" is the simplest way to show your appreciation for what your spouse does and keeps them from feeling like they're being taken for granted.

9. Only have eyes for each other. There is nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty of other humans. The problem comes when a spouse objectifies them or looks upon them with lust; "he's really handsome/she's really pretty" is a far cry from, "Whoa, he/she is hot!" or commenting on particular body parts. This also includes shutting down the porn watching, flirting, and questionable Facebook conversations. If you focus all of your sexual energy on your spouse, you'll be more satisfied and are more likely to have a successful marriage .

10. Go team! Teamwork is the only way to keep life running smoothly. There are no designated jobs, a couple just sees something needs to be done and does it... preferably without being asked. Initiative is sexy.

11. Get on the same financial page. In my house, I'm in charge of the money. I pay the bills and manage the budget. I try to get my husband involved with mixed results. You have to talk about financial goals for savings, retirement, and paying down debt (if you have any). Money issues are one of the top issues that drive a couple to divorce so make time - like 15 minutes a week - to breakdown the budget and discuss where every cent is going so nobody is surprised and there is no excuse for spending it elsewhere.

12. Make your marriage more physical. Hug, hold hands, cuddle on the couch, and just make time for nonsexual contact to keep your bond strong.

(Image Credits: Thinkstock)

( About the author: Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master's Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy).

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