When you’re planning your wedding, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of tulle and china patterns and wedding gown styles. It’s important to remember the important part of the big day: marriage. Today we’re sharing thirty-seven tips to a happy marriage that you can put into effect right now, even while you’re engaged. Bookmark this list, Pin it, Tweet it, and Facebook it so you always remember the importance of a happy marriage. A wedding day lasts twenty-four hours; a marriage is forever. While I’ve only been married for five (amazing) years so far, I know this much is true: I’m so blessed to have married such a wonderful spouse and we wish happiness for you, too. So… on to the list!
37 Best Tips to a Happy Marriage
1. Marry your best friend.
Your spouse should be your best friend. Your best friend is someone you can get silly in front of. You can be yourself. You can marathon episodes of Gilmore Girls and make fun of the storyline; this person will get equally frustrated with you when Lorelai chooses Christopher over Luke, or Rory ditches Dean (again). Your best friend will go on midnight Taco Bell runs when you’re craving a Chalupa or let you sleep in on Saturday morning to catch up on extra sleep.
Aretha knew what she was talking about. It’s important to respect your spouse. The meaning of respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
3. Be generous.
I think laughing is a requirement of a happy marriage. Life is too crazy and unpredictable and sometimes your basement will flood in the middle of the night and you’ll need someone to look at, roll your eyes with you, and have a good laugh. Because in life, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?
5. Take care of yourself.
You can’t take good care of someone else if you can’t care of yourself, too. Eat well. Exercise. Look your best. It’s not saying you have to look good to impress them, it’s more about feeling good because when you feel good and have a positive inner glow, it radiates and makes you a happier person. I think happier people have happier marriages because the happiness radiates onto every part of their lives.
6. Date night.
Never stop going on dates together. Here’s a list to help.
7. Be positive.
Don’t say things like, I wish you would or You always or Why do you because it just throws out negativity. If you need to talk about something, use your words in more positive way. Can you please ______ or Would it work with you if we ______ work well.
8. Marathon shows.
There’s something about watching a really good show together in marathon mode (or every night for like, weeks on end) that bring a couple together. It’s fun to watch something together and talk about it, pausing it every so often to refill the coffee or get another scoop of ice cream.
9. Steal a kiss.
When he or she isn’t looking, run over and grab them and give them one of those giant, movie-style kisses. It’ll surprise them and they’ll love it.
10. Always say I Love You.
11. Never go to bed angry.
That’s pretty much the oldest trick in the book.
12. Surprise them with little gifts.
A little something just because is always a sweet way to tell your spouse you were thinking of them. Order flowers and have them delivered just because. Saw something neat on Amazon? Have it delivered and leave it for them when they wake up. It’s like Christmas morning all the time. It can be something small, too, like a ice-cold Pepsi from the grocery store or a York peppermint patty. Those things are amazing. Or make one of these! It’s super sweet.
13. Make the coffee.
Or tea. Or refill the Brita pitcher. Or get the morning cereal ready. Or buy that creamer that tastes like peppermint patties straight from the North Pole. Do something that starts their day on a good foot. Last weekend, Andrew let me sleep in and took Baby Andrew downstairs and played with him; brewed the coffee and when I woke up he had a hot cup ready and waiting for me. I’m not trying to brag but, I mean, totally awesome, right? It’s all about going one extra step to make the other’s day just a little easier.
14. Let them pick the movie.
Or the show. Or the video game. And really get into it and don’t complain. It’s not always up to you; sometimes you need to sit through Alien vs. Predator even if you don’t really get it or watch Prometheus even though you can’t stand watching Charlize Theron prance around in yoga pants for two hours (jeans would have been fine, no?) or play endless games of Halo (and realize that you’re totally killing it at Lockout, if you do say so yourself). But it’s always way more fun when the other person picks what they want because you get to sneak a little peek of them grinning ear to ear because they are loving it and that’s happiness, baby.
15. Clean up after yourself.
Do the dishes. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor. Don’t push the toothpaste from the top of the tube. Don’t do annoying things that make the other person have to clean up after you. And for the record Andrew doesn’t do any of these; I’m learning to not leave clothes around and I’m normally not a messy person but being married makes you mindful of things that could really annoy someone if you just stop caring. So don’t stop picking up after yourself.
16. Put your spouse first.
Always. Every day.
17. Remember your vows.
And don’t just remember them; turn those powerful words into actions.
18. Take care of them when they are sick.
Bring them medicine and a glass of water when they have a headache. Tired after a long day at work? Rub their feet. Are they so tired they can barely move from the couch? Bring them a blanket and let them doze. You know they would do the same for you.
19. Encourage their hobbies.
It’s healthy to have hobbies that are unique from yours; encourage theirs! If they want to do them solo, let them. If they want to let you in on it, give it a try! It might be your new favorite activity together.
I mentioned it earlier, but it is worth giving its own subheading. Exercise makes you feel good. Those endorphins get kicking and suddenly the annoying traffic or the weather or the things you didn’t accomplish today just sort of fade into the abyss and you feel rejuvenated. And that means you will have a positive outlook. And that means you’ll radiate happiness and joy and unicorns and rainbows and your significant other will see your happiness and it will rub off on them. Plus, exercise makes you feel super good looking.
21. Spice it up.
Don’t let things get boring; spice up your life every so often. Go out instead of staying in. Order take out instead of cooking. Rent a hilarious movie instead of a drama; pick the thriller instead of the chick flick. Put on that super dark red lipstick one morning and wait until he notices. Wear a skirt instead of pants for the eight hundredth time. Guys, throw on her favorite cologne and then wrap her in a bear hug; tell her how amazing that skirt makes her legs look (and mean it). Try a new hobby together, something exhilarating like riding roller coasters or mountain climbing or kayaking. Plan out a weekend in advance with tons of activities you both love and talk about how much fun it will be all week.
Learn how. Everyone should know how to cook for themselves and for their significant other. It can be simple or complex, but surprise him or her with a meal and they’ll really appreciate it.
23. Be their biggest fan.
Support them. Show up to their competition. Be in the front row at their rock show. Be at the finish line. Cheer them on. Everyone needs a #1 fan.
24. It not always about you.
One person does not a happy marriage make. It takes two, baby.
25. Money isn’t everything.
I’ve always heard that the number one gripe in marriages is money problems; don’t fight over money. Don’t stress over money. Don’t spend all the money and accuse the other of buying too much or say that you never get to buy anything. Things? Things mean nothing. However, a good marriage is priceless.
26. Compliment the other.
It’s always nice to get a compliment. But giving a compliment, a sincere one that makes the other person feel good, is just common sense. I mean, seriously, you are totally rocking those jeans.
27. Be present.
Today is a new day! A fresh day unto which you can start over. Let today be today, and don’t let the tiny things leak into tomorrow. And those sweet little funny things all equal a big part of your life. That roof leak won’t seem so big and the dishes will totally get cleaned and the laundry pile that seems endless will get washed and your crying baby will eventually fall asleep, promise. Someday you’ll yearn for the days when you had funny little house projects that crept up like annoyances and you’ll wish you had a little crying baby to rock in your arms. So enjoy today, together.
Lay in bed early in the morning or late at night and just chat. About stuff. Something funny you read in the paper or heard on the news. About that tv series starting up again on Friday. Tell him how you finally figured out the secret to better tasting coffee, and tell her about the blog you read every morning. Keep it light, and entertaining. Just little quiet chatter before the day begins or before bed. Don’t get so busy that you forget to have real conversations. Even those silly little ones, about whatever. It’s a really fun and easy way to connect.
30. Be faithful.
31. Be fun.
Life’s too short to take yourself so seriously all the time. Have fun. Be a fun person to be around. Don’t lose your kid-like sense of humor and whimsy.
32. Me time.
Equal parts of “me” time and “we” time are essential. It’s important to take time out for yourself to do things you enjoy, too.
33. Take a vacation.
Plan a trip together and go. Sometimes you just need a chance of scenery and a chance to kick back and relax. It can be on the cheap or a dream luxurious excursion. Plan ahead and save up, and then enjoy every minute of it. What are you waiting for?
34. Make decisions together.
35. Be someone they can confide in.
They should want to come to you to talk about things. Be someone that will listen. Be a secret keeper. A confidant. Cue the Golden Girls theme.
36. Complain with them.
We all need someone who will listen to our complaints about things that grind our gears and can help us be mad, too. Things like I can’t believe they would cancel Longmire! A&E is bonkers shows that you get it. You’re on their team. And we all could use somebody on our side.
37. Be grateful.
It’s been said that people who are grateful for what they have are the happiest people. Remember to be grateful for who you married, what they do to help you, and how they improve your life. Remember why you married them and put your love into action. Don’t waste a day; enjoy every day you have together because life is unpredictable.
What tips to a happy marriage would you add?
Add them with a comment below!