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Couples & Married

5 Tips for a Better Marriage

By Aly Walansky

Here are 5 surprising ways to have a better marriage.

I’m single, and nowhere near marriage — that said, I’ve seen the signs of good (and bad) relationships, and the same holds true for marriages.

happy coupleA lot of research has gone into this, and we all know it to be true: Being in a happy marriage contributes to better health. For example, happily married spouses have better immunity and lower rates of cancer and respiratory diseases, less mental illness and longer life, and fewer migraines. They are more likely to be physically active, and they even heal faster from wounds and injuries!

What many people don’t realize is that unhappy marriages can make you unhealthier as well. One study showed that unhappy marriages can increase your chances of becoming ill by 35 percent!

If you want to be healthier, you need to make your marriage healthier and happier too.

Here are 5 surprising ways to do it, shared by Psychologist Terri Orbuch PhD, known as The Love Doctor, the project director of the landmark, NIH-funded Early Years of Marriage Project.

Don’t shy away from conflict.

Couples were asked if they have tensions or differences about 6 topics: money, own family, spouse’s family, how to spend leisure time, religious beliefs, and children. Those couples who said “no” or “we never disagree” to all six topics were also the couples who were not very happy over time! The take away: Learning to face conflict and deal with it in a healthy, productive manner makes marriages happier.

Keep relationship talk to a minimum.

The happily married couples in the study do not spend a lot of time in conscious relationship maintenance or talk. In fact, the study showed that men, in particular, do not enjoy relationship talk, and associate it with marital problems, blame, or unhappiness. Women, on the other hand, have a positive association with relationship talk. The take away: Wives should pick their battles when it comes to talking about the relationship and their feelings.

Verbalize feelings you think he/she already knows.

A whopping 74 percent of the happy couples in the EYM study said their spouses “often” made them feel good about the kind of person they are (as opposed to 27 percent of moderately happy or unhappy couples). The take away: Even though it seems obvious that you’d pick him/her all over again if given the chance, let your spouse know, on a regular basis, that you like, adore, admire, and respect lots of different things about him or her.

Focus on good sex, not lots of it.

In a surprising finding from the marriage study, 75 percent of happy couples reported that sex became less frequent over time, but the same number (75%) said they were satisfied with their sex life. Why? Because 8 out of 10 couples felt that sex was just as enjoyable as it was when they first met — and in most cases, more enjoyable. The take away: Sex is essential to marital happiness, but quality is more important than quantity.

Live in peace with in-laws.

Although in-law relationships can be stressful and challenging, when a spouse doesn’t get along with his or her partner’s family, it’s detrimental to the happiness in the marriage. For the happy couples in my study, both wives and husbands got along (or at least felt close) with their in-laws. The take-away: Patching up your in-law relationships strengthens your marriage bond.

Aly Walansky is LovingYou.com’s senior editor. Follow her on Twitter at @alywalansky.

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Reader Comments:

17 Responses to “5 Tips for a Better Marriage”

  1. Jason says:

    Good tips! But what do you do when your spouse stops telling you that they love you, knows they are in the wrong for their verbal abuse, drinking, and stealing your money. How do you patch up the wounds that were created and created the lack of these five important tips?

    • Caryl says:

      These sound like deal breakers in a relationship. If you can’t negotiate, that is come to an agreement that all this must stop then I think it’s time to walk away. To let someone abuse and steal from you doesn’t do your spouse any good either.

  2. Steve says:

    Get to a CODA meeting.

  3. Vickie says:

    First you do not want to blame them for your feelings of hurt. They may not realize that they are not meeting your needs. Let them know how much you love them and that you like to hear those words back. Let them know how it makes you feel, and then tell them you understand if they are struggling with something, and that you would like to help. Most of the time it is something else entirely and you were there for them to take it out on. If drinking is a problem, then gently bring it to their attention and ask if you can help. If it is stealing money, in a marriage everything should be together, and not yours and theirs. So first maybe talk about a budget and then what is left over you need to communicate on what you would like to do with it. And both of you agree on expenditures. Good Luck!

  4. emmanuel says:

    what will you do when you suspect your wife is cheating on you,and when she said it to ur face that the marriage is over

  5. Danitia says:

    What to do if ur partner dont feel easy around ur parent/ family?

  6. carrie says:

    say fuk u…n get someone who will respect u

  7. [...] Aly Walansky is LovingYou.com’s senior editor. Follow her on Twitter at @alywalansky. Article [...]

  8. Osego says:

    Good tips and so true. I can attest to them. I have been married to my husband for 17 years after 10 years of dating. We are still in love with each other and are best friends.

  9. CAROLINE says:

    what will you do if you are with your husband on bed and a phone call came in and is a lady that call him by 10mid night.

    • Crystal says:

      Caroline my dear, right then & there it better be a 911 emergency because if some women is calling my Husband at midnight, let’s just say, we want answers!!! Who is she? Why is she calling MY Husband? How does he know her? AND How did she get our phone#?
      Good Luck Caroline! He owes you respect & honesty. Whatever you do, don’t disrespect yourself by allowing him to lie to you, manipulate you or betray you! Plus no matter what, do not allow anyone to abuse you! I send you sisterly love & pray blessings for you!

  10. PRINCE ODINAKA says:

    very good tips! but what about when you spouse start telling you lies, does not trust you any more and became very sources. How will you put these into another five important tips?

  11. Shawn says:

    (the study showed that men, in particular, do not enjoy relationship talk, and associate it with marital problems, blame, or unhappiness. Women, on the other hand, have a positive association with relationship talk. The take away: Wives should pick their battles when it comes to talking about the relationship and their feelings)
    -> but on the other side of the World :–))) as i saw. Men in Germany, they do not want a talkative Women but they do not see theirselves talking toooooooo much than the Women. tsk! tsk! man, likes trouble!

  12. Good enough but what if the inlaws doesn”t want to see the wife after observing all this tips?

  13. Richie says:

    marriage now days has lost its herritage valuesdue to other cultures,so love for marriage bur love for money,

  14. Richie m says:

    marriage now days has lost its herritage values due to other cultures,so no love for marriage bur love for “money”

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