Photo by Sandro Crepulja

These tips may help you live happily ever after.

All that laughter and dancing—weddings are a lot of fun, but being married is not always a piece of cake. (Sometimes, it is more like the chunk frosting that went up your nose during the smash; good intentions, but the wrong outcome.) A lot of work goes into living the “happily ever after,” so whether you have been married for many years or just tied the knot, follow these helpful tips for a stronger, healthier, and happy bond.

First of all, remind yourself that even happy couples argue.

No marriage is happy all the days of your life. Like all relationships, there are arguments and ups and downs. So if you and your spouse are going through a rough patch or sometimes argue, this does not mean you are in an unhappy marriage. It means you are normal.

Here are the five-point recipes for a happy marriage:

1. Celebrate Good News. Divorce is not as much about high negative things as it is about low positive things. Research shows that couples who regularly celebrate good times have a higher stance of trust, commitment, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. It is not enough that your partner knows you take pride in their achievement. You have to show it. Making excitement over the small, good things that happen daily can boost your marriage health. 

2. Five To One. How many excellent moments do you need to compensate for the not-so-good ones? A study has a ratio for you: 5 to 1. There are at least five (5) times more positive interactions than negative ones in solid marriages. However, in a more practical sense, the point is that a single “I’m sorry” after nasty behavior is not enough. For every negative outburst or snide comment in a marriage, a person needs to work up the positives so the good-to-bad ratio does not fall to a dangerous level.

3. Keep Your Standards High. More and more individuals are told their marriage expectations are too high. Research says the reverse: individuals who expect more get more. People with idealistic standards who want to be treated well and enjoy romance and passion in their marriage end up getting that type of marriage. Couples who hold their partners to a reasonably high standard have the best weddings. If you expect a more satisfying, better relationship, you improve your chances of having one.

4. Do Not Expect Your Spouse To Make You Happy. Research shows that most people’s happiness returns to their natural baseline, even after very positive events like weddings. Happiness lies within the person, and expecting a spouse to change that forever is unfair and unrealistic. If you ranked your level of satisfaction as a six on a scale of 1 to 10, the events of your life would not change that. You will pretty much be a six-happy person all your life.

5. Have More Sex. Throughout a marriage, desire can lessen. Despite this, sex is healthy and has all physical and emotional benefits that should not be ignored. Over time, regular sex can improve your mood, make you more patient, dampen down anger, and lead to a better, more contented relationship.

Final Cook-Off

To be happy in marriage, couples must be willing to adapt and grow. Your needs are constantly changing, people are growing, and relationships evolve, so what couples need today may differ from what they need years from now. Flexing, bending, and pivoting with each other in a balanced dance is crucial. Because in successful marriages, each individual supports the other so that they can grow to become the best individual they can be, and that means maturing as persons and together as a team. Until death does you part.

For more inspiring tips, you can check the book by Jack Weaver, Going… Going…: The Abduction of a Mind. It is a journal of a couple’s fifteen-year journey along the trial of Alzheimer’s. Every excursion into the unknown of this disease is unique, and author Jack Weaver shares an account that will be different from any other you read. If you allow Jack and Janey to be your guides, they will lead you through sunny valleys of hope, swamps of despair, and up mountains of happiness; you will stop at vistas of grief and relief, and you will laugh and cry together.

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