The dos and don'ts of making your marriage last

There are a few dos and don’ts that couples need to understand and act upon in order for their marriage to last. These simple actions will not only help a marriage last, but will fill it with genuine happiness.

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  • There are a few simple do's and don'ts that couples need to understand and act upon in order for their marriage to last. We'll start with the do's and end with a couple of don'ts.

  • Do get rid of the "if" factor

  • Couples need to dismiss any thought of wondering if their marriage will last. Instead, they need to be determined that it will and ask themselves, "How can we make our marriage last." Being committed to that goal is the first step in making it happen.

  • Do care more about pleasing your mate than yourself

  • That doesn't mean you don't take care of yourself, it's just means you pay more attention to what would please your mate. When you do that, an amazing thing happens. He or she feels loved, even cherished. Ralph Waldo Emerson explains this: "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Kindness and loving gestures toward your mate will come back to you. It's nature's compensation plan. It makes for a happy marriage.

  • Do compliment your spouse

  • These compliments need to be sincere, so look for the things you really like about your mate. Then, don't just think it, speak it. When you wife looks pretty, tell her. "Wow, you look gorgeous in that dress!" Or, "That was a really yummy dinner you fixed tonight." Or, "Love those muscles! You're the man!" or "Our kids are so lucky to have you for a daddy. That was so sweet the way you helped Jimmy when he fell." We all like compliments when they are genuine.

  • Do talk about what is troubling you

  • If something is in the more-than-a-little-annoying category, talk about it with your spouse. Maybe he's not hanging up his clothes and it's bugging you. Talk about a plan to keep your home neat, with both of you helping. Maybe it's that she's spending beyond the budget. Calmly sit down and make a financial plan together, without pointing an accusing finger in her face. That doesn't work. Try saying, "I'm concerned about our financial situation. Let's work together and make a plan." When couples face the issues that trouble them without letting them linger and fester then the marriage has a far greeter chance of succeeding.

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  • Don't mention your spouse's faults to others

  • Talking negatively about your spouse to friends or family is a betrayal. If something's bothering you, forget about it, or talk to your spouse about it. Any kind of gossip is hurtful, but when it's about your mate it's like throwing a hand grenade into your relationship. Don't do it. The only exception is abuse: that needs to be reported.

  • Don't mentally focus on the negatives

  • We all have areas that need improvement. Look, instead, for the positives in your mate. When negative thoughts come into your mind regarding your spouse, replace them with something about him or her that you admire. It will chase the negative thought away every time.

  • If couples work on these simple dos and don'ts their marriage can't help but last. Not only will it last, it will be filled with happiness.

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Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships.


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