Anyone who is married knows how difficult it is to keep the magic alive. As the years go by, hair starts to thin and go grey, clothes start to fit a little tighter, and wedding gifts begin to look like antiques – even the best marriage can begin to feel stale. Don’t despair! There are some things you can do to get the proverbial train back on track (or keep it from going off), and they’re definitely not rocket science!

  1. Be nice. Be at least as nice to your spouse as you are to your neighbours and co-workers. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when your partner can tick you off in a hundred different ways (and all before noon!) it is sometimes hard to put your best foot forward. Whenever you feel like being curt or sarcastic or petty, remember this is the person you made some pretty hefty promises to…
    and be nice.
  2. Remember birthdays and anniversaries. This has been said often enough that it shouldn’t need to be repeated – but it most certainly does! Yes, it’s easy to procrastinate, to forget, or even to decide that there’s no big problem in letting it slide for just one year. Whatever the reason, it’s a sure thing that your spouse will NOT understand and that he/she WILL be hurt. So… just do it! Mark the dates on your calendar early enough that there’s zero possibility for error.
  3. Stay on good terms with the in-laws. Your brother-in-law may be the worst bigot in the county, and your mother-in-law may relish every opportunity to criticise your home decorating. No matter. Always put out the welcome mat when they drop by your place, and bestow a compliment or two – resort to white lies if necessary – when you’re a guest in their home. Whatever your partner thinks of his/her family, you won’t get any brownie points for slighting them.
  4. Don’t talk too much about your ex(es). You may need to stay in touch with one or more of your old flames (particularly if there are children involved), but it never helps to say more than necessary about those previous significant others – whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. They represent a part of your life that is closed and which your spouse has no reason to reopen – so don’t discuss any predecessor(s) to your affections more than is absolutely necessary.
  5. When your spouse is sick, nurse them. Bring a fresh box of tissues and pile high the blankets. Deliver pills and beverages and dispose of anything that looks contaminated. It may not be pleasant (beware body fluids), and your partner may not thank you at the time – in fact, you may be told to get lost – but it’s always a good idea. When your loved one is at a weak point, you need to be there to help. Your good deed will certainly be remembered.

It takes a lot of dedication, considerable perseverance and more than a little luck to build a happy marriage. These five tips won’t provide everything you’ll need, but they may keep you from stepping into some quicksand along the way and hopefully bring happiness and fulfilment back into
your relationship.

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