SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage, According to Experts

All the good fairy tales end with the iconic phrase "and they lived happily ever after."

Posted: Oct 13, 2017 1:10 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 1:42 PM

Shaelynn Miller, FamilyShare

All the good fairy tales end with the iconic phrase "and they lived happily ever after." Children love listening to those magical stories of love and adventure, but as we grow older, we start to think happily ever afters only exist in books and movies.

While you might not live blissfully the rest of your life, with some work, you can have the happy marriage you've always dreamed of. Here are seven secrets to a happy marriage, according to experts:

Take the long way home

One sure way to keep your marriage going strong is to spend time together. Researchers found that married people felt twice as happy when they were around their spouse versus when they weren't. So take the long way home when you're out running errands together or stay up a little while after the kids have gone to bed to talk about your day. Boost your happiness and strengthen your marriage by giving your spouse that much-needed attention.

Learn to love their quirks

You can't change your spouse, so love them (flaws and all). The only way both of you can be truly happy is if you accept each other's faults and try to become better each day. Marriage expert Dr. Paul Schoenfeld says when you accept your partner for who they are, your can foster peace and happiness in your relationship.

"You didn't marry a clone of yourself!" he said. "And if you did, you might be divorced already!"

His witty remark is true; you'd probably bore each other if you and your partner were too much alike. Embrace your spouse's quirks — it's part of what makes them who they are.

Set your own traditions

There's a difference between routines and rituals. Routines and rituals are both things you do every day, but rituals have meaning. For example, eating dinner is a routine, but you can make it a ritual by taking that time to ask your spouse about their day.

Dr. John Gottman says marriage is more than just raising children and splitting chores. "It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together — a culture rich with rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you, that lead you to understand what it means to be a part of the family you have become," he said.

Continue some of your family traditions and consider creating some of your own to give meaning to the things you do together.

Flirt with each other

You might think, "Why flirt? We aren't dating." If you're not, why aren't you? Keep dating your spouse all throughout your marriage. And we all know part of dating is flirting. Making cute remarks to your spouse is an ego-booster and a fun way to let your spouse know you always find them attractive, marriage expert Sheri Stritofsays. For a happy marriage, spontaneously wink at your spouse, kiss them on the cheek and tell them how great they look.

Create a relationship mission statement

Mission statements aren't only for your job. Marriage expert Ellen Hartson says creating a statement for your relationship can help you focus on what's truly important.

She asks couples, "If you are willing to spend time thinking about your organization's goals and strategies, then shouldn't you be willing to invest time thinking about your relationship?"

Find the root of the problem

One day my husband and I were driving through busy interstate traffic — I gasped as our brakes skidded and our car came to a complete stop to what seemed like inches behind the car in front of us. My reaction offended him, and I was confused when he was so upset. What he said next opened my eyes to the real issue: "It makes me feel like you don't trust my driving," he said. I then realized the issue wasn't surface-level.

Experts say "emotions are at the heart of virtually all marital problems." In other words, some issues have underlying meaning. When you notice an argument starting to form, take a step back and ask your spouse to express how they feel and why. This allows you to focus on the real root of the problem.

Put the dishes away

Do the little things your spouse loves. Rub their shoulders after a long day, hold their hand at the grocery store or clear the dishes after dinner. Author and relationship expert Shaunti Feldhahn says even the simplest actions carry a lot of power. They're so powerful, in fact, that she says it can transform the relationship even if only one person is doing them. If you make an effort to do little things for your spouse, Feldhahn says you'll discover they aren't so little after all.

Whether you believe your marriage is struggling or is doing better than ever, all couples can benefit by continuing to work at their relationship every day. Ask yourself what you can do to make your spouse's day better, and do it. As long as you keep working together, you can have your happily ever after.

 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
Medford
Partly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 93°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
96° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 93°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
Numerous Tuesday Thunderstorms
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events