Marriage is not easy. When you've seen people who make it 10, 15, and 30 years together, you know you are looking at two people who have fought, compromised, and stayed committed to one another through a lot. There's a lot to be learned from these people.
But marriages don't fail from big problems, at least not all the time. Very often, people end up splitting over the small things, especially once the small things add up.
With this in mind, I asked around for small ways that people can improve their love and their marriage today. This doesn't include therapy or any major effort on the part of anyone. These are small things that can make a big difference. So here are 10 important ways you can improve your marriage right now.
Apologize when you are wrong: Forget pride. If you realize you are wrong in a fight, admit it and say you are sorry. It will make a world of difference in terms of staying close.
Imagine the other person gone during a fight: There is no better way to stop a fight than to imagine losing or missing the other person. That sadness? That tightness in your chest? That's the love you feel for them.
Laugh more: For me, this is the biggest secret to 10 years of marriage. My husband and I crack each other up. We roll on the floor laughing and genuinely enjoy each other's company. This is what keeps us strong.
Arrange weekly meetings: If you have young kids and two careers, there is nothing more important than having weekly "meetings." It may not be romantic, but neither is nagging, and this curbs that a lot. From a friend who has started them: "It has been very helpful from a practical side of just getting through everyday life as a team." Amen.
Schedule sex: It's not romantic, but in our busy lives, it's necessary. Pencil it in, because you know what's less romantic? A sexless marriage.
Talk about the little things: Talk about the big things, but also discuss the little things. Talk and then talk some more. The more you talk, the more you learn.
Have your own life: No one likes someone with no friends. So get hobbies. Get friends. Get a life! Now! It will make your spouse appreciate you more.
Remember to thank the other person: It's true. However small it seems, remember to say thanks for small things, even if they are expected. "Hey, thanks for making dinner tonight." It creates a lot of goodwill and helps each person feel appreciated.
Stop yelling: No one is suggesting you stop fighting. Some fights are needed. But stop yelling. And name calling. And fighting dirty. Trust me.
Hold hands: Even when you are mad at each other, just touch. Whether it's in bed or out of bed. Sometimes the simple act of touching one another can help curb angry feelings.