28 Little Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Marriage Happier

It's not diamonds and flowers that make a marriage, but the little things—and taking these small, simple steps over time will yield bigger, happier results.

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Say thank you at least once a day

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You thank others for little courtesies, but do you thank your partner? To avoid taking each other for granted, try to show your appreciation at least once a day. Say it like you mean it—even if it's in response to something that's his or her "job" (like washing the dishes). If there's something you appreciate, large or small, speak up!

Do something for your partner that you did when you were newlyweds

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Bake a batch of homemade brownies. Send flowers just because. Tuck little notes into his briefcase or leave private messages on her voice mail. Not only will you generate new emotional connections, but thinking back on your honeymoon period will also help you reconnect to those warm memories. Here's marriage advice for newlyweds every couple could use.

Reintroduce meaningful conversation into your relationship

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When you were courting, did you talk for hours about current events or the meaning of life? And now all you seem to talk about now is the grocery list or how much to spend on a new sofa? Asking about each other's day isn't enough. Try this: One night while you're in front of the TV or in the car, make a remark about something your partner deeply cares about that's bigger than the both of you—sports, politics, anything to get the ball rolling.

Get active together

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Have you both packed on a few pounds since your wedding day? Find a physical activity you both enjoy and exercise together to make your bodies and marriage healthier. Play tennis, jump in the pool, or head to the batting cages so you can support each other while you work on your health. These are ways you can even lose weight walking.

Each morning ask, "What's on your calendar?"

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Does he have a big meeting? Is she dreading a phone call to an important client? Is she having lunch with an old friend? Talking about the daily details of your lives is just as important as sharing hopes, dreams, and fears, so asking about those details is a great way to build understanding and rapport. And don't forget to ask how that meeting, phone call, or lunch turned out. Your thoughtfulness will make your partner feel loved and cared for. These are other tiny ways to make your spouse feel loved.

Treat your spouse with respect and admiration in public

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Whether you're at a party, a business meeting, or just strolling down the street, give him or her subtle signals of your connection. Hold his hand. Smile at her. Put your arm around her. And never, ever, make fun of your partner in public.

Walk out disagreements

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When you and your partner are at odds, ask if he'd like to go for a walk to hash things out. Being outdoors and walking at a steady pace can melt away the tension so it's easier to talk honestly, form compromises, or apologize. Avoid these phrases that can make any fight way worse.

Learn how to let things go

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Wet towel on the floor? Resist the urge to complain. While it's irritating, it will undoubtedly happen again... and again... and again. Instead, recite a modified Serenity Prayer: "I accept the things I cannot change." You'll be amazed at how quickly your resentment melts away. Another tip: Try to air grievances at the same time each week in a formal meeting (no TV or phones). If you discuss what's bothering you in a structured, formal way, issues won't come up so often at other times, and if they do, you'll be able to discuss them more calmly. Here are mental tricks to avoid complaining when you feel annoyed.

Learn how to ask nicely

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You want him to hang a shelf? Mow the lawn? Asking her to throw in a load of laundry? Make sure you ask, rather than demand. We all tend to respond better to requests than orders. For example, instead of saying, "You should...," say, "Could you...?" And instead of saying, "Why didn't you...?" say, "Next time it would help me if you could try to..."

Sneak in a morning snuggle

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Cuddling before bed is a nice way to end the day, but it’s an even better routine to start your morning with. Set your alarm five minutes earlier than usual to give yourself time to snuggle close. You don’t have to say a word (this is pre-coffee, after all), but connecting physically before starting your morning will make you feel closer and more secure through the rest of the day.

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