30 Happily Married People Give Their Best Advice For Maintaining A Good Relationship

1. No One’s A Mind Reader

You can’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. Ever. Just say the words out loud.


2. Just Talk

FUCKING THIS! My husband and I’ve been married for 14 years. Our marriage almost dissolved twice. The first time, we went to therapy and he learned to talk to me (it was like talking* to a brick wall before then). The second time was because neither of us made time to talk to each other.

Now, we put our kid to bed, go outside and smoke a bowl, and just fucking talk. No judgements, no yelling, just honest open discussion. And our marriage has never been stronger. It’s been almost 3 years since we started doing this.

Just talk to your spouse, people.


3. Goals

Help your partner achieve his/her goals with love and kindness.


4. It’s Not Just About Love

15 years coming up in May. Marriage is not built on romantic feelings but on loyalty, trust, communication and perseverance. Every day I make the choice to spend the rest of my life with this man.


5. Love Isn’t a Feeling

I got married this past June. I called my mom up the weekend right before Valentines Day just to talk. She said how happy she was for us and mentioned how this is our first Valentine’s day together, etc. I told her I’m glad she and my dad stayed together and made it work so well for so long.

Then she casually said something really astute. I already knew it was true, but the way she worded it makes a lot of sense:

“Love isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision.”

That’s how marriages work — because you decide you’re going to make to work, regardless of the shit you go through and annoyances and whatever comes up.

Now, this didn’t mean anyone should decide to tolerate abuse or bad situations. But a marriage requires both people to make the decision they want to be together. You can’t rely on some magical feeling or mystical experience. It’s a conscious decision to spend your lives together.


6. The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

They’re not going to fold your underwear the way you do it but does it really matter? If you criticize every little thing they do, they’re not going to want to be around you for long.


7. Constructive Comments

Don’t say anything unless its constructive is what my husband and I live by. We get over arguments real fast that way.


8. Knowing When To Shut Up

Knowing when to shut up but also when to talk.

My brother in law talked about how his ex girlfriend would just start talking and talking when he would go to bed. Him dozing off and falling asleep, it wasn’t the right moment for communication. She would just talk and talk and eventually say that he never listened to her.

If your man is doing something that requires focus or he’s just caught up in something, hobby or otherwise : it’s not the right time.

If your man is asleep : it’s not the right time.


9. A Few Simple Thoughts

I’ll mention some things that haven’t been touched on:

Grace. The other person is human. They’re going to F up. You have to accept that (within reason) and understand that you also F up. Forgiveness goes hand in hand with that.

Learn to let sh*t go. There will be epic issues for some marriages. But once you’ve put something to bed..it’s done. You don’t get to bring it up or hold it over their head or use it as a weapon.

It’s not about you. Marriage is not for the selfish. Everyday you have to wake up and be willing to serve. I don’t mean be subservient, it shouldn’t be a power struggle. It’s about doing what’s best for your marriage and your spouse.

You choose to love someone. You have a wedding once. You marry someone every day. You recommit yourself to them every day.

Learn to embrace quirks. For example, my husband, everyday, without fail, will come in and take off his shoes and socks and leave his socks wherever they get taken off. It drives me batty but my God, if one day he didn’t walk through the door and yeet them off his feet…I’d be devastated. Because that means he’s gone.

Set boundaries for self respect. Don’t put up with certain things but pick your battles. He can throw his socks wherever but I’m not his maid, either.


10. Being Comfortable And Happy

21 years together, 14 married this year. You and your SO should be comfortable and happy, and yes that’s obvious but so many people “get bored ” and either leave or start running around. If you cannot sit in silence with your spouse, as well as go and be spontaneous together, then you need to figure out why. I know so many married people who are absolutely horrid to each other. I asked one friend ” would you be friends with spouse if you weren’t married?” She said no. That’s so sad and guaranteed to eventually end in disaster unless something is done. Be each other’s best friends. Lust eventually may disappear, but the friendship and comfort you give each other will keep you going.


11. Appreciation

Saying “thank you” is a big one in my house. Thank you for mowing the lawn, getting the kids to the bus stop, doing the dishes, calling the guy about the thing… life can be a little nuts in the stage we’re in and it’s nice to be acknowledged and thanked for the day-to-day things.


12. Everyone Needs Space

Honestly, space. Give each other space. Do different things, have different hobbies. It’ll help you grow as people and bring new, fresh perspectives to each other.


13. No Dissing

Don’t talk bad about your spouse. Even in private.


14. Pride

Swallow your pride. Don’t be afraid to just stop bickering and say I’m sorry, even if you think you have the better argument. It’s not worth it.


15. Apologies and Bending

But don’t be like I was in my most recent relationship and always be the one who apologizes even if you weren’t the one at fault.

If your partner isn’t willing to bend a little in your direction, you shouldn’t run yourself ragged trying to please them.

Also LPT: If you ask for an apology for something shitty, and she says “Apologies are meaningless”… run, just fucking run.


16. Don’t Put Work Above All Else

Work can’t come first. If you put work first the rest will fail.


17. Vacations Are Important

Take trips together, as often as possible, WITHOUT THE KIDS. Date nights won’t cut it; you need extended time away to focus on each other and talk about goals/dreams and to remember why you’re together.

If vacations are out of the budget, send the kids to grandparents or trade off with friends and have a staycation—but DO NOT use the time to do house repairs!! Have picnics, go for walks in local parks, find free museum days, do vacation stuff in your own town.

Source: been married 30 years, have an empty nest and still enjoy being together.


18. Continue Dating

Continue to act like you are courting your spouse. Date Nights. Physical affection. Words and gestures of love. Keep winning her over and trying to surprise him/her in little ways. In short, put in the work to keep it fresh.


19. No Comparing

Don’t compare your marriage to others! Do what works for y’all. Separate bedrooms? Separate vacations? No kids? Kids? The list goes on — do what works best for you and your SO. Same advice on parenting!!


20. Your Partner Is Not You

Recognize that your partner is not you. They have a separate brain and self-awareness and perception of the world. They have a whole set of different life experiences, and consequently, a whole different way of seeing, reacting, and understanding. No, they aren’t going to do something exactly the way you would do it. No, their first instinct might not be your first instinct. No, they are not you. And you know what? That’s why you’re with them.


21. Don’t Keep Score

Never keep score. It doesn’t matter if you did dishes last. If the dishes need done and you have time, do them.


22. Communication Is Key

Learn how to communicate. This means, see things from their side, validate their opinions, even if you disagree with them, and don’t critique and blame them for every small thing.

Being happy together is the easy part. The hard part is navigating away from heated arguments.


23. Reasonable Expectations

I first said this as a joke but quickly realized that there is a lot of truth in this statement:

“The secret to a happy marriage is low expectations.”

Keep all expectations of your spouse reasonable and well communicated.


24. Being Honest Always

Going on 12 years over here. I gotta say it’s honesty. Sometimes brutal honesty. The most powerful bond is trust.

I know my wife will always be honest no matter how important the subject matter is.

Lying and dishonesty can break realities. Having that understanding of sharing everything, even if the truth hurts at first, is what makes us a power couple.

Also, it is SO helpful to have someone in my life who isn’t afraid to tell me “Hey, you would look way better in this outfit than the one you’re wearing” before I go and make a buffoon of myself. 😂


25. Respect

Be respectful. Treat your significant other better, not worse, than a random or a store worker. Don’t have assumptions about relationships that you haven’t put into words. Don’t be a dick. Don’t keep score. Don’t put up with bullshit. Don’t cause bullshit. Remember both of you can leave at any time. There are no chains, you’re only together tomorrow if you both agree to that. Don’t have pointless rules. Don’t make ultimatums you don’t mean. Don’t sulk, use your words. Be nice for no reason. Don’t listen to the people who say marriage shouldn’t be an effort and don’t listen to the people who say it’s really hard work. Learn your partner’s boundaries and respect them even if you don’t understand them. Have financial conversations early on.


26. Problem Solving Together

Marriage isn’t about having a relationship without problems, it’s about having a relationship that solves problems effectively.


27. Do Things Together And Apart

Have your own space. Your own hobbies. Your own friends. Separate vacations.

Do stuff together too of course, just don’t forget about yourself.

22 years and going strong because we spend time together intentionally, not exclusivity.

Edit: I think we got lost on the “separate vacations” part. Maybe I should have said “travel” or “take trips”?

Let me spell it out more clearly: I like camping, my wife doesn’t. She has a best friend a 5 hour flight away, I don’t want to have to go too, but don’t want to keep her from her friend. We definitely travel together and enjoy those trips where we have mutual interests.

I’m encouraged by the posts of partners that enjoy their time together, my advice is to not let togetherness eliminate your own wants and needs. That all.


28. Heal Yourself

Work on your shit. Everyone has baggage. Work on it individually and together. Talk to each other. Flirt with your SO. Make each other laugh. Be your weird-ass self and let them be their weird-ass self.


29. Conflict Styles

Understanding different conflicts styles.

I took an interpersonal conflict class for my com minor and it has been one of the most helpful things in my marriage. In the class, I learned that people go about arguing in different ways and sometimes they can clash. I yell when I get upset and my husband gets quiet and withdraws, which makes me more upset so I yell more, which leads to him withdrawing more. Understanding how we each respond and working to come closer to the middle has helped keep us from spiraling when we do fight.

Also, we each have our own blankets which makes bedtime a lot calmer.


30. Best Friends And Lovers

Work always to be ‘best friends & lovers’. Never forget the mental or physical sides of marriage. Oh – and laugh a lot..

Married 50 years next year.