Houston Chronicle

As much as we’d like to believe that being in love is a fairy tale, the reality of it is that relationships require a lot of work. Working on your marriage isn’t a negative thing — it means you are choosing each other despite the challenges life throws at you. These five tips can help any marriage be stronger and last longer.

Learn Each Other’s Love Languages

While one person may show their love in a certain way, like giving gifts, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d like to receive gifts as well. You don’t have to read the book, but you should take the time to understand what each of you perceives as love and adjust to what your spouse needs.

Think Like A Team

When it comes to supporting your spouse and making decisions, teamwork is what makes the dream work. If your spouse has a hobby that you’re not that into, support it anyways and try to understand why they like it. As for making decisions, discuss them together beforehand, and when you have kids, make sure you show a united front.

Understand Your Communication Styles

When things get heated, we all tend to handle things differently. If you find that your spouse tends to raise their voice, but you choose to go silent, make sure you are finding a middle ground and staying connected when an argument arises. This is especially important if you’re raising kids together.

Keep Dating

With obligations and to-do lists that add up, it becomes easy to forget to fit in time for date nights and romance. Try committing to one day per month where you alternate the responsibility of planning the date. Dating each other even after marriage and kids will help the connection stay alive.

Don’t Place Blame

Instead of telling the other person why you are mad at them or what they did wrong, try and connect with what you are really feeling about the situation. When we place blame on the other person, it becomes defense versus offense and does not allow for a civil conversation. Realizing that you aren’t against each other is key to a successful marriage.