Top Ten Ways to Help Your Marriage

  1. Listen to your partner with the intent to understand what your spouse is saying.  One way to be sure you understand is to repeat back what you heard.
  2. Look for ways to tell your spouse how much you appreciate them and give examples at least once a day.
  3. Be generous with hugs and/or a kiss.  A good time to do this when you are leaving for work and when arriving home.
  4. Recognize that disagreements or conflicts are a normal part of relationships.  If the argument is excalating, be sure to take a time out with an agreement to talk after you each have calmed down.
  5. Look for ways to share hopes and dreams with each other.
  6. Be willing to listen to a recap of the work day or a day at home.  This allows your spouse to let go of tension.
  7. Treat each other with respect.  Let your spouse know when you are going to be late or the unexpected happens.
  8. Establish rules for parenting your children.  Support each other in the process.   If a difficult issue occurs, discuss how to handle it if possible.  If one parent has to make an on the spot decision, support and don’t undermine that decision.
  9. Use those three most important words “I love you” frequently.  Let your spouse know how much you care.
  10. Plan one activity that you can do together away from family at least once per week.  This doesn’t need to be expensive.  If you have children, this will need to be planned in advance.  It helps to plan for the same day or evening each week when possible.

Let me know what your views are of these top ten.  Are there others suggestions that you would include?


Photo Credit: Gareth Williams


About Arlene H. Johnson


  1. Arlene, great list! If couples could do just these 10 things, instead of trying to fix their partner, their marriages would be so much stronger. It is do much easier for us to see the speck in our partner’s eye then to notice the log in our own. It is always a challange to see ourselves as others see us. Nice blog.

  2. Arlene,

    These are all such common-sense and practical tips–and all easy to forget when we are tired, frustrated, anxious or tense. Thanks for the reminders.


  3. Hi Arlene,
    You sure have covered the basics. Each one can be pretty hard to do and can take a lot of education. But that’s where you come in, don’t you? Thanks.

  4. The basics are easy to forget. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Hi Arlene – I love these common sense tips. Um, I think LISTENING is a skill that should be taught in school. Most people dont know how to dialog with a partner….I teach Gottman’s social skills to people in my practice and structured listening is always a challenge to get across!

  6. Simple, not but not always easy. I’d recommend preceding #1 with a deep breath! Cliche or not, I also like the old advice to never go to bed angry.

  7. These are all great tips. #10 is SUPER hard for my husband and me, though! Fortunately, our daughter sleeps well at night now, so we are intentional in spending time together on our back porch or watching a favorite show together while sharing a glass of wine – it’s almost like she’s not there, but we can’t leave the house.

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