Strengthen the bond of marriage (illustration)
Strengthen the bond of marriage (illustration) istock

How to bring more love and joy into your own marriage.

Happiness in a relationship takes a daily conscious effort and healthy habits. Avoid these negative behaviors and attitudes and see how you can bring more love and joy into your own marriage.

1.They don’t complain about their spouse to their friends or family. Happy couples know that it’s best not to involve others in their marriage. They talk directly to their spouse if they have an issue instead of consulting others who often may provide negative feedback that could hurt the relationship. There is nothing wrong with healthy ‘girl’ or ‘guy’ time but don’t use it as an opportunity to complain about your spouse.

2.They don’t compare their spouse to others. Happy couples accept and love their spouse as is. They know that comparing their spouse to others is unrealistic and unfair and will leave them feeling insecure about their marriage. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, even if it looks like it is.

3.They don’t blame each other. Happy couples take responsibility for their feelings and their role in the relationship. They ask for what they need instead of wallowing in self-pity or blaming their spouse for their situation.

4.They aren’t too serious. Happy couples know how to experience joy and have fun. They “date” regularly and laugh. Even when life throws you a curveball and things are extremely stressful, they work at keeping things light and fun.

5.They don’t criticize. They look for the good in their spouse and when they are upset, they learn how to ask for their needs in a sensitive way. Happy couples know that criticism only tears the other down and creates a rupture in their relationship. If your spouse is doing something you don’t like, pay attention to why it’s bothering you and learn how to talk about it in a safe way.

6.They don’t ignore their finances. Happy couples know that financial stress puts pressure on a marriage. They’re in communication about their financial goals so that they can make responsible decisions for their future together. If money is a topic you would rather not discuss, know that avoiding it will make money matters worse.

7.They avoid mind reading. Happy couples know how to communicate so that they both are aware of each other’s needs and feelings. No matter how connected they feel, they don’t expect their spouse to know what they want or how they are feeling. They spell it out clearly. If you are not getting the attention you need, tell your partner.

8.They don’t nag. Happy couples encourage each other instead of pressuring. They find ways to support each other which serves as a natural motivator, as opposed to nagging which often backfires. If your husband is out of work, instead of nagging him to go on job interviews, try to raise his morale with your love and support, even if it seems scary. Your genuine encouragement and trust in him will motivate him to move forward.

9.They don't withhold or forget about intimacy. Happy couples are intimate physically and realize that it is an essential part of a healthy marriage. They increase their bond by focusing on each other's needs. Even if life gets busy don't neglect this important aspect of your relationship.

10.They don't have one foot out the door. Happy couples are committed to each other, even when the going gets tough. They don't enter the relationship with an exit strategy in case it doesn't work out. If you're committed to your relationship, you will be present enough to put in the work that it takes to create a great relationship.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin MS, LCPC is a Certified IMAGO Relationship Therapist working with couples worldwide. If your marriage requires more immediate assistance, download your free copy of Rabbi Slatkin’s new book, 

The 5 Step Action Plan to a Happy & Healthy Marriage.