Keeping a marriage successful can be hard work. Need some pearls of wisdom to help yours along? Here, happily married TODAYshow.com readers offer their secrets to wedded bliss, from laughing a lot to — yes — removing your wedding rings on the weekend.
“Always view your partner as an extension of yourself.” -Carolyn Jones, Montevallo, Ala.
“Always keep the communication lines open. Be each other’s best friend and talk to each other all the time. If you do not talk to each other, you will drift apart.” -T. and E. Russ, Temple Hills, Md.
“Do little things for one another. Leave a note in the car telling your wife you love her. Pick up your husband’s favorite candy bar or soft drink on your way home. Let your spouse know often that you appreciate him/her.” -Lindsey Parker, Bristol, Tenn.
“I met this man at a doctor’s office a few years ago. He and his wife had been married 70 years. I asked what the secret was and he looked around to make sure his wife was not in the room and said ‘Honey, sometimes, you just have to know when to keep your mouth shut.’ Wise advice indeed!” -Rachel White, Grapevine, Texas
“We just celebrated 30 years of marriage and asked ourselves ‘How did we get this far?’ The answer was simple: Laugh every day! Not at each other but with each other. Joy trumps anger every time!” -Barbara Plecker, North Port, Fla.
“Take 15! Whenever I want to tear into my husband of 32 years, I walk away for 15 minutes. After that, if it was important enough to fight over, I'm calm enough to discuss the issue rationally. If it wasn't, why fight? The 15 minute rule has stopped a lot of nasty fights.” -Cipra Domnitz, Las Vegas, Nev.
“Always say please and thank you. Even ‘take out the garbage’ sounds nicer if you say please before, and thank you after he does it. We try to teach our children to say please and thank you. Why do we forget to be courteous to the one person we live with and love?” -Sharon Robinson, Port Orchard, Wash.
“Forget being married on the weekends. Take your rings off and treat your spouse like you did when you were dating. My husband and I do this and we haven’t had a fight in 10 years of dating.” -Geneva Mabry, Sandy Hook, Ky.
“Always remember, no matter how long you and your partner have been together, they still can’t read your mind! Think of it before you argue or getting angry at the other person for not doing something you think they should have.” -Danielle Covich, Tempe, Ariz.
“Allow each other time to spend with family and friends. Being apart from each other will make your heart grow fonder.” -Melissa Sheehan, Norman, Okla.
“The best tip I can give is to ‘keep dating.’ I have been married for 14 years, but as the years passed my wife and I started to take advantage of the fact we knew each other so well. I was unfaithful, and my wife almost left me. After seeing a counselor, we learned that it was time to take time for ourselves. It has now been two years, and although we have five kids, we still take time for ourselves and go on dates together, even if it is just for ice cream. It feels like we are newlyweds.” -Christian Trujillo, Aurora, Colo.
“My husband and I are each other’s best friend. We don't try to change one another. We are what we are, and we accept both the good and the bad.” -Tiana Hodge, Hagerstown, Md.
“We share and hour each night, just us, no television, pets, anyone or anything else. It's our time: time to talk about the day, our hopes, our future. Communication has always been our front line in the defense of our marriage. We're best friends as well as spouses.” -Karen Angove, Tulsa, Okla.
“Every argument or fight gets resolved before we go to sleep; either through an apology or promise. I have only broken this rule once very early in my marriage and it was hell to sleep knowing that it hadn’t been resolved.” -Joon Lee, Culver City, Calif.
“It is most important to know yourself before you can be with someone else. You need to know your wants, hopes, insecurities. You also need to be able to communicate honestly, and have an open, trusting relationship. Trust is the key to a healthy relationship. Lastly, compromise is essential, you need to always try to see things from your partner’s point of view. Everything in life, and in a marriage isn’t always black and white.” -Anonymous , Custer, S.D.
“While waiting for our flight to our honeymoon destination nearly three years ago a man we were waiting with gave us some advice. He said: Every day you wake up, think to yourself ‘What can I do for my husband/wife to make them have a special day?’ I wake up every morning and this is the first thing that crosses my mind. It really helps keep our marriage happy!” -Amanda Fields, Ashland, Ky.
“My advice after an eight year marriage is always take the time to laugh, show or say how much you love your partner. We get caught up with the norm of our busy lives and sometimes take for granted what counts the most. When times get rough you tough it out together. Most of all, as the years go by, remember how it was in the beginning.” -Gigi Henderson, Miami, Fla.
“Have no expectations. Twenty-six years ago I had a picture of the ideal marriage. As soon as I let go of my expectations and just let things run their course we went from tension to partnership. This doesn’t mean letting things run any which way, keep communication open, but don’t force your expectations on your partner and your promise from the altar will build to a great relationship.” -Anonymous, Pa.