Communication truly is the end all be all for healthy relationships of every variety. Setting and understanding boundaries and expectations, defining goals and dreams, and discussing life as it is now are all crucial to having a positive relationship experience. If you don't feel comfortable talking about a perceived wrongdoing, you won't be able to work past it and ensure that it doesn't happen again. Roger and I would have the biggest fights ever over the stupidest things when we first got married because we had different expectations from each other. Now we have fights over things that actually matter, and our fights are meaningful discussions that are productive instead of hurtful.
Just be nice. This one sounds the easiest, but it's really not. In the beginning of our marriage, we weren't kind to one another. We were mean and spiteful, and it wasn't helping anyone or anything. We have agreed to new rules of engagement and have a way of dealing with pains now that is nice. Don't take your person for granted, ever. For us, marriage is forever so we're stuck with each other no matter what happens, but that doesn't mean I ever let him think I'm not grateful for him or appreciative of what he does for me. I love compliments so I give a lot of compliments. I also love making sure that he knows he's loved.
Make Time for Each Other
We like to watch a movie or a show while we eat together so that we have a block of uninterrupted cuddle time. We'll also share funny videos and chit chat and what-have-you. We also have pretty regular dates. Now that I work nights and he works days, finding time isn't as easy so we have to make time for each other. You need quality one-on-one time to foster your relationship and check in with one another. We are actually going on a couples' retreat (the military has a lot of these and many are all-expenses paid and free) to get away from the responsibilities for a few days. This is a really valuable thing in your marriage. You need to take time to remember your fun, care-free selves and grow together and have new experiences. Don't stagnate. Try new things together.
These three things are really intertwined so you just need to be in a mindset of care and compassion, and they'll come naturally. As I've said before, you win and lose together so you might as well treat each other well so you don't lose. What helps keep the happiness in your marriage? Anyone have tips and tricks from years of marriage? What fun date night ideas do you have to share?