Many couples get married based on the strength of their feelings with little to no guidance for establishing healthy relationship habits. When the flush of newly wed emotions fades, your marriage can come under strain, and the marriage relationship can break down over time. However, there are several key things you and your spouse can do to strengthen your relationship and help your marriage thrive.

You love your spouse, but feelings of love aren’t enough to build a marriage on. Instead, you need to be ready to commit yourself to your spouse’s benefit. This can mean sacrificing for your spouse’s well-being. It can also mean involving your spouse in important life decisions, and considering their emotions in making your own choices. There are many steps you can take to go beyond your feelings and help your marriage thrive.

Get Help Strengthening Your Relationship

Talk to a psychotherapist about ways to help your marriage.

How to Build a Strong Marriage Relationship

Ask for and Give Forgiveness Quickly

Spouses rarely intend to cause each other harm, but everyone makes mistakes. Many marriages struggle because one or both spouses hold grudges and harbor bad feelings. Make a point to admit your mistakes and to ask forgiveness when you have hurt one another. And be willing to give that forgiveness quickly when asked.

Communicate Openly

Don’t assume that you know what your spouse is thinking or feeling, or that your spouse knows what is on your mind. Consider using daily check-ins to keep communication lines open and actively listen when your spouse says they need to talk.

Let Things Go

When life is hectic there is almost always something to fight over – like chores not being done, differences in parenting choices, or specific word choices. But if don’t pick your battles, you will build more negative memories about arguments than positive memories. Before you draw attention to a shortcoming, ask yourself how important the issue is to you. Then be willing to let the small things go to help your marriage thrive.

Be Each Other’s Strength When You are Feeling Weak

Recognize that both you and your spouse have stresses in your life that can make you feel weak. While you may both struggle when facing certain obstacles, often one spouse bears more of the weight of different struggles than the other. To build a strong marriage relationship, recognize when your spouse is struggling, and step in to offer strength when they need it most.

Be Thankful for Your Spouse and Your Relationship

It may seem obvious but say “thank you” to your spouse. Often, spouses take one another for granted when they do practical things around the house or for the family. But simply expressing your appreciation to your spouse for the things they do, and for your relationship, can reduce resentment and help make your marriage stronger.

Ways to Help Your Marriage Thrive

Make Intimacy a Priority

Many couples find themselves too busy to have sex or spend intimate time alone. A lack of physical intimacy can weaken your connection to your partner, and in turn, your marriage. To help your marriage thrive, make intimacy a priority and be intentional about spending time alone together.

Join a Faith Community or Volunteer Organization Together

If you and your spouse share a religion, joining a strong community of faith can help your marriage thrive. If you are non-religious, you can volunteer together at a non-profit that you both support. Both religion and volunteer work can help you come together with your spouse and make a difference that goes beyond yourself and your relationship.

Diversify Your Support Network

Don’t make your spouse be all things for you. While many people call their spouses their best friends, if that person is also your sole confidante, co-parent, joint household manager, and romantic partner, it can quickly lead to burnout. Find ways to rely on other people – including extended family, friends, and or even a psychotherapist – to diversify your support network and take some of the burden off your spouse’s shoulders.

Work With a Couple’s Counselor to Help Your Marriage Thrive

If you are committed to helping your marriage thrive, you may need the help of a psychotherapist with experience in couples counseling. Through counseling, you and your spouse can develop healthy habits, learn new strategies and skills, and help your marriage thrive.

David Stanislaw is a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience. He helps individuals and couples learn strategies to reduce conflict and resolve issues in their marriage. Contact David Stanislaw to get help today.