6 Practical Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

6 Practical Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

December 18th was our 6th wedding anniversary.  I know that’s not a lot compared to some couples, but it’s something I’m very proud of.  I’m not a sappy, romantic type here to share advice along the lines of “don’t go to bed mad.”  I actually never understood that advice.  Being overly tired definitely doesn't bring out my most rational side.  Sleep on it and work things out when you’re both well-rested.  Here are 6 more practical tips that have helped us maintain a healthy marriage:

1.  Nurture separate interests.

My husband and I are both very strong individuals.  As much as we love our time together, we both need to do our own thing sometimes.  He loves to golf, I love to read.  He loves to see action movies, I love to see plays.  We make time for those things, and pick up the slack for each other at home to make sure we are each able to pursue our own hobbies and interests.  We each maintain friendships with people we knew long before we knew each other, and we understand that sometimes, the other person just wants to be alone.  It’s ok (and healthy!) to not spend every moment together.  

2.  Find “your” show.

We may have very different hobbies but we both love to snuggle up with a good show or movie at home.  We’ve always had a TV series we watch together.  Granted, it used to mean a trip to Best Buy to get the latest season on DVD but now we have Netflix and HBO GO.  Might I recommend West World?

3.  Go on dates at least once a month.

Ok so this one is a little bit sappy and romantic.  But some of our best conversations happen over a glass of wine when we’re out to dinner.  There’s just something about getting dressed up and going out that is like pushing the reset button for me.  The stress of the day-to-day grind melts away and you get to be a couple again.  No kids.  No distractions.  Just you two.

Our first date was at a sushi place, so we had it catered to our wedding!  We often go back to that same restaurant on our date nights.

Our first date was at a sushi place, so we had it catered to our wedding!  We often go back to that same restaurant on our date nights.

4.  Maintain separate checking accounts.

I was a little freaked out by this idea at first.  Not because I thought there was anything inherently wrong with it, but because that’s just not how married people do things, right?  Here’s the deal: you can do things however you want.  You get to make the rules for your own relationship.  We have a joint account for groceries and household bills, but our extra spending money goes into our own individual accounts.  Having separate checking accounts has resulted in us hardly ever fighting about money, which I know is a big issue for a lot of couples.  We don’t nitpick the other’s spending habits, because we don’t see them.  I don’t gripe at him for buying a new golf club and he doesn’t gripe at me for buying a new purse.  It's also handy when it comes to buying gifts for one another.  Do whatever works for you, but I credit having separate checking accounts for preventing a lot of silly arguments.

5.  Take turns.

We take turns doing almost every chore in our home.  Even though I’m a stay-at-home-mom, I’m not expected to do every single thing around the house.  We take turns unloading the dishwasher, we take turns putting our daughter to bed, we take turns cooking.  I know.  I got a good one, huh?  

6.  Daydream about your future together.

One of the great things about being married is that you both have the same expectation about being together forever.  That means you can daydream about things far into the future.  I love to look at beautiful homes online, and talk about what our dream kitchen would look like.  We can make goals and plans about travel, work, and kids, knowing that we’re going to be together through it all.  If you can get your husband on Pinterest, create a joint board where you both pin ideas for your hopes and dreams together.  It’s a wonderful bonding experience.  

The view from our balcony on our Honeymoon to Bora Bora.  We often dream about the places we'll travel in the future.

The view from our balcony on our Honeymoon to Bora Bora.  We often dream about the places we'll travel in the future.

What advice would you offer me as we begin our 7th year of marriage?