I am no expert here. But I do know that I've been married for 11 years, and my spouse is still the best thing ever. I have learned a few things, and I'm sure there is lots more to know. Here is a little of what I have gathered so far, in a handy 6-point list.
- Make time. When do the two of you take time to be the two of you? For us, the occasional date night is the best way to make time. We find a babysitter, go to a favorite restaurant, sit at the bar, chat with each other and friends who pass by, and try to laugh as much as possible.
- Be polite. "Please" and "thank you" aren't just for work emails and new acquaintances. Use these words at home, and often! Saying thank you for doing the dishes or handling a problem is one of the simplest ways to be respectful and nice to someone who has seen you at your best... and your worst.
- Kiss & hug. Do you holler "byeeee" before leaving the house, and hear the faint reply as you walk out the door? Take the few extra seconds to seek out your partner in person and give them a kiss. Or when you're together in the kitchen, pause for a no-reason hug. Life is short. Let's be CLOSE in the time that we have.
- Have meetings. Being married is a business partnership. We have a monthly budget meeting where we go over our bank balance, pay bills together, and look at the calendar for the month ahead. Lately we've been talking about setting up our wills, refinancing the mortgage, and paying off debt faster. We don't always DO these things, but at least we talk about them.
- You do you. By this I mean: still be your own people. Have individual interests. Have your own thoughts. Pursue reasonable hobbies and passions, and let your spouse do the same. My passion is running--it takes me to my happy place and gives me time for me. My husband's passion is film. We give each other space and encouragement to do these things, and try to accept each other's peculiarities.
- Surprise yourselves! Be spontaneous! Take a day off together and go outlet shopping. Buy each other little presents. Be open to last minute changes. Grab opportunities as they come. Bring home that bouquet.