We all hope our marriages will last forever. The sad truth is, that in Australia, around a third of marriages end in divorce, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

While you might have all the best foundations and elements in your relationship for a great partnership, the truth is marriage can be hard work, and you can’t neglect it or take it for granted if you want to go the distance.

The old vows, for better for worse, in sickness and in health were there for a reason – life will throw up all sorts of challenges that you need to work together to overcome. This can include illnesses, job losses, business failures, deaths of loved ones, children with special needs and so on, on top of the regular day-to-day stressors like jobs, kids, bills and housework.

Long-lasting marriages need commitment, good communication and love and affection. Try adding in these seven tips to boost your relationship.

1. Create your own rituals

A special “ritual” between you and your partner is a way to connect with each other no matter what other chaos is going on in you busy lives. Whether it’s having a coffee together in the mornings or setting aside time at night to chat when the kids go to bed, the comfort of these little rituals help you get through the day and stay connected to one another.

2. Learn to communicate

Great communication is key to most enduring relationships. So if one or both of you are bad communicators, you need to change this. Being able to talk openly with your partner creates a strong marriage.  There are ways you can improve communication skills – take a class, read books, watch Youtube seminars… there’s no excuses, go work on it.

3. Money

Money is one of the major things that married couples fight about. Before you get married it’s a good idea to talk to your other half about your views on things like paying bills, savings and debt. You will both have different ideas and different ways of doing things. It’s important that you come up with a new, blended, way of doing things that reflects both of your styles.  A good compromise is having a joint bank account for all of the major shared expenses and a single account each you can use for personal spending without having to be accountable to the other spouse.

4. Show love and affection

If you want your marriage to last the distance, keep reminding each other that you love one another and nurture the relationship by using kind words. It’s far too easy to become complacent and not do or say the things you did when you were newly together and loved-up. While you might not mean it, the other partner can feel that the disappearance of small gestures that once were there is a sign their partner doesn’t care for them anymore.

5. Keep your sex life alive

Again when life becomes overwhelming, you might find that you aren’t intimate with your other half as much as you used to be. You might find that before long the time between sex becomes longer and longer to the point where intimacy is almost non-existent.

Sexless marriages are a real thing (said to be if you have sex 10 times a year or fewer) but it doesn’t have to be this infrequent for one member of the marriage to feel frustrated, isolated and alone, craving intimacy from their partner.

Be mindful of the importance of physical intimacy in your relationship and set aside time even if you have a busy schedule. That might mean cancelling commitments, arranging for the kids to sleep over with grandparents, or just simply having a good night’s sleep the night before so you aren’t too tired.

6. Put your marriage first

It’s fine to be close to your parents, your siblings and your friends but you made a commitment to your spouse and you have an obligation to make them your priority. Don’t let your parents to speak poorly about your spouse – don’t with them or your siblings  in a disagreement with your spouse. Don’t spend all of your free time with your friends. It’s important to set boundaries and focus on your marriage.


Photo credit: Flickr/Ben Grey