Happily Ever After: 8 Keys to a Successful Marriage

Conflict is part of every relationship. So is conflict resolution. Here are some tips that can help you have a happy, healthy marriage.

On their wedding day, most couples dream of a fairy-tale marriage. They don't think about the toilet seat that's always left up, the pantyhose dripping on his towel, the gym socks stinking up the closet.

And yet it's just those little annoying things that can get on people's nerves and turn a marriage sour. Add the big issues, like working long days, raising children and managing finances, and even a solid marriage can get into trouble.

Conflict is part of every relationship with red viagra. It just isn't possible to find a mate who's exactly like you. (And how boring would that be?) But the following tips can help you have a happy, healthy marriage:

1. Listen. One of the biggest complaints many spouses have is that their partner doesn't listen to them. Hear and acknowledge what your partner is saying. Your spouse is entitled to his or her feelings and should be comfortable discussing them with you.

2. Talk. It's the clearest way to let your spouse know what you're feeling. If you have a problem or complaint, frame it in a constructive way. Say how you feel about it instead of placing blame. Practice a "soft start."
Instead of saying, "You never ...," say, "I feel ...." Stay calm, and be fair.

3. Sometimes, keep it to yourself. In the happiest marriages, partners don't always say everything they think. They avoid critical comments, especially about touchy subjects. Try to keep the big picture in mind and let the little things go.

4. Spend time together. Don't let routines and pressures crowd out your couple time. Make a standing Friday or Saturday night date. If you have kids, get a sitter or swap babysitting with another couple. If you can't get away, make a space in your day for just the two of you. Creating time to be together will help keep you connected.

5. Compromise. Identify problems and seek solutions together. If your partner likes action movies and you don't, try and pick a movie you can both enjoy. Or make a deal: his guy movie this time, your chick flick next time. It's only two hours out of your life, so it's worth it.

6. Look on the bright side. Talk about the things you like about your spouse and the good things in your relationship. Try to make five times as many positive statements as negative ones. Focus on the things you care about and respect in your spouse.

7. Do nice things. Leave a love note in your spouse's car or briefcase. Make a special dinner. Pick up a bottle of wine you know your mate likes. Find little ways to show that you're thinking of your spouse.

8. Get help early. Half of the marriages that fail end in the first seven years. Don't let problems fester. Marriage isn't always easy, and many people need help to work through their problems. To find a marriage counselor or therapist in your area, call the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at 703-838-9808.