There are many myths and bits of folk wisdom about what makes for a long and happy marriage. More useful, however, is research findings. First, here are some things that researchers have found to be prevalent in marriages that later ended in divorce:
* Attacking the person rather than the behavior. When your partner does something that upsets you, discuss their behavior; don't condemn the person.
* Treating your partner with disdain or contempt. It is important to be respectful of each other at all times, even when you are angry with them.
* Refusing to be accountable to the other person. When your partner has a complaint, listen to them; don't act as if you are above reproach.
* Shutting off communication. Never ignore your partner or refuse to discuss an issue that is important to them.
* Becoming overly emotional and acting irrationally. Stay in control of yourself; don't do anything that you will regret later.
* Rebuffing your partner's attempts to soothe feelings or make up. When your partner wants to make up after an argument, welcome it; don't turn a cold shoulder.
On the other side of the ledger, following are some practices that have been found to characterize happy, long-lasting marriages:
* Get to know your partner as a friend. Engage in activities that you enjoy together on a regular basis.
* Remember what you honor, respect, and love about each other.
* Connect with your partner every day. Have some pleasant rituals that bring you together, such as talking about how your day went.
* Fix the easy problems. Focus on resolving any disagreements that have easy solutions. That makes the hard problems a little less upsetting.
* Let go of perfection. Overlook each other's minor flaws and quirks.
* Be open to your partner's influence. Welcome their opinions and take them seriously.
* When you are angry, stop and think before you speak. Sometimes it's even helpful to put an issue aside and sleep on it.