You know that habits take time to build up in every area of life. Learning to wake up a little earlier so you could work out took time. Learning not to engage in your coworker’s passive-aggressive comments was a bit of a challenge, but you finally got a handle on it. And choosing fruit for dessert instead of ice cream wasn’t a habit that formed over night. So it should be no surprise that developing habits in something as important as your marriage requires a little time, too. The earlier you begin practicing certain behaviors, the more of a chance your marriage has to be defined by healthy habits rather than unhealthy ones. Because if you don’t nip unhealthy ones in the bud early, they can be too difficult to break later—when things are already on the rocks. Here are healthy marriage habits to develop early.

Say hi and bye properly

Stop what you’re doing, put down the toothbrush, close the laptop and give your hubby a proper hug and kiss hello or goodbye. It’s what separates spouses from roommates.

Be happy to help your partner

Don’t roll your eyes or say, “Ugh. Fine” when your partner asks you to bring them a glass of water or pick up their prescription on your way home. Be happy you have someone you can help, who helps you out, too.

Touch each other as much as you can

Too many couples allow physical affection to just disintegrate over the years. But physical touch is an important part of keeping your chemical bond alive. Never stop holding hands, sitting on the same side of the booth, or snuggling during movie night.

Recognize when they cannot talk about it

Learn to recognize when your partner is still too emotional about an event or new information to talk about it. Do not push him to talk then; that will only result in him saying things he doesn’t mean.

Accept what you can’t change

Learn to spot which little aggravating behaviors or arguments keep coming up. If they keep coming up, there is a good chance it’s because you can’t change them. Life will be easier if you accept that, and just go have a cup of tea or go for a walk when they happen.

See a win for him as a win for you

Life gets so much better when you truly see a win for your partner as a win for you, and visa versa. You’re a team! And as a team, you’ll accomplish much more than you would as individuals. Truly celebrate it when your partner has something good happen to him as if it’s your own victory.

Ask; don’t accuse

Phrase things like, “Honey, did you leave this food in the sink?” rather than, “You left stuff in the sink again didn’t you!”

Resist paranoid thoughts

Thoughts like, “He doesn’t think I’m pretty anymore” or “He talks badly about me to his friends” or “He is attracted to his co-worker.” These thoughts are never productive.

Welcome a full house

Embrace having a full house because, between the two of you, there will probably be an old college friend or a cousin or a parent visiting at least once a month. If you start to keep tabs on who has more guests, you could blow your chance at having your good friend visit. So just embrace visitors.

Ask, “Will this matter in a year?”

It’s safe to say that 90 percent of marital arguments will not matter in a year. The only arguments that matter are those that pertain to your core values and goals in life. How often can you say you really argue about those? Rarely. You mostly argue about hanging up towels properly.


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