Don’t listen to people who tell you the passion of your relationship will fade over time. It doesn’t have to! You can keep your marriage exciting and special if you follow these wise tips every wedded couple needs to know to never lose the sparkle of romance.

1. Never stop dating.

Who says you have to stop going on dates once you’re married? Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the daily grind. Make time every month to go out to dinner, to the movies, or simply to do something fun outside the house. Make time for each other, to be alone, and to have fun and spend time with just the two of you.

2. Protect your own heart.

Don’t let your partner trample your heart. They might not mean to, but sometimes your spouse may say or do something that hurts your feelings. Take a step back and see that they’re not trying to hurt you, it just happened that way. Don’t get oversensitive about it; protect yourself and talk to them about what happened and how it made you feel.

3. Always see the best in each other.

This is one of the easiest things to do when you’re dating. You think your partner is the best because of this, that, and the other. But once you’re married, you have a commitment hanging over your head, so you tend to judge a little harsher. Try not to do this. Remember who you fell in love with and why, and don’t let any small, annoying habits outweigh the good you know is there.

4. It’s not your job to fix the other.

You can’t change anyone. They have to want to change, and even then, you shouldn’t expect it to happen. You fell in love with your spouse for a reason. You can’t change them just because you’re married now. Remember the good in them, and trust that if it’s a major issue, they’ll take your concerns into consideration and change themselves.

5. Take full accountability for your emotions.

Fights get emotional, it’s a fact. But if you say something in anger or to hurt your spouse, then take responsibility for it. Don’t let the fight get swept under the rug with those hurtful emotions still hanging there in the balance. Explain why you said what you did, and apologize for it.

6. Give each other space.

Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to spend all your free time together! Give each other space and time to do things you each enjoy. You’ll have more to talk about when you come back together, and you’ll feel more relaxed because you’re not having to give up your own hobbies for the sake of your spouse!

7. Be willing to share your feelings.

Don’t keep your feelings to yourself, they’ll never get resolved. Make sure your partner knows how you feel about certain issues, and why. You have to be willing and able to talk about everything, or else there will be a lot of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

8. Never stop growing together.

Your partner is going to change over the years; you are too! You have to grow together, though, or else you’ll grow apart. You need to talk about what you want in your relationship, for your family, and for your own lives and careers to ensure you can grow together and stay together.

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9. Fight fair.

Emotions are high when you’re fighting, but don’t start pulling punches you’re going to regret. Never throw something in your spouse’s face that was told to you in confidence. Don’t dig up old secrets just to use as ammunition against them. Fight fair and fight only about the topic at hand, otherwise you’re going to have too much on your plate to deal with, and the fight will never end.

10. Forgive immediately.

Even if you don’t really feel it inside, forgive your spouse. Holding a grudge will only make you feel worse, and holding something over your spouse’s head will make them feel like things will never be the same, and you’ll never forget this problem. It doesn’t hurt to forgive immediately—in fact, it can make you feel like you’re really ready to forgive, and that’s just a bonus!

11. Let go of past hurt.

Don’t bring up old hurts and past fights in a current disagreement. You can’t hold grudges about every little thing your partner has done to hurt you—the relationship won’t survive. Once the fight has been fought, forgive, learn your lesson, and forget as best you can.

12. Learn how to compromise.

No one can win every fight. And you shouldn’t want to. Compromising is an adult way to solve a problem and allow both partners to win. You have to give a little to get a little!

13. Respect each other.

Don’t call each other names. Don’t take jabs at each other’s careers or style or favorite bands. Respect each other fully—and this includes when your spouse isn’t around and you’re gossiping with friends. Think of how you want your spouse to treat you, and do the same for them.

14. Don’t compare your spouse or relationship.

Your friend’s husband is not more romantic than yours, and their relationship is not sweeter! Your spouse is perfect for you—that’s why you got married! And your relationship is perfect for the both of you, or at least it’s what you’re working on together. Once you start comparing yourself to others around you, things will unravel. Remember: the grass is always greener on the other side. You might think someone has it better than you, but everyone has their own problems.

15. Be patient.

Don’t expect everything to happen now. You’re married, and you have your whole lives together. That gives you plenty of time to grow together and make the perfect life together. Rushing things could only mean problems down the line.

16. Don’t expect the other to read your mind.

You have to talk to your partner. They may not understand why you act a certain way, but if you sit them down and talk about it, they might start to understand. If nothing else, they’ll respect you for talking about it instead of just making them guess.

17. Talk about your goals.

The only way to grow together is to talk about your goals together. What do you want for the future? Are you on the same track? You want to make sure you have the same goals in mind for your family, and you want to make sure that one of you isn’t planning a huge career move that would leave the other in the dust! Stay on the same page and talk about your goals often—you can be each other’s cheerleader!

18. Listen.

Don’t just talk—listen. It’s important to make sure your partner feels like you’ll hear them out, and not just talk over them. Everyone wants to be understood, and if you quiet down and listen to your spouse, then they’ll give you that same respect.

19. Have fun together.

Don’t let marriage seem too daunting! It’s a commitment, yes, but don’t let it seem too “life or death.” You got married because you love each other and you have fun together—don’t lose that! Have fun when you go on dates together, have fun cleaning the floors together, have fun washing dishes! Just have fun together.

20. Keep your sense of humor.

It’s important to always be able to get silly with each other. Being too serious will start to seem suffocating after a while. If you can joke with each other, then you’ll always be able to lighten the mood and diffuse any tension in the relationship.

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