A happy, healthy, and lasting marriage is the goal of every couple. We have all heard that half of all marriages end in divorce, and nobody wants their marriage to be another statistic. But take heart! It’s probable that many of the small daily things that you’re already doing are helping strengthen your marital bond. So don’t take these activities for granted, because they are ensuring that your relationship remains satisfying for the long haul. Here are the main ways you’re already putting your marriage first.

1. You kiss.

More frequent kissing has been linked to increased relationship satisfaction, particularly for women in long-term relationships. So make sure you kiss hello, goodbye, and a few other times each day for good measure. Not only does kissing have emotional benefits, it even improves immunity and physical health!

2. You express gratitude.

Couples who express appreciation reciprocally are less likely to break up, according to relationship researchers. So make sure to let your husband know how much you appreciate him mowing the lawn, or let your wife know how happy you are with the way she keeps track of all the kids’ activities.

3. You touch each other.

Marital satisfaction isn’t linked with how often you touch, but how reciprocal the touch is. This means, when your spouse touches your arm, do you respond by touching their arm, hugging them, or moving your body next to theirs? Hopefully so, because this is correlated with increased marital happiness.

4. You talk.

A study of 1,000 married Americans found that having 10 emotionally meaningful conversations a month is linked with marital satisfaction. This doesn’t mean just checking in about how the kids are doing at school. Why not try asking some questions that you don’t know the answer to, like when your partner’s first kiss was, or what they wanted to be when they grew up when they were a child, or when the first moment was that they knew they loved you.

5. You go on date nights.

According to research, one way that date night helps your marriage is that you’re experiencing something new and different with your spouse. Couples who engage in a range of new and exciting activities report higher marital satisfaction than those who do the same old activities all the time. When you engage in something new, your brain releases more dopamine and norepinephine, which is the same thing that happens at the start of a new romantic relationship. So, you’ll feel like you’re in the honeymoon phase again, and who doesn’t want that?

6. You fight.

Fighting can be cathartic, and is a good way to get issues out on the table where they can be examined and discussed productively. As long as you resolve your fights, you can count arguing as a way you may actually be helping your marriage.

7. You plan things.

Whether vacations, dinners out, having friends over, or anything else, having events to look forward to is a great thing for your marriage. Your anticipation can build together, and you have something fun to talk about besides the mundane minutiae of house and kids.

8. You do nice things.

Research shows that, in order to have a happy marriage, you must do five positive things to balance out every negative thing you do. These can be as small as putting a note in your wife’s lunchbag, or making sure to make your husband’s favorite dessert. Anything that shows that you really care and are taking time out of your day to acknowledge your partner’s needs and wants.

9.  You laugh.

Couples who use humor have happier marriages than those who don’t. Humor can defuse stressful situations and allow a couple to feel close even during times of tension. Laughing together can make you feel connected even during conflict.

10. You grow together.

When one partner takes up a new interest, the other is not only supportive, but becomes interested as well. This growing and sharing has been shown to be linked to happy and long-lasting marriages. So when your partner finds a new TV show they really like, why not try it and see if you get hooked too?

If you’re already doing these things, pat yourself on the back for keeping your marriage alive and happy. And if you’re not doing them, what better time to start than now?

Featured photo credit: Indiscreet camera via mrg.bz

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