First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes contempt and then comes divorce. With nearly 50% of marriages ending divorce it’s hard to believe anyone is having a healthy marriage. As a marriage counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve seen some horrible marriages and I’ve seen some great ones – many times they are both. Having a healthy marriage takes work, but it’s the kind of work that help both partners grow in who they are. Here are some of my favorite tips for a healthy marriage.

Tips for a Healthy Marriage

Make Sex a Priority (again)

If you’re like most couples you were once hot and heavy for each other and then maybe a child came along or just life in general got in the way of your sex life. If that’s happened to you then make a concerted effort to put the sexy back in your relationship. Lock the door if you have little ones that tend to barge in at the hint of a thunderstorm. Try to make a weekly date night where it’s just you and your partner. You don’t even have to have sex. Hold hands, gaze into each others eyes, speak sweet nothings into each others ears. Just do the things you two used to do that you’d never want to do with anyone else. Sex is the glue that holds marriages together. It doesn’t matter if it’s once a night, once a week or once a year, as long as you’re both feeling satisfied. And if you aren’t, it might be time to try some marriage counseling.

Be Flexible

Whether about date night, a job offer or a vacation destination, it’s really about compromise. You’re not going to agree with your partner 100% of the time, sometimes one of you will have to compromise. That’s okay. Compromising doesn’t mean you’re a pushover or that you lack boundaries, it means you’re receptive to your partners needs and desires – and that’s a good thing! If you compromise on the vacation then he should compromise about another issue.

Be Present

Being present means really listening to your partner and hearing what he or she is saying. It’s putting down the digital devices when you’re together. Being present means focusing on your partner when you’re together. That might sound really simple, but many couples, especially after being together for a longer time, have a hard time doing. It’s worth the effort to make your partner feel validated and treasured, believe me.

Play Together

After a while many couples stop doing the fun things together. They’ve spent so much time doing the work – raising kids, holding down a job while the other finishes a degree, taking care of an aging parent – that the idea of having fun seems about a novel as an alien showing up on your doorstep. Take time to get out and enjoy each other’s company, it’s what brought you two together in the first place. Laughter is great medicine and can be very healing.

These are just some of many tips for a healthy marriage. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area and are in need of marriage counseling please give me a call at (650) 400-3214.