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Maintaining a healthy marriage requires a great deal of effort. Arguments and disagreements are normal when dealing with hectic work schedules, kids, and other important obligations. There are times when divorce is the best option for some couples. However, keep in mind that many marriages end in divorce due to issues that could have been resolved. Here are a few ways to improve your marriage when it feels like divorce is the only option.

1. Communication is key

Nowadays, it’s easy to get distracted and go days without having a real conversation with your partner. Unfortunately, this can end up becoming the downfall of your marriage. Regular communication is essential in maintaining a happy and healthy marriage. Instead of shoving important issues under the rug, speak up to your partner about what bothers you. It’s equally vital to allow your partner to freely express his or her thoughts. Communicating openly and honestly is a great way to solve many marital problems. 

2. Manage finances responsibly

It comes as no surprise that money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. According to the American Psychological Association, about a third of adults with partners report that money is a major source of conflict in their relationships. This is why you and your partner must be on the same page when it comes to all things finances, including budgeting, savings, retirement, and, investing. Financial infidelity can be detrimental to a marriage, so always inform your significant other before splurging on something expensive or making any other serious financial decisions. 

3. Keep your word

If you want to keep your marriage healthy, try not to overpromise and underdeliver. Staying true to your commitments is a crucial part of marriage, so it’s important to do what you say you are going to do. Come home when you told your spouse you would come home, pick up the kids from school if you agreed to do so, and keep any other promises you might have made. This shows your partner that you are reliable and that he or she can count on you.

4. Spend quality time together

Relationships can lose their spark when couples do not make each other a priority. Put your marriage first by spending quality time together and doing the things you might have done when you first started dating. This can mean making time for a date night every week - no matter how busy you and your partner might be. Watch a movie, get intimate with one another, cook a special dinner together, or plan a fun activity by going to a nice restaurant, museum, or art exhibition. 

5. Give each other space

While spending time together is an essential part of a happy relationship, giving each other space is just as crucial. In a relationship, personal space means that you're putting yourself first and doing things you enjoy, rather than only doing things for others, which will put you in a better mood to handle your relationship. Even taking a short, 30-minute walk every day can give you some much-needed distance from your spouse. 

6. Try to forgive

Grudges often cause marriages to fall apart. Instead of remaining angry and building resentment for your partner, aim to forgive your significant other as quickly as possible. Remember that letting go of grudges is just as much a gift to yourself as it is to your partner. Your mental health can be negatively impacted by grudge-holding and being spiteful takes up plenty of mental and emotional space in your mind. 

7. Work on yourself

You don’t have to wait for your partner to step up to the plate to start taking measures to improve your marriage. You can always begin with some self-evaluation to help understand your flaws and how to work on them. Although you should not be expected to change your entire identity for another person, you and your partner are a team, and some adjustments may be necessary if you plan on spending the rest of your lives together. Pay attention to what frustrates your partner and try to address these issues. 

8. Avoid criticism

No one likes to be criticized. However, couples often engage in behavior such as badgering, blaming, belittling, and berating each other when they experience conflict. This can cause the criticized individual to feel hurt, attacked, rejected, and insecure. While arguments are normal in a long-term relationship, try to choose your words wisely and use “I” statements to avoid criticizing your partner. For example, “I feel hurt when you…” or “What I need is…”

9. Show appreciation

Expressing gratitude and appreciation for your significant other can go a long way. The good news is that you can show appreciation without spending any money. It can be done by sending a simple text letting them know that you’re thinking about them. Even if you are having a rough time in your marriage, try to look for the little things your partner does that make you smile.

10. Seek professional help

If you and your spouse are having conflicts in your marriage, consulting a marriage counselor can be incredibly beneficial. Professionals in this field have studied how marriages function and how to improve them. Therefore, they can provide helpful insight into how to work through challenges in a marriage. Moreover, you should always seek the assistance of a mental health therapist or professional if there has been infidelity in your marriage, or if you and/or your children have been abused by your spouse.

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