9 Signs You’re Doing This Marriage Thing Right

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While it’s true that every relationship could benefit from a little more effort from both partners, it’s important to take a step back every once in a while and acknowledge what is working. You may find your marriage is more awesome than you gave it credit for, which can be just the push you need to keep making positive changes.

So how do you know you’re winning at the marriage game? Read on to find out:

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You Know When to Offer Advice, and When to Just Listen

Sometimes you just want to vent. You want your partner to agree with you, to complain alongside you, to really hear you. You’re looking for validation and you just want to get something off your chest. Other times, you feel unsure. You want to know what you should do about a problem you’re having.

In both cases, one’s spouse can be a comfort and a help. Wise couples know the difference between the two.

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You Make a Point of Spending Time Together

Our lives are busy, and it’s easy to let days and even weeks go by without really connecting and spending quality time with your spouse. It can happen so often that it becomes routine and gradually, distance grows between partners.

But carving out time to be together is so important. Whether it’s binge-watching your favorite series together or playing a favorite board game after the kids go to bed, if you make quality time a priority, you will build a more connected and fulfilling relationship.

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You Communicate, Even When You’d Rather Not

It’s tempting to put up a wall and let your feelings build up inside you. Taking the path of least resistance feels like you’re avoiding conflict; you’re making a bad situation a little better by not discussing it.

However, just the opposite is true. It’s uncomfortable to make yourself vulnerable and say what has hurt you. But if you are open with your partner and regularly communicate your feelings to one another, you build understanding and trust.

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You Tell Each Other About What You Appreciate About One Another

What’s great about your partner? Does he make you laugh like no one else? Is he empathetic and kind? Perhaps he’s one of the most interesting people you know, or you love watching him play with the kids. When you tell your spouse about that little thrill he gives you, he feels good about himself. Your relationship as a whole benefits when you make your spouse feel self-confident and appreciated.

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You Know When to Apologize

They say love means never having to say you’re sorry. But most of us have felt the unfair sting of knowing we deserve an apology and not getting one. The truth is, being able to apologize – sincerely — shows strength and wisdom.

In your marriage, you know that offering an apology when it’s deserved is the right thing to do. And it doesn’t just diffuse tension around an argument; it shows your spouse that you have respect for them.

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You Acknowledge the Little Things He Does

It’s easy to assume that your partner knows you’re grateful he took out the garbage, cooked dinner, or did the dishes. We so often get caught up in the daily routine that we take for granted the small actions we do to make each other’s lives easier. But it’s important to tell him that you notice the little things; overlooking these deeds can lead to resentment and distancing from the relationship. Bonus: he’ll want to do more little things for you.

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You Remember Why You Got Married in the First Place

Maybe your spouse makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe it’s the way he always has your back. Or perhaps you admire his creativity or intelligence. Remembering what it is that made you fall in love long ago helps your relationship stay solid when the going gets tough. Whatever it is, you haven’t forgotten what drew you to your spouse years ago, and that helps keep the spark going.

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You Know You’re a Team

It’s important that each individual in a marriage maintain their own sense of self. Interests and friends outside the partnership form an integral part of one’s own identity and satisfaction. But it’s important to recognize that acting as a team is the best way to approach those situations that affect both of you. In your marriage, decisions that affect the family are made together.

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You Share Your Goals and Dreams With One Another

Everyone needs a cheerleader in their life. Discussing goals not only lets you understand your spouse and what makes them tick; it also helps to clarify them for yourself and make them more real. Allowing your spouse into your dreams gives him the chance to encourage those ideas you may feel are silly or unrealistic. Similarly, when you take the time to dream together, you create a feeling that in your marriage that the sky’s the limit.