ASK SARAH: tips for keeping your love life healthy?

hi sarah,

i come from a family of divorce and i worry a lot about my own marriage failing.  we’re newlyweds and things are great, but i think that’s the case for most newlyweds.  i’m wondering if you have any advice for us.  it seems like you and lou have a good thing going.  thanks!  – cassie  

hi cassie!  

thanks so much for writing.  i’m so sorry to hear you’re worrying about this but i think it’s normal for people who have experienced divorce through their parents to have mixed feelings about marriage.  years of therapy taught me this: you are not your parents.  repeat it to yourself every time you start to worry that you’ll end up turning into them!  your awareness of it already puts you ahead of the game.   {more after the jump}

we’re still kind of newlyweds ourselves and trying to learn as we go!  but here are my thoughts: for keeping a marriage healthy i think the most important thing to do is to make it a priority.  life gets busy and it’s easy to take your partner and your marriage for granted, especially as the years go by and you get more and more comfortable with each other.  but this can lead to a growing distance that i think in the long run could result in one or both of you falling out of love.  so make sure you spend that time to make your partner feel loved, to keep the romance going, and to make sure you’re both getting your needs met in the relationship. invest in your marriage the way you invest in your other relationships.  making it a priority is the first step towards making it last.

the other thing that i think can help is to stay far away from the comparison game.  looking at other people’s marriages and thinking that they have it better or that the grass might be greener somewhere else (with someone else) will keep you from appreciating what YOU have.  and as well all know, appearances can be deceiving.  you never know what goes on behind closed doors with married friends, so it’s best to just assume they have many of the same problems you do.  

what do you think friends?  do you have advice for how to keep your marriage strong for cassie (and me!)? would love to hear your thoughts!  xx- sarah

*photo by max wanger.  see more of our wedding here

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Reader Comments

  1. Sally|

    I totally agree with making the other person a priority, that is the single most important thing.

    I also think the comparison part is very important, something I find myself doing sometimes… and have to remind mself that I have it pretty good!

    I have some good adice on my blog too… that I got from a lady married for 15 years from the Huffinton Post

  2. Caitlin|

    i agree with you about making marriage a priority. when things get busy and it feels like my husband is more like my roommate, i tell him we need a date night. the other thing that i feel is very important, and one that i learned from my parents, is to talk everyday. whether you're in the kitchen making dinner or laying in bed at night, spend 10 or 15 minutes together, talking about your days, feelings, accomplishments, interests, etc. i always feel closer to my husband just knowing what exactly is going on in his mind and in his life. on days we don't get a chance to have a really good talk, i feel it.

  3. Julie / Bound|

    I totally believe in keeping things happy and light, but the truth is that everyone's going to hit a rough patch and get annoyed or discouraged. The thing I've found the most helpful so far is to use the "compliment sandwich" when you want to explain something that's been bothering you…as in, "I love you so much/Sometimes I get really frustrated when you won't stop looking at your phone during dinner/But I want you to know that I feel so lucky to have you."

  4. Kara|

    Well, I'm not married, and have no advice to bestow right now, but I wanted to say that I thought the advice was beautifully written and articulated. I think the advice can be used not only in marriage, but in committed relationships as well. I like the idea of the "compliment sandwich." And I think I'll put it to use next time I have a bone to pick. Thanks!

  5. layli|

    i agree with making the other person a priority and spending time talking and doing fun things together – esp after kids come and life is almost all about the house and the routine and the kids…but after ten years of marriage the idea of a compliment sandwich has me thinking "cut the bs – what are you really trying to say?" sometimes being direct – in a nice way – is the best way to be loving.

  6. jenna|

    choose weather you want to be right or happy.
    there are some issues that I will go to the mat for but most (always involving, pillows, socks, toothbrushes and parking) I choose to be happy and that means that they need to slide–they need not be mentioned because my happiness is not dependent on weather or not the pillows are put back on the bed in the proper order. That also means that each day I rearrange pillows in the bedroom–so what?

  7. charity|

    i think it's seriously important to make your relationship a priority – if you care about it, you will make the effort. it does take a lot of work and patience, and it definitely takes two to make it work, but you can make it fun and exciting. my partner and i make it a priority to not sit in front of the tv every night – we watch one episode of our favourite show, then we take our puppy for a stroll around our neighborhood and catch up on the day. it sounds simple and basic but i love doing this, and i look forward to it everyday.

  8. Fran|

    Priority is definitely the right word. My husband and I have a deal, our life's mission is to make the other person happy. That way we are focusing on each other rather than ourselves. For the first few years of our relationship, I thought that my happiness was more important, but this lead me to look outside my relationship. After a reality check or two, I realised that if I focussed on my husband, and he me, we both win, and so does our relationship. It's also important to remind yourself that you made a lifelong commitment – so you may as well enjoy it and work to make it a happy thing. 10 years in as a couple (two of them married) we are happier than ever.

  9. Myrna|

    My husband and I have been married for going on 10 years in May ,my husband is in the military so we move around quite a bit with no kids and all I can say is its all about COMMUNICATION. I myself come from a divorce family and I try not to make the same mistakes I saw when I was growing up. It's hard and it's taken us 10 bumpy years to get here. All I can say is its about the journey you want to take, you make your own path you and your husband . Since we don't live near family and close friends we are each others backbone and if I'm mad or whatever I say it and we made a deal a long time ago -no judgements on whatever or how things come out at that time of frustration or in my case while I'm PMSing- ha. Just know your marriage comes first!!!! I wish you the best of luck !


  10. sarah yates|

    i love all of your advice! a couple of my favorites:

    "choose whether you want to be right or happy"- this is SO true! i just recently decided that instead of fighting with lou about cleaning i'm just going to make myself be more neat (i'm the messy one!). i don't think he should nag me, but i can't change him. so instead i'll just give him less to nag about! peace & happiness > being right

    "our life's mission is to make the other person happy" i ADORE this! yes!!!

    thank you all for chiming in!!

  11. victoria | vmac+cheese|

    Even on days when our lives are busy and we might not get to spend as much time together as we like, I tell my husband every single day how deeply I love him, and how lucky I think we are to have each other in our lives. Just taking that minute to celebrate our bond, and remind each other why we've been together so long is enough for us to feel a sense of closeness. And when all else fails, we clear the calendar and go out for Mexican and margaritas. Insta-re-connect!

  12. Miranda|

    I want to use this opportunity to thank Dr. Book for helping me get my lover back after he left me few months ago. I have sent friends and my brothers to beg him for me but he refused that it is all over between both of us but when I met this Dr. Book he told me to relaxed that every thing will be fine and really after three days of contacting him, I got my man back. so thank you so much Dr. BOOK. here is the email address if you want his help.……..MIRANDA