A troubled marriage will lead to a troubled life. When you have problems at home, as much as you try to deny it or ignore them in the workplace, they’re going to bleed over. Avoid those pitfalls by unlocking these five keys in your marriage.

1) Communicate clearly

We’re not children anymore. Suggestions of what you want don’t do anybody any good. You need to be crystal clear about your intentions or your questions or your desires. The guessing game has only led to more guesses and more trouble. Never make your partner play the guessing game because, if they are assuming what you want… they won’t ever know exactly what it is you want. This will only lead to more arguments. Speak clearly and with intention.

2) Fight fair

Don’t hold grudges and don’t play trump cards to win arguments. You will both make mistakes and you will both need to recover from said mistakes. Be forgiving and be generous about understanding one another. Forgiveness and fair arguments will go a lot further in finding happiness in your marriage than arguing will.

3) Remember to laugh

If you aren’t laughing – find a reason to. Go to a comedy show. We’re serious. Put yourself in a situation where you can find happiness if you currently don’t have happiness and laughter in your marriage. Quit holding onto the anger and actively seek happiness. It doesn’t just happen – you have to work for it every single day.

4) Respect

Respect your significant other’s needs, wants and desires. Respect their life and their job. Even if you think something is trivial, if it is important to them – it is important that you recognize that and make it important to you. When you don’t have respect for the things they value, you’re sending your marriage into a downward spiral. It doesn’t mean you have to love new shoes, but making fun of her excitement over that new pair is going to hurt your marriage more than smiling and being happy for her will hurt your ego.

5) Spend time apart

Take a breather! Go to the gym, go to work, go out and find a new hobby. You don’t have to spend every waking moment together and doing so may just be the disaster you’re attempting to avoid. Leave room in your life for other things and you will discover that you are more eager to get back to your spouse and share with them the new things you’re trying out.
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