9 Ways to Build a Happy and Long-Lasting Marriage

No one can say for sure which ingredients and qualities are guaranteed predictors of a happy and successful marriage. Sometimes, the best we can do is piece together advice from real-life husbands and wives who’ve been there.

On Wednesday, Redditor maxandtheband posed a question to the married men and women of Reddit, asking, “What is the most important thing to make sure about your relationship before getting married?”

We rounded up some of the best matrimonial wisdom below.

1) Agree -- or at least agree to disagree -- on major life decisions, like religious affiliations and whether or not to have kids.
2) Make sure that you can live together and tolerate each other's behavior, habits and quirks. "With marriage, culture makes us focus so much on love," one Redditor writes. "They say things like 'follow your heart' or 'if you love each other, that's all that matters'. Love is important to relationships, but there's a huge practical side to it too. In addition to your spouse, they're your roommate, co-owner of all your stuff, co-parent, etc. If you can't work with them on those issues, love isn't going to help you."
3) Learn how to fight constructively. "You have to be able to fight just as effectively as you talk about the weather," another Redditor said. "Everyone will have a fight in their relationship at some point. Even if you have to take space and come back to the issue to discuss it rationally, you're still communicating and fighting well."
4) Discuss your personal philosophies about moneyAfter you tie the knot, will you create a joint bank account or keep them separate? What about retirement planning? If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, how are you going to come up with a system that works for both of you?
5) Remember that communication is key. "Talk now about everything -- money, dreams/goals, expectations, likes/dislikes," a Redditor writes. "You need to know that, even if you disagree on something, you can take the time to have a discussion about it."
6) When your partner is talking to you, put down the devices. "I don't think [people] realize how devastating it is to feel like the person you love the most is ignoring you, or only giving you 50 percent attention," one Redditor explained."I listen very well while multitasking but if I am looking at the iPad or the TV, it gives the impression that I don't care," said another.
7) Be friends. Do not underestimate the importance of being friends with your spouse -- it holds as much weight as the romantic and physical attraction. "There is so much quiet, uneventful time that you will spend together, and if you're not friends as well as lovers, then I'd imagine marriage would get difficult very quickly," one Redditor wroteAnother Redditor shared some advice that his uncle -- married for 45 years -- gave before he died: "Marry your best friend. The sex and looks will eventually go away, but your friendship will last a lifetime."
8) Laugh together. "I try to get my wife to laugh every morning before we get out of bed, even if she is laughing at me, at least she starts her day with a grin on her face," one man said. "Been doing it for 34 years."
9) Admit when you're wrong. "So many fights can be ended once I admit I'm wrong instead of stubbornly holding my ground long after we both realize my arguments make no sense," a Redditor explained.
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