Happy marriages aren’t simply the result of great luck; they need a foundation of hard work and concrete actions taken over time. Learn how to build your marriage to unprecedented heights with these simple, actionable tips.

To say that “marriage is challenging” is like saying “dogs bark when they see squirrels” or “Mars is really far away.” In other words, it’s obvious.

What’s not so obvious? How to overcome the challenges marriage brings quarrels, jealousies, differences in opinion, raising children, financial stress, aging parents, you name it. With such a list of woes at ready command, you need an even longer list of actionable steps you can take to make your marriage the best it can be every single day.Good news: Here it is.

Good news: Here it is.

Keep the Romance Alive

Have Bigger Conversations: Remember when you couldn’t get enough of each other’s minds? Cultivate that now, with deep conversations on meaningful topics: sports, religion, politics, and dreams, for starters.

Know the Small Stuff: Be sure you know what’s on your partner’s calendar every day.

Turn Back the Clock: Nothing says “I love you” like a throwback to those early days, when you were so in love that the annoying toothbrush habits didn’t matter. Do something that recalls those days, like surprise flowers or Cake Just Because.

Get Romantic: Send a love letter! Email and snail mail both do the trick.

Engage in Random Acts of Kindness: Those little gestures still matter, so don’t forget about them. Maybe pick up those socks once in a while…you know, without prompting?

Get Physical

Sweat it Up: Getting active together creates a bunch of feel-good hormones that produces all sorts of lovey-dovey feelings.

Cuddle in the Morning: There’s no better time of day than right when your eyes open to get a little fix of intimacy, so take advantage of it.

Do Good: Volunteer together!

Keep the Sex Alive: Scheduling might not seem like such a fun thing to do, but where’s the harm? At least then you know you’re having it. (Take that, Joneses!)

Sleep Together: For real this time. Go to bed together every evening, and you’ll reap the double benefits of more snuggle time and most likely a sounder sleep schedule.

Share Your Passions: You’ve got to do more than simply celebrate each other’s hobbies. Really dig in and get engaged in what the other person loves as well.

Maintain Your Honor

Show Others Your Love: Always treat your spouse with respect and admiration in public, so that other people see how much they mean to you. A little PDA never hurt, either.

Work on Yourself: Your spouse isn’t the only one who can always improve; you can too! Always be looking within and asking what could be better.

Keep Your Word: It’s important you don’t over-schedule yourself or make too many commitments to your spouse. That way, you can follow through on everything you offer.

Prioritize Your Marriage: Nothing takes down a marriage like putting other things before it: kids, work, personal goals. If you want support in your pursuit of what’s important in life, your marriage must be the foundation on which you build everything else.

R-E-S-P-E-C-Happy MarriageT

Fight on the Go: While arguing is necessary, it’s never pleasant. Try to get out and move whenever those negative feelings come up, and you’ll reap the benefits of an endorphin boost.

Pick Your Battles: Trite-sounding advice, but only because it’s so, so true. If you go after every little annoyance, you’ll lose the war for good – so pick your battles, and keep your partner.

Ask, Don’t Tell: Always explain your needs and request them kindly.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Acknowledging your partner’s accomplishments and contributions to the marriage is the best way to ensure they keep coming.

Don’t Fight in Bed: The bedroom should be a fight-free zone, so do your best to keep it that way.

R&R Like Champs

Go Solo: You and your partner don’t cease being individual beings just because of your bond as a pair. Give yourself the time you need to be on your own.

Camp Under the Stars: Spending a night in the pine-scented mountain air or lying on a beach is one of the best ways to refresh your spirit and draw closer, so give it a whirl.

Queue Up the Netflix: A marathon on the ‘flix (yes, people totally call it that) always boosts the spirits, so don’t hesitate to get one going.

Laugh: A good ol’ ROFL is the best way to release tension, lighten the mood and bring you two together. Try more often.

Get Out of Town: Planning a weekend escape is not only fun on the weekend, but for weeks before as you look forward to it.

Be a Social Butterfly: Spending time with friends, together and separately, is a crucial way to recharge your batteries. Make sure you respect your partner’s needs and wishes when it comes to which friends make the schedule though, especially when you’re both on the guest list.

While all these tips will help keep your marriage strong and take your love to the next level, you likely won’t get very far on the love boat without truly knowing who you are. That’s where The Journey Training comes in, a two-part series consisting of the initial Threshold Weekend and the second Crossroads Weekend, which builds on the first.

Living the life you want – and having the marriage you crave – requires delving deep inside and working through issues such as what you really want in life, what your core strengths and weaknesses are, how your past is dragging you down and more. If you’d like to give your marriage the greatest gift possible, join us for the first of two life-changing weekends.

We can’t wait to see you and hear about the fantastic benefits The Journey brings to your life.