How To Build A Happy Marriage

Updated April 10, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Marriage can be a rewarding and meaningful commitment between two people, providing each spouse with support, love, and comfort. It can also be challenging at times, often requiring hard work, compromise, and patience. For this reason, it can be helpful to know how to work on certain aspects of your marriage to ensure it remains mutually beneficial and fulfilling. If you’re looking to form a deeper connection with your spouse, there are several widely utilized strategies for anticipating challenges, fostering intimacy, and strengthening your relationship. Below, we’ve gathered several tips for building a happy marriage.

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Focus on communication

The foundation of most healthy marriages is honesty. Conveying to your spouse your thoughts and feelings, particularly those pertaining to your relationship, can help you get on the same page and understand one another. This may seem difficult when there are challenges you do not necessarily want to discuss. But openness and honesty can be especially important during difficult times. Try to be upfront about the state of your job, your finances, or your marriage as a whole. If you’re experiencing fears or concerns about your marriage, it can be important to take those directly to your partner and talk them over openly. This can help you resolve them or at least start addressing them.

Be empathetic

Although your goal should be openness and honesty, how you express yourself can be important. If you have information to share, think about how to communicate it in an empathetic and kind way. For example, if you are frustrated that your partner is not pitching in with chores as much as you’d like, try to provide them with feedback in a patient and understanding manner, rather than in a potentially hurtful way. In this situation, ask them if there are chores they’d prefer doing so that it’s easier for you to share responsibilities. Try to use “I” statements, such as, “I feel that I am doing more than my share of chores”. This can be more effective than statements like, “You aren’t doing enough around the house”. Empathy can help you look at situations from your partner’s perspective and avoid hurting their feelings.

Show your appreciation

As a dating couple, you may have expressed appreciation for your partner in many ways, such as a hug and kiss upon seeing them after a long day or by planning special surprises for them. After years of marriage, couples can become more accustomed to seeing their partner every day and may not make the same gestures.

Showing gratitude frequently can make both you and your partner feel more emotionally satisfied and motivated to continue building a happy marriage. You can do this by saying “thank you” when your partner cleans up, cooks, or pays bills. You can also do it by planning a special date, bringing them flowers, or taking one of their responsibilities off their hands. This can help maintain your emotional connection and make both of you feel satisfied in the marriage.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Another way to maintain harmony in your marriage is to let the small things go. Of course, there are big challenges that likely need to be addressed; but smaller issues (e.g., an argument about directions) can turn into bigger conflicts and keep you and your spouse from connecting in a healthy way. If you hold onto these types of frustrations, they may build over time, potentially leading to resentment and unhappiness. 

Consider a situation in which your partner keeps forgetting to put their shoes away, causing you to feel slighted or as though they are purposely eschewing their responsibilities. In this situation, though, they may simply struggle to put things away. Particularly if they’re not doing it on purpose, consider providing them with feedback and moving on. This can free up time and energy for you to focus on the bigger challenges in your marriage. 

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Practice self-care

Sometimes one or both spouses can become so focused on the marriage that they forget to care for themselves. It can be tempting to give excess time and effort to your spouse because you want to make them happy. But most people have certain physical, emotional, and psychological needs of their own that must be met. And it can be hard for you to take care of your spouse if you aren’t tending to those needs. Self-care allows both partners to nourish their bodies, souls, and minds. 

You can engage in  by doing things that you enjoy, both with your partner and on your own. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and engaging with activities you enjoy can help provide you with the energy and motivation to interact with your spouse in a healthy way. Self-care can also involve anything from a spa day to a bubble bath and a good book. Consider creating a self-care routine that allows you to incorporate several activities regularly.

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Foster other relationships

Although your marriage will typically be the primary relationship in your life, nurturing other relationships can be important. Having active participants in your support system can provide you with an outlet and give you a chance to enrich your life outside of your marriage. You could also benefit from spending time with other couples. In these types of friendships, each couple can support the other’s relationship by providing a sounding board and marriage advice. 

Allow some silence

While communication is important, it is also OK for you and your partner to take time for self-reflection and quiet. This can be particularly helpful if one or both of you are introverted. Silence provides you with the opportunity to meditate, practice mindfulness, or simply rest. Consider asking your spouse if they’re okay scheduling in quiet time regularly so that you can better interact with each other later. Far from being a negative sign, allowing for silence in this way can signal that you are at ease with one another. 

Spend quality time together

While many married couples spend time together frequently, this does not necessarily mean they are interacting in a way that builds a strong connection. Spending quality time with your spouse can help you deepen your bond—research shows that shared experiences are often more enjoyable. Consider eschewing the tv in favor of conversation during dinner; or you could undertake new activities together, such as learning a new language, hiking, or doing puzzles. Sharing meaningful moments can help you and your partner develop a more satisfying relationship. 

Be willing to forgive

Both you and your partner will likely make mistakes or do things that put a strain on your relationship. When this happens, the ability to forgive each other can be crucial. Again, communication can help you work through these challenges. Talking about the situation can provide you with insight into what happened and help you be more understanding as you respond. Forgiveness often eases the emotional burdens of both spouses and allows them to avoid worsening conflict. 

Understand the importance of intimacy

Sex and physical affection are often important parts of building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Intimacy—including sexual activity, holding hands, hugging, and even playful flirting—can help you maintain a sense of closeness and togetherness. Studies suggest that physical intimacy can help you build an emotional connection with your partner. Whether you’ve been married for a few weeks or several decades, try to keep the spark alive through physical closeness. 

Acknowledge your limits

Recognizing what you can and cannot commit to or accomplish in your marriage is important. When you’re unable to fulfill a promise or an expectation, communicate that to your partner. This is often a better approach than over-promising in situations when you may not be able to deliver. For example, instead of assuring your partner that you can pick up the kids, cook dinner, and clean the house—when you don’t have the time—consider asking your spouse to take one of those tasks off your hands. This can help you develop healthy boundaries and avoid over-exertion. 

Online therapy for a happy marriage

Studies show that online therapy can help spouses maintain a happy marriage. For example, in a study on the efficacy of online therapy for married couples, participants reported experiencing significantly higher levels on the marital happiness scale. The study also mentions that online therapy was as effective as face-to-face counseling, and that it can bridge the treatment gap that often exists with in-person counseling due to barriers such as geographical limitations.

Online therapy is a convenient and affordable method of working to build a strong, happy marriage. With a platform like Regain, you can work through challenges in your relationship remotely, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. Online therapy is also an affordable option—Regain memberships start at $65 per week (billed every 4 weeks), and you can cancel anytime. 


A fulfilling marriage often starts with a solid foundation and is sustained through hard work and understanding. You can build a happy marriage by fostering respect, practicing intimacy, communicating effectively, taking care of your own needs, and being kind. By utilizing the above tips and, potentially, working with a professional, you and your partner can build a strong, lasting marriage. 

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